If you have been watching Rachel Maddow, you already know about the newest draconian law that Virginia just passed -- and is about ready to send to the governor for his signature. If you haven't, allow me to give you a little background. If signed into law, women of Virginia will be
to undergo an ultrasound before getting an abortion. Here's the catch -- it's not an abdominal ultrasound. It will be a transvaginal ultrasound.
The Virginia state House of Delegates voted 63 to 36 to pass a bill requiring that women seeking abortions undergo a transvaginal ultrasound, which requires a probe being inserted into the vagina. Delegate Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria) criticized the bill, saying "We're talking about inside a woman's body. This is the first time, if we pass this bill, that we will be dictating a medical procedure to a physician."
Delegate Herring is absolutely correct. Virginia is now dictating a medical procedure to a physician. This is a perfect example of government intruding into personal lives. It's also a lot more than that. This is not small government -- this is intrusive -- and worse.
I'm fairly sure that Rachel Maddow and others have described this procedure called transvaginal ultrasound, but do you know what it looks like? I'm going to show you. **Warning
** The following medical image may be unsettling to some.
This is What having a Transvaginal Ultrasound looks like:
Imagine for a moment finding yourself in the difficult position where abortion is part of your circumstances. We can go to the most horrid of situations: a rape victim, incest, or any other of a myriad of possibilities. We could simply say that a women is choosing to terminate a pregnancy -- it doesn't matter why -- and is facing a very big personal, private decision. After a woman makes that decision, here in the Commonwealth of Virginia women will be forced to comply with a Transvaginal Ultrasound. As you can see by the illustration above -- it's invasive. Under most circumstances this procedure is used to diagnose illnesses such as cysts, fibroids, ectopic pregnancy, and infertility
. One can safely say that if a woman has made the choice to abort, she is fertile. As such -- one of the reasons listed for a TVU is removed under the proposed Virginia law. I think most people will agree that none of the reasons listed above are really relevant to a woman making such a decision as abortion. There are definitely many reasons why woman DO need this type of ultrasound. However regarding most abortions occurring in the first trimester, this type of ultrasound is simply not generally medically necessary. There is no medical reason for such a sweeping implementation of this procedure. Truth be told: if it was needed, it should be a decision a doctor makes privately with a patient without the state mandating it.
The REAL reason for the law is to place a unnecessary roadblock for a woman making a choice. A legal medical procedure is now being used by government to force women to submit to an unnecessary and intrusive diagnostic procedure. If you are wondering, yes, it really is that bad. From State Del. David Englin (D)
This bill will require many women in Virginia to undergo vaginal penetration with an ultrasound probe against their consent in order to exercise their constitutional right to an abortion, even for nonsurgical, noninvasive, pharmaceutical abortions. This kind of government intrusion shocks the conscience and demonstrates the disturbing lengths Republican legislators will go to prevent women from controlling their own reproductive destiny.
Mr. Englin is among many wonderful state delegates we have in Virginia that DO fight to protect a woman's right to choose her 'reproductive destiny'. Sadly, the bill passed anyway, after the majority in the House cut off any further debate on this important issue. Tarina Keene, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia
made a statement about this:
"This bill is physically invasive for women as well as an intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship. This is the epitome of government invasion into a woman’s right to privacy. Let’s be clear, politicians have just voted to mandate that a woman undergo a transvaginal ultrasound despite her wishes. Legislators with a dogged determination to practice medicine through the law have circumvented a doctor’s medical advice and denied a woman’s wishes to dictate a highly invasive medical procedure. This bill is undemocratic and demonstrates politics at its worst.”
It's horrific to be quite honest. Another Virginia state Delegate, Del. C. Todd Gilbert (R-Woodstock) said that abortion was a lifestyle convenience
. I ask, how is inserting a probe against a woman's will, into her vagina a counter to such a so called lifestyle convenience?
Imagine a victim of rape finding her self pregnant. Imagine for a minute being told that once again -- you are going to be forced to submit AGAIN. Then think about what some members of the Virginia house of delegates think when they talk about abortion: it's a lifestyle convenience. Perhaps they agree with Presidential candidate Rick Santorum who believes that children born of rape are gifts from God:
...And so to embrace her and to love her and to support her and get her through this very difficult time, I've always, you know, I believe and I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created -- in the sense of rape -- but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you.
As you know, we have to, in lots of different aspects of our life. We have horrible things happen. I can't think of anything more horrible. But, nevertheless, we have to make the best out of a bad situation.
This is what happens when the GOP takes over. They cry for small government -- so small in fact it can be forced inside of a woman's vagina without her consent.
I ask you -- how is that not rape in and of itself? How is being forced to sit in a doctors office legs spread in stirrups and having a probe inside of you against your will not sexual assault? Virginia, like Texas -- now officially have state sanctioned rape. This is where we are in America when it comes to women's reproductive rights. This should be a private discussion between a woman and her doctor and yet Virginia is now dictating medical diagnostic procedures because to do otherwise would not fit within the standards of Republican so-called morality.
And make no mistake -- this law is all about a narrow view of morality being imposed upon a segment of the population -- in this case women, by an ideological political mentality coming from one particular political party. That ideology doesn't care about privacy. It's not about the fetus as some would like you to believe. It doesn't care about health -- it only cares about controlling women. It cares about humiliating them when they may be at their most vulnerable. It wants to make them feel guilty and submit to this political ideology by forcing the medical profession to impose unnecessary procedures on us. This is the EXACT opposite of small government. It is control. It is punishment for women choosing to make their own reproductive choices.
This is my body, this is my choice. I am nearly beyond words when I try to express how angry I am that any government entity
would force me to do something so personal against my will.
As long as people keep electing this version of the Republican party -- this assault will continue. I guarantee it. Not only did Virginia vote for this bill, they approved a PersonHood initiative
. Mississippi deemed such an idea as too radical to be put into law. Think about that for a moment. Virginia has the chance to be the first in the nation to grant constitutional rights fertilized eggs. It's stunning the depths to which this majority party will go to control women. Essentially, if passed, a fertilized egg -- a zygote, a cluster of cells would have more rights than a woman in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Until then, I ask that you call Governor Bob McDonnell's office at 804-786-2211 and ask him to veto this TVU bill. It's time women stopped being used as political fodder.