My hero, Dahlia Lithwick, breaks down the Virginia ultrasound law in her article Virginia’s Proposed Ultrasound Law Is an Abomination on Slate:
Evidently the right of conscience for doctors who oppose abortion are a matter of grave national concern. The ethical and professional…
With all due-respect, I would hardly call this procedure state-mandated rape. It’s no more rape than a colonoscopy (by all accounts unwanted anal penetration). When a pregnancy is at such an early stage that an ultrasound would be performed by inserting something into the vagina, the abortion procedure (suction aspiration or dilation and curettage) would also insert an instrument into the vagina and through the cervix.
Of course, this procedure is not actually mandated by the state. It would only be mandated for those people considering an abortion, an elective procedure.
As someone who considers himself a feminist, I strongly support women’s right to choose about abortions, although I personally consider them to be deeply regrettable, and I sincerely hope to never be the father in such a pregnancy. Perhaps this is not a good law—I certainly haven’t made up my mind—but I’m honestly surprised to see such vehement opposition to it. From my perspective, it seems as though this could be a good way for pregnant women to get fully informed about what it is they are deciding. In the light of the fact that people have actually survived abortion attempts in the past, I think it is only fair to respect a growing fetus enough to at least consider these kinds of measures to make clear the realities of abortion to the potential parents.
This isn’t the sort of thing I usually write on this blog, so please forgive the descent into a bit of seriousness.
Wait, there’s a state that mandates colonoscopies? That has a colonoscopy law? That forces people to be anally penetrated? Really? Tell me about it because I do not want to live there.
If you can tell me where this place is, I’ll concede half your point. Until that time: No.
And why only half? Because a colonoscopy has a medical purpose, which is to detect the presence of colon cancer. There’s no stated medical purpose to a ultrasound before an abortion. So far, no one has stated one reason for this vaginal ultrasound before an abortion.
As for making sure pregnant women are fully informed before they get an abortion: What? Are you saying women need pictures to teach their ladybrains important life lessons? That they can’t grasp the complexity and magnitude of a decision without an image? Because I’m pretty sure most people who opt to make the difficult, unfortunate decision to have an abortion know exactly what the realities of abortion are, to the extent that someone can know something before they experience it.
I mean, really: What do you imagine it means to be fully informed. What do you imagine an ultrasound - and a forced one, at that - will teach someone who has already made a difficult decision? What? Please tell me.
Also, did you read the article? Say, this part?
viewing an ultrasound is not an indication that a woman will cancel her scheduled procedure, regardless of what emotional response the sonogram elicits.” Weitz summarized her findings in 2010 when she said that “women do not have abortions because they believe the fetus is not a human or because they don’t know the truth.”
All I see here is humiliation and a lack of control over a woman’s body. Forced penetration is rape. And this is forced vaginal penetration by an ultrasound wand, especially for women who don’t want the ultrasound. Sure, someone could say: Well then don’t have the abortion if you don’t want to be penetrated with the ultrasound wand.
And isn’t that convenient.
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- froggeek said: It must be rather nice to live in a universe where you can advocate random and unnecessary medical procedures for other people without any rational basis or defensible reason whatsoever.
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