If a law currently up for vote in the Virginia House passes this week and is signed by Governor Bob McDonnell, it will require many women seeking an abortion to be raped.
No, you didn’t misread that.
The bill, which is similar to laws passed in seven other states, requires women to undergo an ultrasound procedure before an abortion is performed. The ultrasound is not medically necessary; it has not even been rationalized as such by the bill’s defenders. It is simply another tactic adopted by anti-abortion crusaders to humiliate women, in the hopes that they may change their mind about going through with the procedure.
But since most abortions are performed in the first trimester, and abdominal ultrasounds are not able to produce a clear image of the fetus in most cases, Virgina’s law mandates the use of transvaginal ultrasound – that is, a probe must be inserted in the women’s vagina to view the fetus. Women cannot refuse this if they want to get an abortion, and the law does not allow for any exceptions such as rape or to protect the woman’s health.
I can’t even imagine what a rape victim who has become pregnant might think of this, after having already been violated once, and then being told by arrogant politicians that she must be violated again in order to undergo a commonly available medical procedure. It also forces her doctor to perform a procedure that is not medically necessary, and violates their oath not to cause harm to their patient. As one Virginia House Delegate pointed out, the bill may actually require doctors to sexually assault their patients, as it is a crime to vaginally penetrate women with any object without their consent. (To add insult to injury, the woman must also pay for this state-mandated procedure. Where’s Obamacare when you need it?)
It’s not even cognizant of the doctor-patient relationship that is generally so well-respected – except when women’s medical choices are involved. Then it’s absolutely imperative that the government asserts jurisdiction over a women’s vagina, to ensure she’s actually making the best medical decisions for herself. It’s not just humiliating; it is paternalistic in its very worst sense.
Note that I haven’t even addressed the issue of abortion itself. That is because regardless of where one stands on abortion – if one considers it murder, or the right of a woman to make decisions regarding her own property (i.e., her body) – this intrusion by the state into private medical affairs, which would not be tolerated under virtually any other circumstances, is simply not justifiable. And perhaps anti-abortion crusaders are aware of that, and are adopting these tactics to set up a constitutional challenge that leads to a Supreme Court review of Roe v. Wade, hopefully this time to overturn it for good.
Regardless of the anti-abortion camp’s motives, their degrading and humiliating tactics are despicable.