I haven’t been paying as much attention to the news as I have in the past primarily because I’ve been busy. But it’s also because I had reached a point where my outrage bin was just full. I was exhausted from absorbing all of the banal and extraordinary evil (not to mention the boundless stupidity) that fills the 24/7 news cycle. For instance, did you know that various state legislatures have in the first 6 months of this year alone enacted 106 provision about women’s reproductive health and no, they’re not making women healthier….they’re forcing us to reproduce. So you will have noticed I’m not posting as much and that’s why. But I still get wound up about some things and I just can’t help myself. Well, today I learned about one from The Bob & Chez Show (specifically the 7/10/2013 podcast at about the 44 min 30 sec mark).
Gov. Scott Walker (Wisconsin) signed into law a bill that forces women seeking an abortion to undergo unnecessary medical procedures beforehand WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT. Essentially the bill requires women to have an unwanted ultrasound where they get the dubious choice between the standard ultrasound or a trans-vaginal ultrasound and then must view the results of said ultrasound. The women will also have to listen to a healthcare professional, most likely their doctor, read them a pre-scripted statement written by the predominantly male legislators (80% of Wisconsin’s State Assembly is male) telling the woman about the risks, etc, etc. Nothing like being first violated by someone you are supposed to trust like your doctor then having that followed up by a lecture because the state assumes you are too stupid to make such a choice on your own. And finally the doctors performing the procedure must have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of them. Not so ironically two abortion clinics of the four that are left in the state are just over 30 miles away from hospitals. The devil is always in the details innit?
I don’t know how much you know about ultrasounds but here’s how the standard one is usually done. The woman has to pull her pants and underwear down out of the way at least as far down as the pubic bone. The ultrasound technician smears this gooey gel over the lower part of her abdomen and then uses a variety of wands hooked up to an ultrasound machine. The pictures being taken from within the body are broadcast onto a screen in black and white of the ultrasound machine. It usually isn’t supposed to be painful. When I was pregnant any kind of pressure on my stomach and particularly just above the pubic bone made me instantly nauseous and it did in fact hurt. The tech has to move the wands around, twist them, push down into the stomach and hold it in position to take photos of the fetus. Anyone who has ever been pregnant can tell you that strong force applied to a point on your swollen tender womb is NOT fun. I don’t know how other women feel about it but I’ve always hated them.
The other kind, the trans-vaginal ultrasound, is where the technician takes a wand (see photo of a typical wand below) and inserts it into the woman’s vagina.
Then they move it around trying to get the best picture of the fetus possible. This kind of ultrasound provides higher resolution and thus a clearer picture. Note that the trans-vaginal ultrasound is typical for women less 12 weeks along because the fetus is so small. Also there are quite a few conditions and situations where this type might be required because greater detail is needed. Since the majority of abortions are performed at 13 weeks or less, the majority of women won’t be given a choice. In order to see the fetus, doctors will far too often have to use the trans-vaginal wand, which BTW isn’t really necessary for the purposes of performing the abortion.
Regardless of which kind is used, the picture is the whole point, at least from the bill writers’ perspectives because they want to shame the woman. They believe that it will elicit motherly feelings on the part of the woman and change her mind about the procedure. And it might actually do that for some women. The horrible part about it, beyond the fact that it’s essentially state sanctioned rape, is that it’s incredibly manipulative and it’s manipulation that is being forced on the women against their will. The choice to abort for most women is an incredibly emotional and difficult process. They don’t want to have an abortion so much as they have to do it. Either way throwing shame into the process is disgusting. We’re not dogs that have pooped on the living room floor. You don’t have the right to force our noses into the poop to punish us and let us know that it isn’t okay with you.
Further on these points, Chez Pazienza said interesting things about it today and here is the thing that stood out the most to me today.
Here’s the choice ladies….here’s how I’m gonna finish…I can either do it on you or in you. How do you want me to finish?
Yes, Chez has got it right IMHO. That’s exactly how it will feel to all the unfortunate women in Wisconsin. If that makes you go “Ewwwww” that disgust is EXACTLY what you should be feeling.
He goes on to say,
If you told me that there was some guy somewhere who was going to stick something in my girlfriend that she hadn’t asked for, under normal circumstances….[he] gets the shit beaten out of him.
Hear, hear! I have to be honest if a doctor tried to do something like that to me against my will, he or she would get hurt….seriously hurt and not by my boyfriend. So tell me men of Wisconsin, are you willing to let your girlfriends, wives, and daughters be raped because they need a medical procedure? Evidently you’re okay with it because you sent men to the State Assembly who believe in that kind of thing and voted it into law. 18% of women seeking abortions are in their teens. Make sure you tell your teenage daughter who just had an abortion that “oh, BTW, when the doctor shoved that big wand up your hoohoo, that was my vote in action”. At least half of American women, about 88 million women, will experience an unintended pregnancy before the age of 45. 88 million. Make sure you tell your wife or girlfriend after an abortion that she “had to get violated because you voted for a guy that you admired for his conservative stance on fiscal issues and ignored the fact that he was rabidly pro-life”. I’m sure they’ll both love you just as much afterward.
UPDATE: After typing up this post I saw that a judge has blocked the new law, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens.