RICHMOND, Va. (CBSDC/AP) — Sen. Janet Howell, a Democrat from Fairfax, says if pregnant women should have to get an ultrasound before having an abortion, men should have to undergo additional medical procedures before getting a prescription for erectile dysfunction.
On Monday Howell expressed her disdain for legislation requiring the ultrasound by proposing an amendment she described as a simple matter of fairness. Her amendment said that before being treated for erectile dysfunction, a man would have to undergo a digital rectal exam and a cardiac stress test.
“We should just have a little gender equity here,” Howell said.
She said if women are going to be subjected to an unnecessary medical procedure, men should be as well.
Howell has been a member of the Virginia Senate since 1992.
Sen. Jill Vogel, R-Fauquier and the chief sponsor of the ultrasound bill, countered that erectile dysfunction and pregnancy clearly are not the same.
The Senate rejected the amendment on a mostly party-line 21-19 vote.
Vogel’s bill will be on the calendar for a final Senate vote Tuesday. The legislation would require all women seeking abortions to have an ultrasound image taken to determine the gestational age of the fetus. It says each patient must be given the opportunity to see the image or hear the fetal heartbeat, but not required to do so.
After the ultrasound, women who live less than 100 miles from the medical facility would have to wait at least 24 hours before having the abortion except in the event of a medical emergency. Women who live more than 100 miles away would have to wait only two hours.
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