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article imageOp-Ed: Women's vaginas assaulted prior to abortion due to pro-life bill

By Holly Goodwin     Feb 16, 2012 in Health
A pro-life bill was just passed in Virginia requiring any woman seeking an abortion to be forced into having an invasive, costly, and worthless trans-vaginal ultrasound.
Many states already enforce a woman to see the ultrasound of the "baby" she's about to kill. For women who are having problems deciding I must acknowledge that it's good to be absolutely sure you know what you want done before the irreversible procedure is done, but Virginia's law serves no purpose whatsoever other than try and frighten women off with threats of stuffing more things up their genitals.
A woman prepared to have a coat hanger or chemical abortion isn't going to flinch away from such measures, but for those of us who want access to safe abortions it certainly shows the failure of the government to keep religion and state separate. Men might as well be forced to have rectal exams for Viagra prescriptions since it's just as invasive and useless (and could prevent a pregnancy ending in abortion if he can't perform after denying the medication due to the violation required to get it).
One GOP member even had the audacity to say most abortions come as "matters of lifestyle convenience." Convenience? With the list of complications that could be caused by child birth based on family history and your personal body I'd consider it more of a "health care choice" due to the permanent or temporary trauma birth can cause if the woman lacks the body or health for it. Also, since the GOP delegate wanted to mention convenience I would say paying $300-$500 is far more convenient than a $10,000 hospital bill. Though this bill would likely raise the cost of an abortion due to having another test being ran. I doubt Virginia has a money back plan for the extra costs its bill will produce.
Charnielle Herring, a democrat delegate said, "We're talking about inside a woman's body. This is the first time, if we pass this bill, that we will be dictating a medical procedure to a physician."
The House Bill 1 on person hood at conception passed on a 66-32 vote and the atrocious bill forcing women to have more items stuffed into them before receiving an abortion passed on a 63-36 vote.
Tarina Keene of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia said that Virginia is the first state extremely close to determining person hood at conception, an ideal that would essentially make hormonal birth control illegal. Hormonal birth control works in three ways:
1. Prevents the egg from being released
2. Forms a mucus plug making it impossible for sperm to get through
3. Prevents a fertilized egg from attaching the to the uterine wall
This is why Catholics generally do not allow hormonal contraceptive usage. There is a tiny chance that the fertilized egg may be flushed out. If Virginia truly places into law that person hood begins at conception then women who rely on hormonal birth control may be in big trouble.
This isn't a fight between pro-lifers and pro-choices, but also a fight against religion. A religion forced upon women who do not wish to follow its practice and are likely from other sects of Christianity or of other religions.
The bill is only a method to try and further humiliate the woman seeking abortion despite that face that even the most careful of people, even those on hormonal birth control, can still end up pregnant. In fact, 1% of women are immune to the affects of hormonal birth control and general usage with human mistakes lead up to 5% of hormonal birth control users becoming pregnant. I've had family members get pregnant on the shot and IUD, the latter leading to a forced abortion due to it becoming ectopic. Would that family member also have to suffer to such a useless bodily violation as well? There is also no regard for sexual abuse victims seeking to abort their violator's child.
A personal story from a woman who just calls herself Clytemnestra says, "I have been a victim of rape, so I don't use the word lightly, but there's no other way to put it. Really. I'm not about to use soft language to meant to disguise or make palatable what Virginia is a governor's signature away from doing. And Virginia's governor, Bob McDonnell, has said he will sign the legislation." The article she posted has graphic images of the procedure being performed on a doll and may not be safe for work, but it clearly shows the violation and pain this procedure would cause, especially for someone seeking help after an attack. Clytemnestra also mentions the FBI has recently changed its definition of rape, which fits this scenario. The new definition includes men and women: “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”
What the pro-lifers need to realize is that their focus shouldn't be on punishing a woman for an accident. A common argument is that she should have kept her legs closed, or its her fault, but the fact is that at least 25% of abortions or sought by women over 30, mostly married and already with kids. This is not the stereotypical view of the careless girl using abortions "as birth control."
This is perhaps the most awful anti-abortion measure I've seen yet and it can effect any woman in a sexual relationship, even married couples, because marriage isn't a magical button that prevents unwanted pregnancy. The question is which state will follow next?
With the Catholic hospitals refuses to disperse hormonal birth control pills combined with this bill I worry greatly about the state of welfare women will be in within a few years.
The solution is making birth control easier to obtain. Having clinics refusing to disperse it due to religious values or coercing a woman into a pelvic exam first isn't help the cause of stopping abortions; it'll only get worse.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Virginia, Abortion, transvaginal ultrasound, Religion, Catholic Church
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