A bunch of folks have been asking why Virginia got the nation in such an uproar over its vaginal ultrasounds bill, when Texas has had an even stricter one on the books for months now.
"I hate to say this, but in Texas we can fight all day long, but there's a propensity to write us off," said state Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston.
"They think, 'That's Texas. Texas is a place where those kinds of things happen.'"
So maybe that's Texas. Meanwhile, Alabama Republicans would like their own vaginal ultrasound bill. Alabama Senate Bill 12 actually says "vaginal" right in it, so there's no sense in lawmakers pretending they don't know that's part of the deal. If you read the language of the bill, you'll see that they think the state's right extends inside a woman's body, as do the rights of anyone claiming to be the father, as do the rights of anyone claiming to be the grandparents.
From the bill (pdf):
Any person upon whom an abortion has been performed without compliance with this act, the father of the unborn child who was the subject of the abortion, or the grandparent of an unborn child may maintain an action against the person who performed the abortion in knowing or reckless violation of this act for actual and punitive damages....
In every civil or criminal proceeding or action brought under this act, the court shall rule whether the anonymity of any female upon whom an abortion has been performed or attempted to be performed shall be preserved from public disclosure if she does not give her consent to such disclosure.
And let's not leave out Pennsylvania, where vaginal ultrasound House Bill 1077 requires that images from the procedure be placed in a woman's line of sight. Republican state Rep. Todd Rock promises, "[Y]ou can turn your head or close your eyes."
So Pennsylvania's willing to insert the state into your body, but they'll stop short at propping your eyelids open.
P.S. In covering the unraveling of Virginia's ultrasound bill, the Washington Post made a special note of our segment with the vaginal probes "emblazoned with slogans such as, 'If you can read this, your government is too close." That's a hat tip to viewer #maddow Twitter pals Ali Davis and Jess Idres, and maybe another answer to the question about why the Texas bill hasn't gotten more attention. Producer Rebekah Dryden, who has done such terrific work for us on these stories, says that when the Texas bill passed, it wasn't clear to everyone what it required. The monogrammed probes were a brilliant way to help the public understand the issue. Ali and Jess, take a bow.
P.P.S. I don't say this enough but please, TRMS crowd, send more stuff. Seriously.