Moral Low Ground


Jon Stewart Says Virginia Transvaginal Ultrasound Bill “Like a TSA Pat-Down Inside Your Vagina”; Gov. McDonnell Reverses Support

Last week, the Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill that would require women seeking abortions to submit to physically invasive transvaginal ultrasounds, in which a long probe would be inserted in their vagina to obtain an image of the fetus inside their womb.

Last night, political comedian Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, took aim at the measure and those politicians who support it in a segment titled “The Punanny State.”

“The law states basically that any woman seeking to have the legal procedure known as an abortion must, whether she wants to or not, first, lay back in a chair with spread legs, her feet in stirrups, and have an eight to ten inch wand put inside her– even if the woman in question is pregnant as a result of a rape… I don’t really have a joke here,” Stewart said.

“What kind of man would introduce a bill that infringes upon women’s rights to such a degree?” asks Stewart.

Actually, the measure is the brainchild of Delegate Kathy Byron (R-Lynchburg).

“Look,” said Stewart, “I guess Kathy Byron advocates substituting government intrusion for patient’s personal medical decisions.” He then cuts to a clip of Byron slamming “state efforts to mandate the HPV vaccine in minors,” which she said “have raised a variety of concerns… The substitution of our [government’s] judgment for the judgment of parents is exactly the type of government intrusion into health care that America rejected at the polls last November.”

As hypocritical as Byron’s stance is, Republican Governor Bob McDonnell’s position is even more shocking. McDonnell supported the mandatory invasive vaginal probes.

“Is there anything he considers too intrusive?” asks Stewart, who then cuts to a clip of this WTOP radio interview with the governor:

REPORTER: “The full-body pat-downs that a lot of people are upset about going through the TSA [airport security screener] lines… what are your thoughts on that?”

MC DONNELL: “I think that’s probably over the line with regards to people’s… concerns about privacy and their civil liberties.”

To which Stewart retorts: “Okay, governor, let me explain the concerns about privacy and liberty in the bill you’re about to sign. Women might consider this bill a TSA pat-down inside their vagina.”

Well, the Washington Post reported this morning that Gov. McDonnell has reversed his position and has backed off his unconditional support for the vaginal probe bill “after learning that some ultrasounds could be more invasive than first thought.” McDonnell’s office now says it will review the bill in its final form before making a decision on whether or not to sign it into law.

Women’s rights advocates and civil libertarians are no doubt relieved.

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