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Keep Your Laws Out Of My Body

The Mayberry Lane's picture

“It is easy to take liberty for granted when you have never had it taken from you” – M. Grundler

Outside of the passing of the Patriot Act, I can not remember a time in my relatively short life in which I felt more hurt or violated by my government. The passage and proposal of recent government sponsored rape legislation in Oklahoma and Florida has left me in utter shock.

You see, I wasn’t around for the
Roe v. Wade court battle.
I’ve grown up in an era of women’s equality; or at least the façade of it. For the first time in my life, I think truly understand the indescribable anger of having my most personal liberties taken from me.

By definition, rape does not only mean forced sexual intercourse. By definition, rape can simply be the insertion of an inanimate object. By definition, the new laws in Oklahoma and the proposed law in Florida are rape.

In Oklahoma, with the passage of H.B.2780, the government has not only given consent for medical rape, but has required it.

The new law requires all women have an ultrasound before having an abortion. Sure, sounds reasonable enough. In fact, according to
Planned Parenthood, an ultrasound may be medically necessary anyway to determine what stage of development the fetus is in, and thus what type of abortion procedure should be performed. That’s not the part of the law I personally take issue with.

It’s the specific language in H.B.2780 that I find disturbing.

In Section 3, Paragraph 1, the legislation states that the woman must have an ultrasound by “either a vaginal transducer or an abdominal transducer, whichever would display the embryo or fetus more clearly.” Are you kiddin’ me??? Even a person who knows nothing about medical procedure could stand to reason that an ultrasound from within the body is going to be more detailed than one from the exterior.

Now would be a darn good time to scroll back up and check that rape definition.

Not to mention the bill makes absolutely no exception for rape, incest, or age of the woman or girl at the time of pregnancy. Don’t believe me… it’s eight little pages… go check for yourself.

And then we have the lovely Florida Senate. Once again, Florida has to prove they’re the ass of the country.

Yesterday, in a crafty little amendment tacked on to H.B.1143 (2010), a bill that was supposedly regarding “reduction and simplification of healthcare regulation”. How ironic.

But that tiny little amendment, in 1143E2, snuck in a proposed law similar to the Oklahoma medical rape doozey mentioned above. As far as I’m concerned, this is Crist’s best chance to prove he’s an independent.

Now, I’ll give Florida legislators just a hair more credit… at the very least, they pretended to care about the victims of rape and incest. The bill does contain a provision that would exempt victims from having to view the ultrasound, but only if they present a police report or medical documentation to prove the assault. Considering that statistics indicate that rapes go unreported at least 50% of the time, this law will just prove to be further punishment for victims already suffering.

And in similar fashion to Oklahoma’s rape law, in section 10. (d). 2. of Florida’s proposed legislation you’ll find the requirement of the practitioner to perform a bimanual exam, a procedure requiring the practitioner to physically insert fingers into the patient. How is this not rape?

The most appalling point of Florida’s version of the law… us women folk even get to pay for that government mandated rape! At a price tag that can reach up to $1000, there’s no debate on whether or not this law with disproportionately effect the poor. Great, hope these same legislators don’t come bitchin’ later about the increase in costs to Medicaid and other “socialist” programs when that woman needs help to raise those children.

I can’t begin to imagine how hard the fight for Roe v. Wade fight was.. I can’t imagine the pain and anguish a woman must go through to have an abortion. I am not pretending that these types of procedures are not necessary simply to have an abortion… but they shouldn’t be used as some sort of intimidating factor to prevent a woman from doing what she wants with her own body. I’d love to see if the same law would pass if it required men to have an anal ultrasound before having a vasectomy!

So, I guess this is my generations’ turn to stand for what’s right. We can’t let the rights our parents fought for be taken away so easily.

Historically, the scarlet letter was an A, today it just stands for abortion.

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The Mayberry Lane's picture
Submitted by The Mayberry Lane on

Thank you for what you did with that group. Thank you for what you helped accomplish for women everywhere. Thank you for taking the time to share that story with me. I have goosebumps. Thank you.

Submitted by hipparchia on

learning that there were women whose husbands were refusing them permission to even take birth control pills. i sure did NOT grow up in a family like that, where the wife had to ask the husband for permission for anything, and it was an eye-opener for me.

Submitted by Elliott Lake on the great majority of cases, bloodwork or a pee test will suffice. It's not rocket science, you're not diagnosing some mysterious illness.

I've known a lot of women who have had abortions for all the reasons you can think of, and I've never known one who had to submit to that garbage. This is the stuff of horror movies.
This is just rape and torture as punishment for being a woman with the temerity to want control over her own body. And some men seem to get an unholy glee from cutting into, invading women's bodies.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

To determine the age of the fetus, which can change the procedure needed for termination.

But there is no reason to force the woman to view the ultrasound, it's only information needed by the medical professionals who will be performing the procedure.

When I had mine, they did an ultrasound, but they kept the screen turned away from me, and only the nurse looked at it. She gave me no information about what she saw, just made some notes, and it was over. That's all it needs to be.

Submitted by gmanedit on

especially in first-trimester abortion. Age is judged by LMP (last menstrual period) and manual exam.

How could it be otherwise? Ultrasound is recent technology. Abortion has been around forever.

sisterkenney's picture
Submitted by sisterkenney on

LMP is self-reported, and can be unclear or even incorrect in determining fetal age, since there can actually be bleeding in spite of pregnancy(albeit light). Pelvic exams, with speculum (including the bimanual-meaning finger insertion and abdominal counter-pressure) can be informative, but are not definitive. HCG (blood levels) and US, are the best determinants, especially if the pregnancy is borderline for early intervention (12 weeks or less), for example, RU-486.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

Ultrasound is definitive technology. It would be a horrendous experience for a woman to think all she needed was a D&C, which requires no dilation, IIRC, and instead need a D&E, which does, because of inaccurate self reporting. Plus, the D&E is a two day procedure, because the dilation needs time to take effect.

Accurate information going into an abortion procedure is a must have, and shouldn't be left to the vagaries of human error.

When I went for mine, I had bleeding for two months after I got pregnant, so I thought I was at eight weeks when I mustered up the courage to go to the clinic. In actuality I was close to 16 weeks. If an ultrasound hadn't been performed, I would not have been able to get my abortion, because by the time the clinic rescheduled me for the necessary procedure, I would have been too far along to legally recieve my abortion.

ETA: Of course the discussion about D&E is moot at this point, but that still doesn't change the fact that the medical professionals must have all the information available before attempting any surgical procedure, minor or not.

Yes abortions were performed before the advent of ultrasound technology, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't use the technology to keep patients safe, just because some forced birthers want to use that technology for nefarious reasons.

Submitted by gmanedit on

is that in the seventies I worked with a group that worked with doctors to offer vacuum-aspiration D&Cs to thousands of the unwillingly pregnant. The women didn't decide they needed D&Cs; that was the doctors' department. Of course the D&Cs required dilation (through a series of metal rods). Somehow the doctors managed in that pre-ultrasound age.

Yes, we had to turn away women who were over the limit. Sometimes we were able to send them elsewhere.

This current moment in American history might be a good time to read up on the Karman cannula.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

My mother's recent bout of colon cancer would have resulted in her entire colon removed, and having to live with a colostomy bag for the rest of her life.

Thankfully, due to medical technology, her doctors were able to determine that was unneccessary.

I'm absolutely horrified that ultrasounds have been turned into a weapon by the forced birthers. At the same time, I'm very glad the medical professionals did one during my abortion.

I had to schedule time off work, I had to go to court for a temporary emancipation, I had to lie to my mother, I had to secure transportation, and a safe space to recuperate. Having undergone all of that, just to be told once I was on the table that "Sorry, we can't perform your abortion, you'll have to do that all over again, and return in a week when we are legally prevented from providing you with one" because they trusted my self reporting, would have sent me to the bathroom cabinet to drink drain cleaner.

Doctors and nurses need all the info they can get their hands on. Full stop. It's absolutely possible for an ultrasound to be performed, without having a guilt trip rubbed all in your face. Professionals will give you only the information you ask for. One woman I waited in the room with, before going in, told me she asked the nurse many questions during the ultrasound, b/c she wanted to know. I lay there quietly, the nurse spoke 3 words the entire time, and it was over in less than five minutes.

Yes, of course women should be allowed to take that risk, of having the staff work under the inaccurate information, and suffer the consequence of that, i.e. be unable to get the necessary procedure. That's autonomy. But an ultrasound is still necessary, bit not required, from a medical perspective.

sisterkenney's picture
Submitted by sisterkenney on

is the insertion of politics into the practice of medicine. Abortion is legal, a medical procedure, and to require all the previously described interventions, and assessments, of a medical practitioner is PRACTICING MEDICINE WITHOUT A LICENSE. I cannot believe that no-one has challenged these laws on that basis. No procedure, no patient, should be defined and at the mercy of a group of medical illiterates (Schiavo, anyone?). The practitioner/patient relationship is private, and, BTW, exempt from legal exposure (another violation!).
The legally required interventions may, or may not, be required, and the assessment of the patient's health and status is a MEDICAL judgement. As for the required invasive procedures mandated by these laws, and I define invasive as psychological as well as physical acts, it is patently obvious to me that these acts are designed to hamstring medical judgement, as well as damage and invade women's bodies and minds. I, too, remember the days before Roe v Wade, and marched, passed petitions, and helped other young women find providers. (Interestingly, the local pediatrician was well known in our small circle as a competent and sympathetic provider.) I also remember whole wings of the local hospitals dedicated to treating the complications of illegal abortions, and the deaths and disfigurements they resulted in. Maybe we have to tell the stories to the world again..."never forget"!!!!!

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

Blue Lyon wrote about it yesterday too. It's mindboggling.

There is another law that passed recently in Arkansas, which requires women to have mental health exams and ultrasounds before having an abortion. To me, the mental health exam is far scarier than the physical one. Not only are women who have abortions murderers, you see, they're mentally ill as well.

We're regressing back to pre-Freudian days here. Women used to be given hysterectomies because their uterii were determined to be causing them mental/emotional distress. What will happen to these women who are forced to give birth to unwanted/unhealthy children because some man decided she wanted an abortion for the "wrong reason"?

Give me a second, I'll get a link.

madamab's picture
Submitted by madamab on

The laws were passed in Nebraska, and the first law prohibited abortions after 20 weeks based on the "belief" (no scientific proof confirms this) that fetuses feel pain after this time in their development.

There have been so many laws like this in the last month or so, I am losing track.

The Mayberry Lane's picture
Submitted by The Mayberry Lane on

Coming from you, that means a lot!