Virginia lawmaker tries to attach rectal exam provision to anti-abortion bill

By Eric W. Dolan
Monday, January 30, 2012 19:35 EDT
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Virginia state Sen. Janet Howell (D) thinks that if the government is going to force women to undergo medically unnecessary tests, then it is only fair to apply the same standards to men.

Republican lawmakers are pushing for legislation that would require pregnant women to have an ultrasound before terminating their pregnancy. In response, Howell introduced an amendment that would require men to have a rectal exam and a cardiac stress test before obtaining erectile dysfunction medication like Viagra.

“We need some gender equity here,” she told the Huffington Post. “The Virginia Senate is about to pass a bill that will require a woman to have totally unnecessary medical procedure at their cost and inconvenience. If we’re going to do that to women, why not do that to men?”

The Republican-led Senate narrowly rejected her proposed amendment by a 21 to 19 vote.

“This is more of a message type of an amendment, so I was pleased to get 19 votes,” Howell said.

The bill, which the state Senate will vote on Tuesday, requires all women seeking abortions to have an ultrasound image taken and for them to be given the opportunity to see the ultrasound image or hear the fetal heartbeat. A copy of the ultrasound is required to be placed on the woman’s medical records.

The bill also requires women who live less than 100 miles from the medical facility to wait 24 hours after the ultrasound before terminating their pregnancy.

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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