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Friday, February 17, 2012

Virginia Passes Law that Makes Rape Mandatory


An article in Slate today, "Virginia’s Proposed Ultrasound Law Is an Abomination", has touched a sensitive nerve. As many of you may realize (I know personally most of my readers) I was once a doyen of ultrasound scanning, world famous in Australia you might say (apologies to Mel Brooks for stealing his line). I did lots (hundreds) of scans in early pregnancy way back when and know more than a little about the technicalities of the points raised by the author of the article, Dahlia Lithwick. Be notified that I am in no way disputing her overall opinion and am a staunch supporter of women's right to choose.

She says that the requirement to perform a transvaginal ultrasound scan means that there is now a legal requirement to perform rape - state-sanctioned rape.

...that means most women will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure ... With a proposed amendment to the bill—a provision that would have had the patient consent to this bodily intrusion or allowed the physician to opt not to do the vaginal ultrasound—failed on 64-34 vote. A special ultrasound transducer is placed into the vagina in order to get a clear view of the uterus. The law provides that women seeking an abortion in Virginia will be forcibly penetrated for no medical reason. I am not the first person to note that under any other set of facts, that would constitute rape under state law.

She rightly argues that if it becomes a legal requirement to to a transvaginal scan it would be a straight forward case of rape.

(from above link)

However, I am of the professional (woah!) opinion that an abdominal ultrasound scan (probe - pushing hard - on the lower abdomen) would be perfectly adequate in many cases. And a scan might be done anyway, even without this law, to confirm the gestational age (important).

A transvaginal scan might only be required if the woman is greatly obese. (Hang on 99% of American women are, so...) Perhaps the argument that the woman is going to be penetrated unnecessarily and undoubtedly against her will, raped indeed, might not be as strong as stated in this, and the linked article. Meh.

There are all sorts of reasons for a woman to prefer not to continue a pregnancy which I don't need to go into here, but forcing her doctor to rape her, and then, by making her listen to the heartbeat and look at the screen (the "egg-as-a-person" trick), to make her feel that she is a bad person when she may not be, goes against her legal and moral rights. How could the state sanction rape?

To me, this law is the equivalent of the stoning of adulteresses and the harsh punishment of victims of rape in those regions where Sharia law is full implemented.

It also reminds me of the arguments used to justify US's forced sterilization programmes in the 1920's and 30's, as described in Edwin's Black's book (yes, I've read it - fascinating and terrifying) and discussed in the award-winning documentary War Against The Weak.





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Here's a quote from Bob McDonnell, governor of Virginia and possible vice-presidential candidate: it seems a blatant attempt to grab the conservative, bible-belt vote:

“I think it gives full information,” he said this week on WTOP radio’s “Ask the Governor” program. “To be able to have that information before making what most people would say is a very important, serious, life-changing decision, I think is appropriate.”

My emphasis. I would argue that a termination is not life changing for the woman who makes this choice, but rather enables her life to continue as it was. It's a non-changing choice, thank you very much. I consider this a reasonable and essentially correct state of affairs.

Now continuing with the pregnancy, that is a life-changing situation, and I can vouch for that!

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This is a separate issue to the ongoing one about insurance coverage for contraception , etc...

E@L

5 comments:

Skippy-san said...

I am not surprised that Virginia passed this law-with the exception of the DC suburbs, the state is akin to where I used to live:Alabama-for total numbers of stupid people.

The problem is you have a dedicated 30% of the electorate who are trying to out conservative each other. They refuse to look on issues solely on their technical merits-and the religious right's fixation on abortion is quite simply embarrassing. But they don't care. They believe there is nothing wrong with telling you how to live your life. "The Consititution says its OK"

Of course the Constitution says nothing of the sort-since it could not even envision this type of situation. I am so disgusted with the land of my birth now-America has the potential to be great, but it chooses mediocrity instead.

So now you know why I had to get back overseas.

The Bludger said...

And I think that Bill got modified and statuary? rape is no longer required. Of course I cannot find the link again.
But isn't Medical interventions "good for us". Have you not had the big black snake up your rectum? Did you feel raped and violated?
Do you not get a finger up the date periodically to check your prostrate?
Have you had an inspection for haemorrhoids (or however it is spelt)?
Women also get their bresticles mashed and squeezed between plates to check for breast cancer.
If you want an abortion, you have already had penetration. It is not like you are a virgin!
if the procedure is unnecessary the fine - not necessary.

expat@large said...

Point being, Nick, as we read here it is mandatory.. All the things you mention one can say no to, or even have to volunteer for! The statement you make about not being a virgin: you are attempting a Rush Limbaugh impersonation, right? .

The Bludger said...

It's funny in a way that most of the trauma, certainly the mental/psychological trauma, that we associate with having things stuck in our orifices is due in a large part to social conditioning.
Apparently the Romans used to stick tubes up their rectums and give themselves enemas with Wine and other substances, for fun. I couldn't find a Roman to check with but I suspect that they got enjoyment out of it. Offer the same thing to a "modern" male and I suggest that you would get a strongly negative response.
I am not condoning the Virginian laws, but as time goes by people will consider it part of the process and it will be seen as less traumatic - from that mental aspect.
After all if you described to a woman how a C Section worked, most would be horrified, but nowadays many choose it, rather than natural birth, out of convenience to them.
I am not in a position to know if the intervention is physically traumatic.

expat@large said...

Surely you want (and are legally entitled to in most civilised parts of the world) control over and consent for what penetrates your orifices. That is what the issue is. Otherwise this is rape, social conditioning or not.

What you allow yourself do with your own sphincter, or that of other consenting adults, in your spare time is not my concern... !!!

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