Ladies, we have a new hero today, and no, it isn’t the women who boldly went without make-up in public. It’s Janet Howell, a state senator from Virginia, who injected some gender equality into the state’s most recent attempt to set up barriers to access to abortion.

The Virginia state senate, you see, wanted to pass a bill that would require doctors to give women seeking an abortion an ultrasound, and then give the woman the option of viewing it. What that is intended to do, in case it wasn’t blatantly clear, is shame the woman into not having the abortion, manipulate her emotions, or, I guess, just make her feel bad about the whole thing. These laws are usually presented under the enraging-ly patronizing guise of providing the woman with more information, to help her make the decision about what to do with her pregnancy…you know, the decision that she’s already made.

You see how that’s all medically necessary, of course.

Anyway, Senator Janet Howell took exception to this bill — which, by the way, is not a novel idea; plenty of other states either require women to look at ultrasounds of the fetuses they would like to abort, or perform an ultrasound and give them woman the option of viewing it — and so she turned the tables. She introduced an amendment that would require men to get a rectal exams and a cardiac stress test before being given a prescription to treat erectile dysfunction.

Howell told the Huffington Post that:

“The Virginia senate is about to pass a bill that will require a woman to have totally unnecessary medical procedure at their cost and inconvenience. If we’re going to do that to women, why not do that to men?”

The amendment didn’t pass — coincidentally, there are only seven women in the Virginia state senate — but nevertheless, I have this to say about the whole story: JANET HOWELL, YOU ARE MY NEW HERO.