If pregnant women should have to get an ultrasound before having an abortion in Virginia, Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax Co.) thought it would only be fair that men should have to undergo additional medical procedures before getting a prescription for erectile dysfunction.
The Virginia Senate, however, did not agree.
The Senate voted 21-19 on Monday to reject Howell's amendment and gave preliminary approval for the original legislation requiring ultrasounds before abortions.
Howell said her amendment would have brought some gender equity to the bill. The amendment called for men to undergo a digital rectal exam and a cardiac stress test before being prescribed erectile dysfunction medication.
Howell told her colleagues on the Senate floor that she was proposing the amendment because Senate Bill 484 requires women "to have an unnecessary medical procedure, it's adding to the cost and and it's opening them up for emotional blackmail."
According to the Roanoke Times, Howell said she saw an ad on TV for ED drugs that ran down a list of possible side effects. More from the Times:
“So, I said, it’s only fair, that if we’re going to subject women to unnecessary procedures, and we’re going to subject doctors to having to do things that they don’t think is medically advisory, well, Mr. President, I think we should just have a little gender equity here,” Howell said, explaining her amendment.
Sen. Jill Vogel (R-Fauquier Co.), who was a sponsor of the bill requiring an ultrasound, argued that erectile dysfunction and pregnancy clearly are not the same, according to the Associated Press.