Abortion Restriction and “State-Sponsored Rape”

Much of the United States legislature has as of late been bent on restricting women’s access to abortion. While neither the federal nor state governments can exactly overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling that made abortion legal, conservatives can do everything in their power to put huge impositions on women who seek abortions and doctors who provide them. The message is that the conservative government wants to control the movement of female bodies.

A recent development in various states’ attempts to restrict abortion rights is the imposition of an ultrasound on a woman seeking an abortion, and the image must be made clearly visible to the seeker by the doctor providing the abortion. As Talking Points Memo reports, Virginia and Alabama’s recent bills mandate that a woman potentially go through a very invasive procedure to produce the clearest image of the fetus:

The one particularly contentious point has been that these bills require a woman to receive whichever type of ultrasound provides the best picture of the fetus — which, since women typically get abortions early on in the pregnancy, means that the most effective ultrasound is transvaginal, an invasive procedure that opponents of the measure decried as “state-sponsored rape.”

This bill would have asked doctors to place a foreign object (the one pictured above) into a woman’s body without her consent. This is, in effect, rape. It did not pass, but it is an indicator of just how far state’s will go to make abortion as difficult, and even potentially traumatic, as possible.

An amended version of the bill passed in the Virginia legislature, which makes the trans-vaginal ultrasound optional, however not without other equally restrictive and imposing measures:

The new law requires a 24-hour waiting period after the ultrasound, in addition to the one already mandated by the state before an abortion to begin with. The law also requires that the doctor give a detailed verbal description of the image or show it to the woman. “All of these requirements are pretty awful, and they are getting lost in the shuffle in the outrage over the vaginal ultrasound,” Nash said.

A handful of other states are also attempting to restrict abortion and contraceptive rights, such as through imposed waiting times and personhood bills. Jezebel provides a run-down of some the measures, some of which have thankfully not been passed through legislature.

Abortion rights and contraception have been a topic of much debate in the current US Presidential election. The major Republican nominees see it is within their power to make judgment calls concerning women’s bodies, thereby removing the individual’s right to choose. In this interview with Piers Morgan, for example, Ron Paul shows that he is completely insensitive to the potential needs of a recent rape survivor. Without any consideration for their individual circumstances or the recent trauma they have just experienced, Paul believes any female victim of rape must immediately get to a hospital for a shot of estrogen in order to prevent pregnancy and conform to his personal beliefs on abortion and conception.

Contrary to what Morgan says, it is not actually completely unlikely that Paul’s daughters will face rape considering that one out of every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.

Perhaps a new law ought to be that abortion is not simply legal, but accessible and provided without judgment.

Thanks to Renee for the tip. 

Vaginal Ultrasound Bills A Smokescreen, Say Pro-Choice Groups [TPM]

Your Depressing Digest of Proposed State Anti-Abortion Laws [Jezebel]

2 comments
  1. It is so sad… No woman in her right mind would be interested in the vile brood of a rapist. It is filthy to expect her to carry the brat for months and give birth to it with so much pain – after a rape…
    My opinion is that a rape victim must go at once to a hospital, to take samples and proof. This way she will have chances to see the rapist in prison at last. Which will not undo the rape, of course, but she will feel a bit easier if she sees that the monster was punished at least.

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