Gene Weingarten: Texas scold ’em
Under a new Texas law, before performing an abortion, a doctor must show a patient a sonogram of her fetus, “describe its features,” and make her hear its heartbeat. (And, yes, she has to listen; no sticking fingers in the ears and saying “na-na-na.”) Liberals consider this to be state-sanctioned harassment, a sanctimonious intrusion of right-wing politics into medicine. They see it as both cruel and unnecessary, since abortion is not only a woman’s constitutional right, but a deeply painful decision about which she has already thought long and hard.
Nah. I say the law’s fine, but it doesn’t go far enough. If Texas believes it is the state’s responsibility to make sure people know what they’re getting into, why start at a point where things have already gotten out of hand? We have to go further back, to nip this problem right in the bud.
My proposed law for Texas: Before a woman has sex with a man, she has to put on her makeup in the bathroom immediately after the guy has spent serious potty time there. Assuming she still wants to have sex with him, the next step is to make sure he knows what he is getting into: He must watch the lady walk around for a while with a sofa cushion under her shirt, kvetching about gas pains. Only then can they have sex. This will really cut down on abortions.
Now that I think of it, Texas should use this same “be forewarned” principle to attack other problems.
Problem: Texas has among the highest levels of obesity.
Solution: Before you are allowed to swallow a piece of food, you have to chew it up real well and then open your mouth in front of a mirror and closely inspect what is on your tongue.
Alternatively, you could have to personally kill whatever you eat. Yes, this would create an onerous situation at, say, a drive-thru window, but all public-policy improvements involve sacrifices. You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs, after strangling the chicken.
Problem: Texas is plagued by one of the highest illiteracy rates in the country.
Solution: Before dropping out of school, non-readers are given a slip of paper that they are instructed to present to random people in the street. The students are told it’s just a survey about what people think of the importance of literacy, but, in fact, it says things like, “Please, please, please give me a noogie,” or, “I think people of your ethnic group are morons,” or, “I like it when strangers rub their saliva into my hair,” etc.
Problem: Grown men walking around in public with those doofy Stetson® cowboy hats.
Solution: Before you can buy one, you have to put it on and have a cowboy-style bar fight with another guy in a hat: fists and broken beer bottles only. Winner is issued a gun and gets to make the other guy “dance.”
(String-tie rider to Ten-Gallon Hat Bill: Before you can buy one of these pieces of neckwear, you have to look at yourself in the mirror for one minute and keep repeating “gawrsh, ma’am.”)
And, finally, Texas can use the “be forewarned” approach to solve what might be its biggest problem.
Problem: Electing idiot politicians, particularly squinty-eyed, know-nothing governors who wear their ignorance like a sheriff’s badge.
Solution: Equip all voting booths with a TV screen endlessly replaying the early Republican presidential debates.
E-mail Gene at email@example.com.