Talk about hitting below the belt.
That's the latest tactic by one opponent of state legislation that might require women to undergo an invasive ultrasound before having an abortion.
State Sen. Larry Farnese is likely to get a rise from his colleagues with his proposal.
The Philadelphia Democratic senator said last week that he will introduce a bill that would require men seeing treatment for erectile dysfunction to undergo a prostate exam and cardiac stress test, watch a video on the side effects of ED medicines and undergo sex therapy before getting a prescription for those well-advertised pills.
Farnese said his proposal is to show how ridiculous it is to require women seeking abortions to undergo ultrasounds as Pennsylvania lawmakers are considering, The Associated Press reports.
During the first trimester, such a requirement generally would mean use of a transvaginal ultrasound, in which a transducer wand emitting sound waves is inserted in the vagina to capture images of the female reproductive system and fetus.
"No woman should be forced to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound if they don't want or need the test," Farnese was quoted by AP as saying. "But for some reason, the Republicans in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives think that their degrading legislation is the right thing for female patients who are rightfully accessing their protected health services."
After a firestorm of controversy earlier this year, Virginia backed off a proposal that would have required transvaginal ultrasounds before abortions. Instead that state changed its legislation to require only abdominal ultrasounds.
Whether Pennsylvania lawmakers will similarly avoid potentially mandating transvaginal ultrasounds before abortions or drop the matter altogether remains to be seen.
It seems clear that Farnese doesn't have a chance of ramming his proposal through the largely male General Assembly. Instead, his bill likely will limp along until Nov. 30 when the current legislative session ends and all unpassed bills vanish.
The only question is whether anxiety over debating the ED proposal will be enough to make legislators wince away from the idea of mandating ultrasounds for abortions.
Lawmakers might decide its better to keep private parts off limits.