Delegate Marshall, meet Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA).
Representative Issa put together the following panel of experts for “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?”
Notice anything about this panel? Uh-huh.
The one woman who was invited (by Democrats) to testify, third-year law student at Georgetown Susan Fluke, was blocked from doing so by Issa.
Democrats Elijah Cummings (MD), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), and Carolyn Maloney (NY) responded by walking out.
Issa offered his own response to the criticism of the all-male panel by Twittering a photo of Martin Luther King and noting We hear from religious leaders whose positions might not be popular, like MLK’s was not so long ago.
Yes, the anti-birth control men on this panel are exactly like Martin Luther King.
Oh, and should we talk about Foster Friess, the genius moneypot behind Rick Santorum’s candidacy? Y’know, the guy who joked (?) to Andrea Mitchell that On this contraceptive thing, my gosh, it’s so inexpensive. You know, back in my days, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly* ?
Okay, let’s not.
Finally, the reproductive specialists in the Virginia House of Delegates have been joined by the embyrologists in the Oklahoma Senate, which just passed its own personhood bill.
Unfuckingbelievable—in no small part because it is all too fuckingbelievable.
Anyway, I give the last word on bad laws to Dahlia Lithwick at Slate, who hammers (surprise!) Virginia’s new ultrasound-before-abortion law, one which will require most women to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound:
. . . Since a proposed amendment to the bill—a provision that would have had the patient consent to this bodily intrusion or allowed the physician to opt not to do the vaginal ultrasound—failed on 64-34 vote, the law provides that women seeking an abortion in Virginia will be forcibly penetrated for no medical reason. I am not the first person to note that under any other set of facts, that would constitute rape under state law.
What’s more, a provision of the law that has received almost no media attention would ensure that a certification by the doctor that the patient either did or didn’t “avail herself of the opportunity” to view the ultrasound or listen to the fetal heartbeat will go into the woman’s medical record. Whether she wants it there or not. I guess they were all out of scarlet letters in Richmond.
. . .
Evidently the right of conscience for doctors who oppose abortion are a matter of grave national concern. The ethical and professional obligations of physicians who would merely like to perform their jobs without physically violating their own patients are, however, immaterial. Don’t even bother asking whether this law would have passed had it involved physically penetrating a man instead of a woman without consent. Next month the U.S. Supreme Court will hear argument about the obscene government overreach that is the individual mandate in President Obama’s health care law. Yet physical intrusion by government into the vagina of a pregnant woman is so urgently needed that the woman herself should be forced to pay for the privilege.
. . .
Of course, the bill is unconstitutional. The whole point of the new abortion bans is to force the Supreme Court to reverse Roe v. Wade. It’s unconstitutional to place an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy, although it’s anyone’s guess what, precisely, that means. One would be inclined to suspect, however, that unwanted penetration with a medical device violates either the undue burden test or the right to bodily autonomy. But that’s the other catch in this bill. 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.
During the floor debate on Tuesday, Del. C. Todd Gilbert announced that “in the vast majority of these cases, these [abortions] are matters of lifestyle convenience.” (He has since apologized.) Virginia Democrat Del. David Englin, who opposes the bill, has said Gilbert’s statement “is in line with previous Republican comments on the issue,” recalling one conversation with a GOP lawmaker who told him that women had already made the decision to be “vaginally penetrated when they got pregnant.” (I confirmed with Englin that this quote was accurate.)*
A-yup. As Lithwick noted, Today was not a good day in the War on Women.
*I actually heard this for the first time when I was 16 or 17 and one of the women at the NOW meeting I attended joked that this was the birth control advice she had been given. She lay down on the couch and demonstrated how it was supposed to work; the visual made all the difference.)