The Republican line on health care is pretty straightforward, at least when it comes to the larger principles at stake. The GOP wants government to steer clear of the doctor-patient relationship, and certainly has no use for bureaucrats making medical decisions and imposing care instructions based on some kind of ideological agenda. For that matter, it’s important, Republicans say, for politicians to appreciate growing health care costs, and not mandate unnecessary medical procedures.

Republicans will, however, occasionally do the exact opposite, so long as it advances other parts of the GOP agenda that the party values more.

In Texas, for example, GOP officials have decided to force government into the examination room, deliberately having bureaucrats make medical decisions and imposing care instructions based on an ideological agenda.

Gov. Rick Perry has signed into law a requirement that doctors conduct a sonogram before performing an abortion. […]

The law requires the doctor to conduct a sonogram, provide the woman a chance to see the image and hear the fetal heartbeat. The doctor is required to explain to the woman what he sees, including the presence of internal organs or limbs. The only exception is for victims of rape and incest or in cases where the fetus has fatal deformities. […]

The law is among the strongest in the nation.

Of course it is. This is what big government conservatism is all about.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.