MSNBC's Luke Russert Asks Democratic State Legislator: Are Mandated Abdominal Ultrasounds a Sort of 'Sex Crime'?

February 23rd, 2012 3:22 PM

Filling in on the 11 a.m. hour of MSNBC Live coverage this morning, Luke Russert talked to Washington Post reporter Anita Kumar and Virginia Del. Charniele Herring (D) about Gov. Bob McDonnell's "abrupt switch" to oppose requiring "invasive" transvaginal ultrasounds prior to an abortion. McDonnell is backing a bill that would make transvaginal ultrasounds optional but abdominal ultrasounds mandatory.

At not point in the interview did either Russert or Kumar note that Planned Parenthood abortionists already perform ultrasounds before abortions. What's more, Russert prompted Herring to agree with him that requiring abdominal ultrasounds could in some way be a "sex crime" [video follows page break; MP3 audio here]

Rep. [sic*] Herring, you said the original procedure was akin to rape. Uh, where is this new procedure, do you feel? Is the new procedure still, do you feel, a sex crime, in the sense that it's so invasive?

For her part, Herring -- who scored a 100% approval rating last year from NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, a fact unnoted by Russert -- refused to call abdominal ultrasounds prior to abortions a "sex crime," although she lamented that it's "still a mandate" of "an unnecessary procedure."

Herring slammed proponents as clueless when it comes to medicine, as  abdominal ultrasounds "in the early stage of pregnancy, it's not necessary, because you're not going to get anything. You're not going to be able to detect anyway," which is "why the invasive procedure is sometimes used."

In saying that, Herring of course is only legitimizing the wisdom of the initial legislation requiring a transvaginal ultrasound for early pregnancy abortions. What's more, as former NewsBuster Alana Goodman reported at Commentary magazine's website, Planned Parenthood routinely uses ultrasounds -- presumably transvaginal ones for early pregnancy -- to help diagnose gestational age for the abortionist to know which abortion procedure to use.

Abortionists already use ultrasounds, the requirement would ensure women see the results.

Russert also aired a clip of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi from the February 22 Rachel Maddow Show saying that

This is something that's personal with women. There's sort of a sisterhood about it. Women know that this isn't any place that public policy should intrude.

"Rep. [sic*]Herring, was this policy really done backdoors by mainly all males on the Republican side? That seems to be what some reports out of Virginia suggest," Russert asked following the Pelosi clip.

"Right, and I believe it was. I don't know if a woman was at the table," Herring replied to Russert's softball question.

*the lower house of the Virginia General Assembly is the House of Delegates. Member are styled "delegates," not representative. On screen Herring was erroneously tagged as a "State Rep."