The debate over Virginia’s new abortion bill is raging. While there are good-faith debates over the scope of state authority vis-a-vis women in cases of abortion, the legislation would appear to require an invasive ultrasound procedure for women in the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy — tipping the scales in terms of the burden on women. However, conservative CNN Contributor Dana Loesch went on the air this week to make the rather astonishing claim that such an involuntary procedure is no different from voluntary sex.
I have previously criticized CNN for its use of Nancy Grace as a legal analyst and show host. However, there remains a tendency on all cable shows to play to the extremes of political and legal analysis — degrading what are sometimes legitimate disagreements over constitutional law
On this occasion, Loesch (who is associated with Andrew Breitbart) defended the law against objections to the invasive procedure:
LOESCH: That’s the big thing that progressives are trying to say, that it’s rape and so on and so forth. […] There were individuals saying, “Oh what about the Virginia rape? The rapes that, the forced rapes of women who are pregnant?” What? Wait a minute, they had no problem having similar to a trans-vaginal procedure when they engaged in the act that resulted in their pregnancy.
There is an obvious difference between consensual sexual relations and an intrusive procedure ordered by the state. The premise of such comments appears to be that, like sex, abortion is a choice. Thus, Loesch stated simply “Don’t get an abortion and you don’t have to worry about any sort of mandated ultrasound.” However, the Supreme Court has said it is part of a protected right of privacy (albeit a right balanced against certain state interests).
Here is the tape:
There is a legal difference. It is also an example of how movement Republicans can differ from libertarian Republicans. Many Republicans (particularly women) would find this comment highly offensive. For civil libertarians and libertarians, there is no greater example of government intrusion than an invasive medical procedure. One can certainly argue over whether abortion is protected as a right by the Constitution, but this argument reflects a more fundamental difference on the scope of permissible government action. While the Tea Party (with which Loesch is also associated) has often been described as libertarian, the views of some members often embrace governmental power over civil liberties.