Virginia’s proposed law to require an invasive vaginal ultrasound before any abortion conducted in the state blissfully lies in ruins, the product of Governor McDonnell’s attempt to run away from the more extreme wing of his party, and back to comfortable territory from whence he can seek a vice presidential nomination. But leave it to the National Review to explain to America’s women why a mandate that each abortion require, regardless of medical necessity, the act of vaginal penetration at the state’s diktat, is actually not so bad:
Actually, I won’t reproduce it — the language is pure absurdity, which I shall not utter here. Basically, the claim is that a survey of Planned Parenthood clinics recommend vaginal ultrasounds before abortion. So why should women fear a state mandate of something that their physicians would recommend anyways? Well:
On a reading of the commerce clause that allows the government to force you to buy [medical procedures] from a private company, what can’t the government force you to do?
Mildly altered from Megan McArdle, of course. Note, though, that patients pay for every procedure performed on them. There’s literally no difference between a procedure mandate, and Obamacare’s individual mandate, except that the former is more specific (therefore worse) and derives from the state rather than the federal government (therefore… better? Reports differ). Republicans manage to bend themselves into knots over the existential threat to freedom entailed by requiring American citizens to buy health insurance on the expectation that they will, at some point, use it to purchase medical services of their choosing; but can’t concern themselves with a state requiring a woman to buy, pay for, and submit to an incredibly invasive procedure that, even if healthful, she should have the option to discuss with her doctor before being bound to accept.
With reminders like this, it’s hard to view abortion as anything other than a black hole, from which reason and otherwise seemingly well-reasoned philosophies of governance simply cannot escape (at least on the right). Or as the thread that makes the libertarian fabric underlying modern Republicanism unravel, disastrously.