As controversial culture-war measures in Virginia generate national attention, conservative defenses of the far-right efforts are becoming more common.
The most notable measure is a proposal to require women who wish to terminate a pregnancy to undergo a medically-unnecessary ultrasound. More specifically, it's the practical effects of the bill that are truly breathtaking: most women in Virginia seeking first-trimester abortions will be required by the state to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound, regardless of the wishes of the woman or her physician.
As more Americans hear about this, conservatives are starting to offer a defense of the Virginia bill. George Mason University's Tyler Cowen tweeted over the weekend, "All of a sudden requiring consumers to be informed is extremely unpopular on 'the pro-regulation side.'" (via John Cole)
So, as Cowen sees it, women who wish to terminate their pregnancies are simply ignorant -- a problem politicians in Virginia can fix by way of invasive and unnecessary medical procedures, mandated by the state, overriding the judgment of medical professionals. Say hello to the principles of "limited government," 21st-century style.
CNN contributor Dana Loesch, on her radio show, was even more dismissive of complaints about state-mandated mandatory trans-vaginal ultrasounds.
"That's the big thing that progressives are trying to say, that it's rape and so on and so forth. And in fact, this big battle that I've, uh, totally won with Keith Olbermann by the way, like, not only won once but twice and three times. Uh, there were individuals saying, 'Oh what about the Virginia rape? The rapes that, the forced rapes of women who are pregnant?' What?"Wait a minute, they had no problem having similar to a trans-vaginal procedure when they engaged in the act that resulted in their pregnancy."
It's a stunning perspective. As Dahlia Lithwick explained last week, "Proponents seem to be of the view that once a woman has allowed a man to penetrate her body once, her right to bodily autonomy has ended.... [I]f you are willing to submit to sex and/or an abortion, the state should be allowed to penetrate your body as well."
It's clearly the approach adopted by GOP policymakers in the Commonwealth, and now it's apparently the principal defense of their allies.
Meanwhile, the controversy surrounding the Virginia proposal is quickly gaining traction as a national scandal, and over the weekend, it was criticized on "Saturday Night Live."