* Eric Zorn takes a look at House Bill 786, aka the Ultrasound Opportunity Act, which would require abortion providers to offer women the opportunity to see an ultrasound of the fetus (but would not mandate that they look at it, as in Oklahoma).

* The bill originated with the state’s House Agriculture and Conservation Committee, which, as Zorn notes, has become a portal for bills favorable to conservatives (not uniformly Republicans; the Ultrasound Opportunity Act was introduced by Brandon Phelps, a Democrat from Harrisburg). It’s made up, as you might expect from the state’s geography, from more socially conservative members of the House. You might recall the committee’s role in a bill from Darlene Senger (R-Naperville) which would have held abortion clinics to regulations enforced on outpatient surgery centers. Senger withdrew the bill last week after some clever politicking forced her hand, as Rich Miller explains.

* Over the border in Indiana, a more chilling and tragic development: a 34-year-old woman is charged with murder and attempted feticide after ingesting rat poison in a failed suicide attempt, which aborted her pregnancy at 33 weeks.

* Anne Elizabeth Moore takes a look at the controversial south-side abortion billboards ("Every 21 minutes, our next possible leader is aborted"), permits, and the privatization of public space.

* Deerfield-based pharmacy giant Walgreens found itself in an odd scenario recently: having to clarify that no, it does not offer pap smears. This came in response to a conversation on Fox News between two newstainment anchors who, clearly, have no need for them:


Men. Anyway, Stephen Colbert had endless fun with it:



Photograph: Gruenemann (CC by 2.0)