Turkey Baster Bob

Backdoor bigotry, single moms and tequila

The Virginian-Pilot
January 14, 2006
By Bronwyn Lance Chester

Until this week, I had no idea that single women who desperately want children and go to clinics for help were such a menace to the commonwealth.

But I’m getting more REM sleep now that I know Del. Robert Marshall, Republican from Manassas, is on the case.

As lawmakers return to Richmond this week, a firehose of questionable legislation has spewed into the General Assembly. One of the wettest bills is Marshall’s.

Turkey Baster Bob wants to forbid medical professionals, like those at EVMS’ Jones Institute, from performing artificial insemination or in-vitro fertilization on unmarried women.

Marshall, you may remember, boasts an unsurpassed zeal for government meddling in private lives.

His invocations of “family values” make Pat Robertson look like a wuss. He’s set in his sights colleges that distribute morning-after pills, and crusaded to keep newscaster Hugh Finn on life support over his wife’s objections.

So it’s no great surprise that he’s determined to keep Virginians safe from the scourge of single mothers.

Or is that really single women with female partners?

You see, many lesbians conceive with the help of artificial insemination. And while Marshall’s bill, HB187, specifies only “unmarried women,” his previous anti-gay rants make it reasonable to conclude that they’re in his cross hairs yet again.

If Bob can’t stamp out homosexuals, then by gum, he’s going to make darned sure they don’t procreate.

Never mind the anti-family collateral damage.

That includes widows of soldiers killed in Iraq, who froze their husbands’ sperm just in case they didn’t come home. Or spouses of patients who succumbed to cancer, who did the same before undergoing chemotherapy. Or a newly widowed woman with a series of frozen embryos and no doctor to implant them.

Widows, after all, are single women, too.

Look, if unmarried gals who are determined to get pregnant can’t go to clinics, they’ll get the job done the old-fashioned way: a bar, some tequila and a randy guy with good genes.

In other words, Marshall’s bill, if passed, could encourage women to pick up strangers in bars and have unprotected sex in order to conceive. Not exactly family values.

Maybe he should outlaw Jose Cuervo and Barry White while he’s at it.

On the off chance that Marshall is truly targeting single motherhood, not just homosexuality, he should introduce a bill outlawing divorce, and a companion piece mandating IUDs for all females over 12.

Sure, studies show children are better off raised by two parents. They’re also better off eating all their veggies and being born to adults in higher income brackets.

But it’s not Richmond’s place to dictate which Virginians can give birth, lest the government start issuing IQ quizzes, Myers-Briggs tests and bank balance questionnaires, and return to the bad old days of forced sterilization.

On a whim, I called Eastern Virginia Medical School to see how the Jones Institute’s business might be affected if this bill becomes law. I was told they don’t even keep track of whether patients are married or single. Nor do they care.

After all, they’re in the business of medical engineering “” not social engineering.

If Marshall’s GOP colleagues “” who tend to roll their eyes at his legislation and then vote for it anyway “” give this a nod, they should be booted from the party of Goldwater and Reagan.

What happens when a woman’s feet are in the stirrups is none of Marshall’s, or the government’s, business.

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