Friday, February 12, 2016

When is an 'invasive' procedure an outrage and when is it acceptable?

Do some state lawmakers have differing ideas on what constitutes "intrusion" on a woman's body depending on the occasion?

When is an 'invasive' procedure an outrage and when is it acceptable?


Do some state lawmakers have differing ideas on what constitutes "intrusion" on a woman's body depending on the occasion?

Seems they do.

Consider Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R., Butler), writing in the latest edition of his newsletter "Transparency Times," who promotes a resolution opposing the Transportation Security Administration's search procedures.

He writes that TSA officials "completely disregard the privacy of U.S. citizens as they board airplanes. Instances of humiliating body searches performed on women, children, the disabled and even elected officials at the hands of TSA agents have been widely reported in the media."

Metcalfe goes on to write that TSA needs to implement "reasonable and effective procedures that respect an individual’s privacy."

 Both Metcalfe and resolution sponsor Rep. Will Tallman (R., Adams) are co-sponsors of the highly controversial bill to mandate women undergoing abortions submit to an ultrasound that may include a so-called "transvaginal probe."

Word that Metcalfe and others would criticize TSA for airport searches, while supporting legislation mandating a far more intrusive procedure didn't sit well with women's rights advocates.

"It’s ironic that they have privacy concerns about a pat down at the airport, but don’t show similar concern for women when they are insisting that they have transvaginal ultrasounds that are medically uncessary," said Carol Tracy, executive director of the Women's Law Project.

You may recall that Gov. Corbett's "just-close-their-eyes" defense of the ultrasound bill brought him unwanted national attention.

The media spotlight - and a strong opposition letter from the Pennsylvania Medical Society  - has left the bill in limbo.

Despite passing the House Health Committee, dozens of co-sponsors dropped off the bill (HB 1077) after learning it would allow for the invasive procedure. And it has since been tabled.

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Commonwealth Confidential gives you regularly updated coverage of the state legislature, the governor and the workings of the state bureaucracy. It is written by Angela Couloumbis in the Inquirer's Harrisburg bureau, based in the statehouse, and by the newspaper's far-flung campaign reporters.

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