Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) ran into a little trouble this week on one of his most problematic policies. The Republican presidential hopeful chatted with conservative talk-radio host Dana Loesch and defended his law requiring women undergo state-mandated, medically unnecessary ultrasounds before they terminate unwanted pregnancies.
The far-right governor said ultrasound images are "a lovely thing," and the technology itself is "just a cool thing out there," which Walker apparently sees as justification for Wisconsin forcing women to undergo unwanted procedures for no medical purpose.
In response to the controversy, Walker went back to Dana Loesch's show yesterday, where the host complained about the "media rage spiral" and the governor accused the left of "making things up" because liberals "can't win" the argument on the merits. Walker added:
"Who's opposed to an ultrasound? They tried to claim there were certain types. Now, our law says that before someone has that procedure, they have to be given access to an ultrasound. It doesn't designate which type. Most people will do the traditional one that people think of all the time. If they haven't seen it themselves, certainly most people have seen it on TV or in movies."
He added that there's a "Walker Derangement Syndrome" in parts of the media.
It's often amazing to see what willful ignorance can do. In this case, the Wisconsin governor still doesn't understand the basic complaint at the root of the controversy.
"Who's opposed to an ultrasound?" In theory, no one. When medical professionals perform routine medical procedures like these -- for willing patients who volunteer to participate -- there's obviously not a problem.
But that's not the policy Walker has imposed on Wisconsin women. I've been trying to think of a way to explain this in a way he'd understand. How about this: a woman wants to exercise her legal right, so she goes to a medical facility and meets with a physician. Under the old law, what happens next is between the patient, her conscience, and her doctor.
Under the new law, there's a patient, a doctor, and a law created by politicians who've decided to force the physician to perform an unnecessary procedure -- even if the patient doesn't want it, even if the doctor doesn't see any medical value.
Walker, who's either playing dumb or is genuinely confused by a simple controversy he helped create, can't imagine who's "opposed to an ultrasound." The answer is, no one's opposed to ultrasounds in general, but plenty of people are opposed to state-mandated, medically unnecessary procedures imposed by right-wing politicians who choose to interfere with the doctor-patient relationship as part of a larger culture war.
It's really not that complicated. As we discussed the other day, the problem, whether Walker can understand this or not, is that politicians shouldn't be in the business of dictating ultrasounds' use. If he finds this bewildering, perhaps he's in the wrong line of work.
One need not be "deranged" to see Walker's policy as ridiculous.