Quicklink: “an abrogation of medical ethics, if not common decency”

Welcome to the precursor to Gilead.

Virginia’s Proposed Ultrasound Law Is an Abomination
Under the new legislation, women who want an abortion will be forcibly penetrated for no medical reason. Where’s the outrage?

Never mind that the evidence indicates that women forced to see ultrasound images opt to terminate anyhow. According to the American Independent, a new study by Tracy Weitz, assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, shows that “viewing an ultrasound is not an indication that a woman will cancel her scheduled procedure, regardless of what emotional response the sonogram elicits.” Weitz summarized her findings in 2010 when she said that “women do not have abortions because they believe the fetus is not a human or because they don’t know the truth.”

Of course, the bill is unconstitutional. The whole point of the new abortion bans is to force the Supreme Court to reverse Roe v. Wade. It’s unconstitutional to place an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy, although it’s anyone’s guess what, precisely, that means. One would be inclined to suspect, however, that unwanted penetration with a medical device violates either the undue burden test or the right to bodily autonomy. But that’s the other catch in this bill. Proponents seem to be of the view that once a woman has allowed a man to penetrate her body once, her right to bodily autonomy has ended.

Categories: culture wars, ethics & philosophy, law & order, social justice

Tags: , ,

15 replies

  1. P.S. Sorry, should have added a trigger warning for the comments on the Slate article. The culture warriors are out in force.

  2. Never mind that the evidence indicates that women forced to see ultrasound images opt to terminate anyhow.
    My guess would be that such evidence is irrelevant to the drafters of these laws, because changing a woman’s mind is less important to them than taking the chance to hurt or humiliate her.

  3. My heart is with our friends in America right now. This is so terrible. 😦

  4. @sunlessnick: given they’ve never cared about the evidence that banning abortion does nothing to change abortion rates, I’d agree that evidence is completely irrelevant to these people.

  5. I know that I should have an opinion on this, but I just want to huddle into a ball and pretend that people this awful don’t exist.

  6. It’s truly horrific.

  7. I didn’t understand the Gilead reference, until I followed it up and realised there was a big gap in my reading. So I’ve just finished ‘The Handmaid’s tale’ * and I’m still reeling. Scary stuff going on the in US for sure.
    *incidently not available in a kindle edition in this country – wtf?

  8. I read it today. Once I’d started it I found I couldn’t put it down.

    • Have you read “The Gate To Women’s Country” by Sheri S Tepper? It’s a post-apocalyptic novel set in North America, and it explores some similar issues in quite different ways.

  9. Feministe and Thinkprogress have more on the defences being trotted out – to the tune of a woman obviously consenting to any amount of penetration by getting pregnant in the first place.
    Feministe’s commenter EG says it best: ”They really don’t understand the concept of women’s consent and control over their own bodies.”

  10. Tigtog, no I haven’t, but I will now 🙂

  11. As a sidenote on Kindle editions, just in case Rayedish or anyone else hasn’t heard how it works: many books have been sold to different publishers in different markets. Originally this was for the print rights, but usually the ebook rights are well-tied in now.
    So a Kindle edition in Australia may require the work’s Australian publisher to allow Amazon to sell it, which may be entirely different to the US or UK publisher’s dealings with Amazon. (Substitute ebook seller at will, eg Google.)
    This is also partly why the Australian price may be higher than the US price for the same Kindle edition. (Region locking is ew, but there we are.)
    On the subject of the book, I believe Margaret Atwood has said somewhere that she didn’t put anything in Handmaid’s Tale that hasn’t happened somewhere.

  12. Speaking of Kindle, I just bought a second-hand paperback copy of the Gate to Women’s Country on Amazon – because it was cheaper by a long shot than the Kindle edition…

  13. I wasn’t aware Republicans thought women have any right to bodily autonomy, ever.
    I see they’ve changed from a transvaginal ultrasound to an abdominal one, now, and postponed tabling the legislation (am I getting my terms right?) until next year. Seems MacDonnell is scared this sort of thing would make him off limits as a VP candidate. Oh, and now he’s claiming he didn’t know what transvaginal means and didn’t read the legislation. Blatant lies, since he was one of the sponsors of the bill, and the procedure was explained in the House.
    @Sunless Nick, comment 2 – totally agree. This was about punishing women, not about saving the baybeeeeez. As is all the Republican legislation. They make it all too clear they don’t give a rat’s about actual born infants.

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