Join 3,574 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


the handmaid's tale was optimistic
February 16, 2012 5:24 PM   Subscribe

Dahlia Lithwick: This week, the Virginia state Legislature passed a bill that would require women to have an ultrasound before they may have an abortion. Because the great majority of abortions occur during the first 12 weeks, that means most women will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure, in which a probe is inserted into the vagina, and then moved around until an ultrasound image is produced. Since 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, 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. posted by gerryblog (331 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
I had an ultrasound that early and it was NOT transvaginal. Have things changed that much in the last few decades?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:26 PM on February 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yes, the religious right has gone so far down the rabbit hole that they're going to legally rape women who want to exercise their rights.
posted by wikipedia brown boy detective at 5:29 PM on February 16, 2012 [32 favorites]


When Parody Becomes Reality: The 'Spilled Semen' Amendment
posted by homunculus at 5:30 PM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Every woman and every pregnancy is different.
posted by muddgirl at 5:31 PM on February 16, 2012


That was in response to St. Alia's non sequitor.
posted by muddgirl at 5:31 PM on February 16, 2012


As a Virginian, may I say that Virginia sucks big time.

This is just part one. A"personhood" bill is coming up that looks likely to pass.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:32 PM on February 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


What year is it again?
posted by birdherder at 5:32 PM on February 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


1312, apparently.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:33 PM on February 16, 2012 [13 favorites]


I'll be waiting for you guys in Canada. When I get an actual job, each place I rent will have an extra guest bedroom. The extra $400 or so a month I'll just treat as insurance for my fellow (escaping across the border from The Patriarchs) man.
posted by Slackermagee at 5:35 PM on February 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


When I had my abortions (in 2005, and 2007), I had ultrasounds performed because, I was told, to locate where the embryo was in the uterus, and to make sure it wasn't an ectopic pregnancy, and thought the ultrasound was standard practice. Is it not?
posted by Ideal Impulse at 5:35 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


So if life really does begin at conception and conservatives really believed that, miscarriage would be second only to heart disease in terms of deaths caused, and would easily outstrip everything else in terms of years-of-life lost. It would beat cancer, stroke, and accidents combined.

Given that, where is the conservative outcry for funding for drug research that would reduce the incidence of miscarriage? If we could halve the unintended miscarriage rate, it would be like curing AIDS three times over, or curing cancer. Where's the call for miscarriage prevention drugs? Shouldn't this be our #1 medical priority?
posted by 0xFCAF at 5:35 PM on February 16, 2012 [91 favorites]


I'll be waiting for you guys in Canada. When I get an actual job, each place I rent will have an extra guest bedroom. The extra $400 or so a month I'll just treat as insurance for my fellow (escaping across the border from The Patriarchs) man.

Unfortunately, these sorts of trog lowlifes control the legislative agenda in Canada at the moment. The only thing holding them back is a vocal populace and an independent judiciary. Hopefully this will be enough to withstand the next 4 years of Conservative rule.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:38 PM on February 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


Well can we perform the same procedure on the Legislatures that voted for this? Why not? We're just looking for signs of life.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 5:40 PM on February 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


how was St Alia's a non sequiter? This is how the quote reads:
statement 1. most abortions occur before x time.
statement 2. all ultrasounds before this time must be transvaginal.
conclusion: therefore mandating an ultrasound before an abortion, is for most women mandating a transvaginal ultrasound.

Alia challenged statement 2, by saying that she had an ultrasound before x time and it was not transvaginal. If 2 is false then 3 is false. You could rebut her challenge either by showing that 2 is correct and her anecdote is either false or perhaps out of date, or by amending statement 2 from 'must always be' to 'are usually', and thus amending the conclusion to 'is most likely to require' or similar.
posted by jacalata at 5:41 PM on February 16, 2012 [46 favorites]


Ideal Impulse - my impression is that there is no medical reason to perform an ultrasound before a medical abortion (ie, when an abortion drug is prescribed). In the case of surgical abortions, a regular ultrasound may be sufficient to locate the embryo sac, while most common ultrasound laws have stricter standards regarding describing the fetus and detecting the heartbeat.

There was a recent instance where the heartbeat of a 9-week-old fetus was not detected with a regular ultrasound. Under oath!

statement 2. all ultrasounds before this time must be transvaginal.

That statement was not made.
posted by muddgirl at 5:42 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can you interpret this for me then? Because I really can't find another interpretation.
Because the great majority of abortions occur during the first 12 weeks, that means most women will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure,
posted by jacalata at 5:44 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Coverage of the personhood bills mentioned by Benny Andajetz here and here.
posted by sendai sleep master at 5:44 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


KokuRyu: Hopefully this will be enough to withstand the next 4 years of Conservative rule.

Huh. I thought all the optimists were dead.
posted by Decimask at 5:44 PM on February 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


When I had my abortions (in 2005, and 2007), I had ultrasounds performed because, I was told, to locate where the embryo was in the uterus, and to make sure it wasn't an ectopic pregnancy, and thought the ultrasound was standard practice. Is it not?

A transabdominal ultrasound is standard practice. A transvaginal ultrasound is standard if the transabdominal is not defintive. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that abortion, in and of itself, is not an indication for the transvaginal ultrasound:
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a professional association of more than 55,000 doctors, has general standards for ultrasonography in pregnancy, including when it is appropriate to administer a trans-vaginal ultrasound versus a trans-abdominal ultrasound, i.e., the “jelly on the belly” ultrasound typically seen in movies.

In 2009, ACOG published a “practice bulletin” developed collaboratively with the American College of Radiology and the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine. For first-trimester ultrasound scanning, ACOG recommends trans-vaginal or trans-perineal scanning if the trans-abdominal exam is not definitive. ACOG offers a list of 12 “indications” for doing this type of scan, which include attempts to confirm a suspected ectopic pregnancy, to assess for fetal anomalies, to evaluate vaginal bleeding or pelvic pain, or to estimate gestational age. ACOG spokesperson Amanda Hall pointed out to The American Independent that abortion is not on the list of indications for a trans-vaginal sonogram.
posted by scody at 5:45 PM on February 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


Instead of debating ultrasound, why not just point out that Republicans barred women from testifying. Instead, it was an all-male panel that included clergymen. What the fuck is up with that?
posted by KokuRyu at 5:45 PM on February 16, 2012 [129 favorites]


jacalata, it can be the case that most ultrasounds performed during the first 12 weeks are transvaginal without it being a law of nature. My wife is pregnant now, and had been pregnant once before this; both times the doctor wanted to do a transvaginal ultrasound. That's the standard procedure; that's what most women who are forced to undergo this unnecessary ultrasound will get.
posted by gerryblog at 5:46 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


You can detect no difference between:

(a) most women will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure, and
(b) all ultrasounds before 12 weeks are transvaginal?

It's a pretty common logic error.
posted by muddgirl at 5:46 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


my impression is that there is no medical reason to perform an ultrasound before a medical abortion

These theocratic assnozzles are just couching things in medical terms. They just want to be able to wave a picture in front of the woman and try to administer as much guilt as possible.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:47 PM on February 16, 2012 [13 favorites]


scody's link aside, the doctors we saw went straight for the transvaginal option without trying the transabdominal first.
posted by gerryblog at 5:47 PM on February 16, 2012


Furthermore, it does nothing to address the corrolary point, which is that these laws have stricter standards (listening to a heartbeat, describing a fetus) than most medical reasons to perform an ultrasound.
posted by muddgirl at 5:47 PM on February 16, 2012


And I should add--in both states, I didn't have to look at the ultrasound. But the first time, I want to see it; it was important to me to see what I was doing, to understand what I was losing. But I couldn't see anything on the ultrasound. Like, nothing. Not even a blur. The technician tried to point it out to me, but I just couldn't see it. I think I was making her uncomfortable.

But because I grew up seeing ultrasounds, from further in the pregnancy of course, I was so used to see the delineated clear baby-shape in the image that I was ultimately pretty disappointed that I couldn't even see a blob. I wonder if this bill will backfire for that reason.
posted by Ideal Impulse at 5:50 PM on February 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


"If we want to talk about invasiveness, there's nothing more invasive than the procedure that she is about to have," said bill sponsor, Republican Kathy J. Byron, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

I'd comment on that if I could come up with anything other than curse words.
posted by argonauta at 5:50 PM on February 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


These theocratic assnozzles are just couching things in medical terms. They just want to be able to wave a picture in front of the woman and try to administer as much guilt as possible.

Do not underestimate the sheer desire to humiliate and punish -- physically, emotionally, and sexually -- women who seek abortions. This accomplishes all of that in one fell swoop. (And that's also why forcible penetration in this case can't possibly be rape, in their minds; after all, women who want abortions are whores, and you can't rape a whore, right?)
posted by scody at 5:51 PM on February 16, 2012 [78 favorites]


muddgirl, can you tell me what the relevance of 'because most abortions are performed before 12 weeks' statement is in your interpretation of the quote?
posted by jacalata at 5:52 PM on February 16, 2012


The Big Divide between Red states and Blue states increasingly becomes more and
more defined. Oddly, many of the progressive states pay more into federal coffers than they get back, while conservative states take more than they put in, and yet the conservatives keep
mouthing off about states rights and less govt.
posted by Postroad at 5:52 PM on February 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm sorry, but suggesting St. Alia's comment isn't germane is really grasping. And I say that as someone that vehemently disagrees with her on the subject.

The phrase "Because the great majority of abortions occur during the first 12 weeks, that means most women will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure" clearly indicates that there's a link between having the procedure early (before 12 weeks) and being forced to have a transvaginal procedure. jacata was quite accurate in suggesting that, even if her phrasing could be parsed to show a difference between "most" and "all".

Anyway, the point St. Alia has raised has been addressed by those who have said that transvaginal ultrasound is not normally indicated for abortions that early.

Carry on.
posted by darkstar at 5:53 PM on February 16, 2012 [12 favorites]


FWIW, I totally agree that the point of this law is simply to cause guilt and inconvience for women getting an abortion. I know nothing about ultrasounds, and my reading is simply from the page. I'm usually pretty good at reading comprehension, and I think that Alia's response was completely valid - it looks like people are saying that the implied facts are not valid, and therefore you're all aiming for option 2, amend the quote so that it doesn't have the same incorrect implications.
posted by jacalata at 5:54 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


oooops I don't know how I got on this website this must be some Iranian cleric website sorry I did not mean to comment
posted by robbyrobs at 5:55 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


muddgirl, can you tell me what the relevance of 'because most abortions are performed before 12 weeks' statement is in your interpretation of the quote?

After 12 weeks, they don't do transvaginal ultrasounds anymore. Are you really having this much trouble following all this?
posted by gerryblog at 5:56 PM on February 16, 2012


I'm sorry, but suggesting St. Alia's comment isn't germane is really grasping. And I say that as someone that vehemently disagrees with her on the subject.

Yeah, I thought that some of the responses to her comment were more of a response to her as a MeFite, rather than the merits of what she actually said. Still, St. Alia's gets points for the early thread derail.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:57 PM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I never comment in abortion threads because I am strongly against abortion and look forward to a day when there are no more abortions, a time I believe will come. Forcing women to undergo ultrasounds (which due to vaginimus many like me find transvaginal ones extremely painful) has nothing at all to do with respecting life. Many of these women will have already been raped, if not by the father of the child then by someone else in the past. Those who haven't are about to be. I believe this is rape. I desperately wanted to have a transvaginal ultrasound and I still remember the pain and discomfort. Having it forced on you, even if it doesn't hurt physically? You don't rape to stop what you believe to be murder.
posted by Danila at 5:57 PM on February 16, 2012 [45 favorites]


If you click the link you see Lithwick links to another piece to explain the transvaginal abortion claim.
The bill, which passed the House of Delegates yesterday and the state Senate two weeks ago, would require an ultrasound to determine a fetus’ gestation age. It would then give the woman the option to view the ultrasound before her abortion.

Englin said the bill represents a level of government intrusion that “shocks the conscience.” According to Englin’s office:
… only an invasive transvaginal probe ultrasound can effectively determine gestation age during much of the first trimester, which is when most abortions occur. Englin offered an amendment to require the pregnant woman’s consent prior to subjecting her to a vaginal penetration ultrasound, but House Republicans rejected the amendment by a vote of 64 to 34.
posted by gerryblog at 5:59 PM on February 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


My SO is a doctor who grew up in the former Yugoslavia. Her nation is 90% catholic, and the church advocates against abortion all the time. I asked her how abortion came to be legal and free under the nationalised health care plan if the entire country, ostensibly, has a religious objection to it? Wouldn't public outcry put a end to that?

"Oh, we had those people. But under socialism..." and she drew her finger across her throat.
posted by clarknova at 5:59 PM on February 16, 2012 [17 favorites]


All, most, some, who cares? Even giving this bill the most generous interpretation, some women will be vaginally penetrated when it is medically unnecessary. This is designed to punish women.
posted by Mavri at 6:00 PM on February 16, 2012 [30 favorites]


When I first read the details of the intrusion, I thought it was the Onion.

Then I realized that the fucking ONION probably wouldn't take a sick joke this far.
posted by delfin at 6:03 PM on February 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Maybe I missed St. Alia's incredibly-relevant point, in which case I apologize. What was it?

This bill very clearly requires most women in the state of Virginia to get a transvaginal ultrasound (because it requires a specific determination of gestational age, or in Texas's case because it requires a description of the fetus/embryo). How is any other person's experience with ultrasounds relevant?
posted by muddgirl at 6:03 PM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Since it hasn't been noted yet (I think), this is the bill that Janet Howell, VA state Senator from Fairfax, tried to attach an amendment that would have also required men seeking a prescription for erectile dysfunction medication to get a cardiac stress test and an rectal exam. Unfortunately, the amendment was defeated before the bill was passed.
posted by crunchland at 6:04 PM on February 16, 2012 [38 favorites]


I mean experience with ultrasounds in an environment where they are not legally mandated.
posted by muddgirl at 6:04 PM on February 16, 2012


Alert: making this thread about Alia's and muddgirl's exchange is a Bad Idea and, more importantly, I see no reason to assume that Alia and jacalata didn't interpret the quote in exactly the same way I did until I read the exchange and re-read the quote and reconsidered.

That is to say, the "most women" in the conclusion could be the result of either that most women get abortions in the first 12 weeks and all those women would require a transvaginal ultrasound or most women get abortions in the first 12 weeks and most of those would require a transvaginal ultrasound. The former definitely results in "most women getting transvaginal ultrasounds" and the latter possibly/probably results in "most women getting transvaginal ultrasounds". Given Lithwick's argument, it's not unreasonable to have read that quote with the first interpretation and not the second, and so Alia's query is perfectly reasonable.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:04 PM on February 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


The personhood bill is even worse and it's fairly likely to pass. McDonald is a genuine theocrat gunning for the teabagger VP nod, there's no veto threat as the last resort either. Virginia is about to become the new most extreme state in the nation, farther right than Arizona and Mississippi.

I know two Virginians who will be moving into the District if it passes, my lease is up in March. Have fun in the 1500s, Virginia.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:06 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know what to say other than this makes me sick.

Maybe there could be a photo of any of these legislators in the examining room with the caption "If you don't abort, your baby may grow up to be one of these assholes."
posted by maxwelton at 6:08 PM on February 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


DC? Where you'll have no control over your political destiny, as opposed to Virginia, where you at least have the illusion of it? Can I get you to at least consider Maryland?
posted by crunchland at 6:09 PM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's been a busy day.

Indeed it has been. I've been getting that story all day long from different sources, because of the witness who was denied the chance to testify. From the linked article:

Issa also dismissed the Democrats’ woman witness as a “college student’ who does not “have the appropriate credentials” to testify before his committee.

Sandra Fluke is a 31-year-old Georgetown Law student who led the group "Law Students for Reproductive Justice" at a Jesuit institution which has been vehemently opposed to covering contraception (as well as opposed to the group itself, which remains the only student group at GULC which receives no school funding, IIRC.) She is crazy-smart and well-spoken and came to law school primarily because of her passion about this specific issue. She was absolutely qualified and the right person to be giving this testimony (i.e. a female student at a university which refuses to provide coverage for contraception, who also knows the issue backwards and forwards.)

Full disclosure: I have had a brief encounter myself with Ms. Fluke, and it was not exactly friendly. (She wrote a letter to our school paper calling out a piece that I had written.) I don't care. She was a perfect witness for this and I wish her and her causes the best.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:11 PM on February 16, 2012 [20 favorites]


Have fun in the 1500s, Virginia.

Except that, ironically enough, standards regarding "when life begins" were arguably more liberal -- or at least more fluid -- in the 16th century than we find with contemporary anti-choicers. The predominant standard back then was that life began around quickening, not at conception.

posted by scody at 6:15 PM on February 16, 2012 [16 favorites]


The working title of the bill was probably something like "The Slut Prevention Act of 2012"

Because that's entirely what this is about, right conservatives? Just come out and fucking say it already.
posted by windbox at 6:17 PM on February 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


DC? Where you'll have no control over your political destiny, as opposed to Virginia, where you at least have the illusion of it? Can I get you to at least consider Maryland?

With all this talk of migration, let's remember that this bill affects the poor who won't be able to leave the state for a procedure, and can't move to a new suburb and simply rearrange their commutes.

It also strikes a blow against Planned Parenthood, who will now find their work much more costly, just at a time when they've been stripped of a major source of funding.
posted by clarknova at 6:18 PM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


The thing is, the overwhelming majority of Americans are pro-choice with regard to the first trimester. And the overwhelming majority of Americans use birth control and favor access to birth control. And the overwhelming majority of Americans realize that Foster Friess deserves a punch in the nose. (Well, at least the overwhelming majority of women do.) And the overwhelming majority of Americans find or will find Rick Santorum to be a raving regressive moral totalitarian lunatic.

I find that I welcome the display of the cultural conservatives badly overplaying their hand. These are the death cries of a political party in deep disarray.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:19 PM on February 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


That mischarcterizes Georgetown's administrations views towards H*yas for Choice and providing contraception. During the 90's they were basically forced to stop funding those groups under direct threat from Rome . Just google it up and the first link lays out the story

Sorry for the derail.
posted by JPD at 6:21 PM on February 16, 2012


I never comment in abortion threads because I am strongly against abortion and look forward to a day when there are no more abortions

With all due respect, the pro-choice/anti-choice is not about whether or not people like abortions. I think most people probably don't like abortions. But it isn't about that, it is about whether or not a woman has a right to choose what happens to her own body. The religious right has been very successful in framing it as a debate on how people feel about abortions rather than how people feel about women's rights and pro-choice people need to stop being drawn into that argument and stop letting the other side define the debate.

This bill also has nothing to do with abortion and how we feel about it, as it may seem at first glance. It has to do with blocking women's rights and shaming women, which is made even more clear from this statement:

What’s more, a provision of the law that has received almost no media attention would ensure that a certification by the doctor that the patient either did or didn’t “avail herself of the opportunity” to view the ultrasound or listen to the fetal heartbeat will go into the woman’s medical record. Whether she wants it there or not.

What the religious right is trying to do to women's rights is all kinds of fucked up.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:21 PM on February 16, 2012 [70 favorites]


I think it's telling that on one-hand they're screaming about the rights of employers, but at the same time they're inserting themselves into the private doctor/patient relationship.
posted by mikelieman at 6:22 PM on February 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


The working title of the bill was probably something like "The Slut Prevention Act of 2012"
I don't think that they have any illusions that this will prevent sluttiness. This act is about punishing perceived sluttiness, not preventing it.
posted by craichead at 6:23 PM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ivan is right. It's telling that the Republicans picked the hot primary season of an election year as the time to go hard right on abortion and contraception access (!?). The party is subject to forces far out of the American political mainstream, and it's going to suffer for it.
posted by mr_roboto at 6:23 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think most people probably don't like abortions.

Let me amplify that. NO-ONE LIKES ABORTIONS. But, it's a medical procedure which is part of woman's healthcare. Anyone who says different is trying to raise funds.
posted by mikelieman at 6:24 PM on February 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


It's ironic that you hear these right-wingers going on and on about how Obamacare is dicatatorial and infringing on their own personal rights. And it's a good thing for these over-reaching GOP'ers trying to turn reproduction rights into their personal teeter-tot that women don't actually vote, or else they'd be looking at a serious case of whoop-ass come the next election cycle.
posted by crunchland at 6:25 PM on February 16, 2012


maxwelton: here is a photo. Caption away!
posted by triggerfinger at 6:26 PM on February 16, 2012


1312, apparently.

In 1312, most abortions were legal, as the "quickening" had not yet occured.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:27 PM on February 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


and their defense for not having women on the panel is that it was made up of religious experts? only men can be experts at religion?
posted by sineater at 6:28 PM on February 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


I find that I welcome the display of the cultural conservatives badly overplaying their hand. These are the death cries of a political party in deep disarray.

Yeah that's true. It used to be that Republicans only had to make right-to-life farting noises during campaigns. They never had to deliver. Keeping the issue open meant they could always dust it off and reuse it come next election. Now they've realised that they have nothing left, so they actually have to pony up.

It's ironic that you hear these right-wingers going on and on about how Obamacare is dicatatorial and infringing on their own personal rights.

It also used to be that republicans had to run against their actual opponents. Now they can create a fantasy opponent and run against him instead. Remember that FantasyObama wants mandatory abortions for your daughter also to kill your grandma.
posted by clarknova at 6:28 PM on February 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


All I can think of is that Get Your War On strip where the woman says something on the order of, "You know what, can I just cut the jokes and ask, why do you hate us so much? Seriously."
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:30 PM on February 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


Thankfully, freedom-loving Ron Paul is pro-choice. Its a matter of individual rights.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:30 PM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


So let's see:

1. Virginia decides to require a more invasive (likely transvaginal) probing in order to get an abortion,

2. The money man behind one of the top GOP presidential candidates says that, basically, women wouldn't need contraceptives if they weren't such sluts,

3. The GOP presidential candidate himself, who now appears to be leading the GOP field nationally, is on record saying that he's thinks contraception is "harmful to women",

3. The House GOP holds hearings on women's contraceptive rights and invites no women to be on the panel, and then tells women the Dems invited that they can't participate because "she's not qualified" or relevant,

4. Virginia is on the verge of acclaiming zygotes as people, meaning even first trimester abortions, presumably, would be tantamount to murder.

Yes, it HAS been a busy day for the GOP!
posted by darkstar at 6:31 PM on February 16, 2012 [21 favorites]


Remember that FantasyObama wants mandatory abortions for your daughter also to kill your grandma.

Based on some of the e-mails I see, to a lot of them, it's the other way around.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:31 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I saw the photographs of the all-male panel earlier.

I just want to ask them one thing: "You don't have a uterus. Why the fuck are you talking?"
posted by cmyk at 6:32 PM on February 16, 2012 [14 favorites]


The point that is being weirdly over-complicated here is that, under this law, some women will be forced by to undergo penetration under the terms imposed by the law, because it will be up to the doctor to determine the appropriate form of ultra-sound and the patient will have no option to refuse.

So does it make it any better that the law only effectively says that some women seeking an abortion will have to undergo forced penetration--which under current law is rape--first?

Does it really make it any better that the Republicans in the Virginia state legislature have passed a law that only mandates rape for some women seeking an abortion?
posted by saulgoodman at 6:32 PM on February 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thankfully, freedom-loving Ron Paul is pro-choice. Its a matter of individual rights.

You are, uh, kidding, right?
posted by odinsdream at 6:33 PM on February 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


So let's see:

1. Virginia decides to require a more invasive (likely transvaginal) probing in order to get an abortion,

2. The money man behind one of the top GOP presidential candidates says that, basically, women wouldn't need contraceptives if they weren't such sluts,

3. The GOP presidential candidate himself, who now appears to be leading the GOP field nationally, is on record saying that he's thinks contraception is "harmful to women",

3. The House GOP holds hearings on women's contraceptive rights and invites no women to be on the panel, and then tells women the Dems invited that they can't participate because "she's not qualified" or relevant,

4. Virginia is on the verge of acclaiming zygotes as people, meaning even first trimester abortions, presumably, would be tantamount to murder.


You forgot: Single women have 18-point swing towards Obama since December.

Obama will win independent women by 35 points mark my words.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:33 PM on February 16, 2012 [24 favorites]


by sheesh.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:34 PM on February 16, 2012


Of course another irony is that Virginia is on the whole a very purple state: both of its Senators are Democrats and it went blue in the last presidential election. Its Republican party has become incredibly radicalized, but the long-term demographic trends, especially the growth and urbanization of the Northern Virginia suburbs, favor the Democrats.

The Republicans are going to hurt themselves here for a long time with this little package of legislative overreaches, but by God they seem determined to do as much damage as possible before the next election - there are plenty of equally batshit bills in the works on many other topics beyond reproductive rights.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 6:35 PM on February 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


I find that I welcome the display of the cultural conservatives badly overplaying their hand. These are the death cries of a political party in deep disarray.

Well you know except for this bill passing and becoming a law along with the 60 other anti-women bills passed around the country in the last year alone.

Seriously, why in god's name to people keep spinning Republicans doing horrible things as them "in disarray?" This is the goddamn scene-where-we-had-to-edit-in-extra-people-from-Eyes-Wide-Shut year of right-wing legislation. Everyone on this site will be dead before ten percent of these nightmares are repealed.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:35 PM on February 16, 2012 [15 favorites]


So am I the only person thinking the GOP is actively trying to lose this election? With all the economic shit on the horizon, I suspect they reckon they're well-placed sitting on the other side of the chamber throwing turds and preventing as much actual governing as possible.
posted by coriolisdave at 6:36 PM on February 16, 2012


I think this upcoming election will be the end of the Republican party.
posted by humanfont at 6:36 PM on February 16, 2012


Thankfully, freedom-loving Ron Paul is pro-choice. Its a matter of individual rights.

You are, uh, kidding, right?


Huh? Are you telling me freedom-loving Ron Paul isn't pro-choice? The next thing you damn liberals are gonna tell me is that he introduced a bill to overrule Lawrence v. Texas the day after it struck down sodomy laws nationwide! I refuse to listen to your reality!
posted by Ironmouth at 6:37 PM on February 16, 2012 [13 favorites]


I think this upcoming election will be the end of the Republican party.

I've heard this before, in 2008, 2006, 1996, and 1992. Sure ain't happened yet.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:38 PM on February 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


So if life really does begin at conception and conservatives really believed that, miscarriage would be second only to heart disease in terms of deaths caused, and would easily outstrip everything else in terms of years-of-life lost. It would beat cancer, stroke, and accidents combined.

Well, except for abortions. Googling around it looks like there are about twice as many abortions as miscarriages yearly. But this is still a really good point - if conservatives were being honest in their principles there ought to be way more agitation and effort at preventing miscarriages by "pro-life" activists, not to mention concern for the lives of children who have actually been born.
posted by XMLicious at 6:38 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Everyone on this site will be dead before ten percent of these nightmares are repealed.

$500 bucks says 70% repealed or struck down in 5 years.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:39 PM on February 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think this upcoming election will be the end of the Republican party.

Only in the sense that they will soon be changing their name to the DoubleDown party.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:39 PM on February 16, 2012


What I like is how Issa said that the reason no women were testifying was because the hearing was about religious freedom and freedom of conscience, not reproductive rights. Because obviously women don't have anything to do with freedom of conscience or religion.

Asshole.
posted by rtha at 6:40 PM on February 16, 2012 [40 favorites]


Ironmouth, you know damn well we only accept $10,000 bets here.
posted by gerryblog at 6:41 PM on February 16, 2012 [14 favorites]


I think this upcoming election will be the end of the Republican party.

I've heard this before, in 2008, 2006, 1996, and 1992. Sure ain't happened yet.



Difference this year? A Negro with a Muslim name is President.

Whig 2.0.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:41 PM on February 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


Ironmouth, you know damn well we only accept $10,000 bets here.

We gotta stop thinking we're always gonna lose. Because its not true. We just gotta out hustle them.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:43 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


A Negro with a Muslim name is President.

Part of me had a frisson of knee-jerk PC-ness when I read that, but it was swiftly overwhelmed my the awe at the fact of it.
posted by darkstar at 6:44 PM on February 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think this upcoming election will be the end of the Republican party.

I've heard this before, in 2008, 2006, 1996, and 1992. Sure ain't happened yet.


The long-term demographic trends really are against them. It's just a question of whether they can burn the whole world down first.
posted by gerryblog at 6:44 PM on February 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't know if you guys know the full details of what the bill, which "...would require a woman to undergo an ultrasound to determine the gestation age of the fetus and be given an opportunity to view the pictures. A woman who refuses to view the ultrasound would have to sign a statement — which would become a part of her medical file — saying she was given the option. The bill also would require the abortion provider to keep a printed copy of the image in the patient’s file." (wapo)
posted by crunchland at 6:44 PM on February 16, 2012


"With all due respect, the pro-choice/anti-choice is not about whether or not people like abortions. I think most people probably don't like abortions. But it isn't about that, it is about whether or not a woman has a right to choose what happens to her own body. The religious right has been very successful in framing it as a debate on how people feel about abortions rather than how people feel about women's rights and pro-choice people need to stop being drawn into that argument and stop letting the other side define the debate."

With all due respect, don't put words in danila's mouth. She clearly means that she opposes abortions.

Furthermore, don't put words in the mouths of pro-choicers like myself. I don't dislike abortions. In fact, I favor abortions and I don't like my position reframed as seeing abortion as a necessary evil or something to be tolerated because a woman's control over her body is paramount.

Also, no, pro-choice people shouldn't avoid the argument about abortion given that, you know, the argument is about abortion. And pro-choice people shouldn't avoid the discussion of whether abortion is right or wrong. Sure, if you aren't certain that it's right, but you know that a woman's control of her body is right (which it is), then it's okay for you to say that the woman's rights are the trump card in the discussion. But not everyone in the pro-choice camp shares that framing. I'm perfectly happy simply and clearly saying that I don't think there's anything wrong with abortion and that I fundamentally disagree with people who think there's something wrong with abortion. I don't see any need to "respect" that view in the sense that it's forbidden to contradict it, just because a lot of people are pro-choice yet find abortion unsettling. I do respect that view in the sense that I think it's intellectually valid. I respect the view that life begins at conception as intellectually valid, but I think it's simply wrong.

What bugs the shit out of me is that both sides of this debate insist that their preferred framing is the only valid way to look at it. Pro-life folk insist that the only consideration is the moral correctness of abortion. Pro-choice folk insist that the only consideration is a woman's right to control her own body. Clearly, either or both considerations are valid given various assumptions. But everyone doesn't share the same assumptions and there's a great deal of variation in the assumptions that people bring to bear on this.

Different people think and feel differently about this and while we can disagree about what is ultimately "true" or "right", it's disrespectful to argue that any given person's, and especially any given woman's, thoughts and feelings about abortion are invalid and unreasonable and that some other set of thoughts and feelings is normative. Part of the point of this horrendous bill—besides just setting up obstacles to abortion—is to appeal to a pregnant woman's emotions and intuitions about what it means to be pregnant. And, yes, a lot of women feel that there's a "life" and a "person" inside of them as soon as they learn they are pregnant, even if they're pro-choice. But, you know, a lot of woman don't feel this way. A lot of women have abortions and neither regret them nor feel a sense of loss nor feel like there was a person who didn't live. The emotion that these pro-lifers are appealing to is something they just assume all women feel and this is part-and-parcel of how this debate plays out on both sides—people bring their own experiences and intuitions and assumptions to bear on this and normalize that for everyone else. And I wish people would just freaking stop doing that.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:45 PM on February 16, 2012 [40 favorites]


$500 bucks says 70% repealed or struck down in 5 years.

In 5 years that $500 will be worthless as we will be a postapocalyptic totalitarian theocracy relying solely on the barter system.
posted by elizardbits at 6:46 PM on February 16, 2012 [17 favorites]


I got first dibs the Thunderdome.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:47 PM on February 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


A Negro with a Muslim name is President.

Part of me had a frisson of knee-jerk PC-ness when I read that, but it was swiftly overwhelmed my the awe at the fact of it.


I got that term one day when a black guy got into an elevator with me one day with a T-shirt that said "Uppity Negro." As I got out I said "love your shirt!" He gave me a big smile--Late '90s DC, it was.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:47 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


If this gets passed, I'll gladly contribute to a fund that helps Virginia women get abortions out of state.
posted by Currer Belfry at 6:48 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


A Negro with a Muslim name is President.

If Obama can be called black, he can also be called white.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:48 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]



I think this upcoming election will be the end of the Republican party.

I've heard this before, in 2008, 2006, 1996, and 1992. Sure ain't happened yet.

Difference this year? A Negro with a Muslim name is President.



The Republican Party will end when finance and commerce stop needing hatchet men, which will be never.

That said, the Republicans aren't looking like their guys this year. In a Romney v. Obama race, the issue will be finance reform and economic justice. Newt's already let the cat out of the bag so it'll end up being very ugly for Wall Street.

However, in a Santorum v. Obama race the issue will be sexual rights, which will keep finance back in the shadows where it prefers to be. That'll be a handy victory for Obama who gives banking what it wants anyway.

Looks like I'm taking back what I said.
posted by clarknova at 6:48 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay, I feel like an idiot because I just now got what the game is here.

The GOP isn't going to get a Protestant candidate this time around. For the first time ever, depending on how you classify Quakers. It's going to be a Mormon or a Catholic. And Catholics have never been in their base in the same way that Protestants are. Moreover, a lot of evangelical congregations believe that Catholics aren't "true" Christians anyway (with some I've seen going as far as to paint the Pope as the Antichrist.)

This is about forging an alliance between the Christian right and the Catholic church, both in the hopes of bringing out Catholics for the GOP but perhaps more importantly bringing the protestant Christian base out for a potentially Catholic candidate.
posted by Navelgazer at 6:50 PM on February 16, 2012 [13 favorites]


I will take that bet in exchange for a healthy nanny goat, some toilet paper, and a case of tampax, though.
posted by elizardbits at 6:50 PM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the whole "but my ultrasound wasn't transvaginal" is a red herring.

The bloody thing is linked in the Slate article.

relevant quote:

"… only an invasive transvaginal probe ultrasound can effectively determine gestation age during much of the first trimester, which is when most abortions occur. Englin offered an amendment to require the pregnant woman’s consent prior to subjecting her to a vaginal penetration ultrasound, but House Republicans rejected the amendment by a vote of 64 to 34."

"This bill will require many women in Virginia to undergo vaginal penetration with an ultrasound probe against their consent in order to exercise their constitutional right to an abortion, even for nonsurgical, noninvasive, pharmaceutical abortions. This kind of government intrusion shocks the conscience and demonstrates the disturbing lengths Republican legislators will go to prevent women from controlling their own reproductive destiny.

I offered an amendment that would have protected women from the unwanted vaginal penetration required by this bill. House Republicans rejected that amendment. "

ENOUGH misdirection.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:50 PM on February 16, 2012 [13 favorites]


If Obama can be called black, he can also be called white.

I guess you've never heard of the One Drop Rule.
posted by clarknova at 6:50 PM on February 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


According to the CDC, nine out of ten abortions in the U.S. occur in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The text of the bill mandates that "every pregnant female shall undergo ultrasound imaging and be given an opportunity to view the ultrasound image of her fetus prior to the abortion."

You know what you can see via transabdominal ultrasound in the first seven weeks? Nothing. Via transvaginal ultrasound? Not a fetus. Not an embryo. Not even a zygote. You "may" be able to see a black spot that indicates the gestational sac and/or yolk sac.

Technically, it's not possible to see a fetus, as would be specified by the law, using ANY method, until the 9th week after fertilization.

So maybe the plan is to let anyone who wants the morning after pill, for example, to wait another couple months until a fetus is visible, so they can be compliant with the law?

It's such utter utter bullshit.
posted by argonauta at 6:51 PM on February 16, 2012 [32 favorites]


A Negro with a Muslim name is President.

If Obama can be called black, he can also be called white.


These are people who believe in the 1\16th rule.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:53 PM on February 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


With all due respect, the pro-choice/anti-choice is not about whether or not people like abortions. I think most people probably don't like abortions. But it isn't about that, it is about whether or not a woman has a right to choose what happens to her own body

I know that. I guess I should have said I don't participate in those discussions because I am against abortion and I am not pro-choice. I hate abortion. I don't think it's icky or unpleasant, I think it's murder. I'm not against abortion because I want to restrict women or punish people. Unfortunately I think most pro-life groups are in it for those reasons and this is just another example.

These ideas and laws are always devoid of compassion. These legislators are not really trying to stop abortion. They're trying to solidify power for themselves.

Even if this law stopped a single abortion, even as someone who strongly believes that means a child won't be killed, I don't see how someone who is truly pro-life could say "We saved the child's life by raping her mother". Even if I believed they genuinely wanted to save lives - THIS is how they are saving them?? What worth is life if it is gained at such a price?
posted by Danila at 6:53 PM on February 16, 2012 [12 favorites]


The Republican Party will end when finance and commerce stop needing hatchet men, which will be never.

Why do they need the GOP when they have the Democrats?

(Or does the illusion of two parties provide necessary cover?)
posted by mrgrimm at 6:55 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


If this gets passed, I'll gladly contribute to a fund that helps Virginia women get abortions out of state.

It was passed this week, hence the article.
posted by sophist at 6:55 PM on February 16, 2012


If this gets passed, I'll gladly contribute to a fund that helps Virginia women get abortions out of state.

The organizations in the National Network of Abortion Funds aren't specifically about crossing state lines, but in general they collect money to help women who need abortions and can't afford them on their own. It looks like they've got several member organizations that operate in Virginia.
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:55 PM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


However, in a Santorum v. Obama race the issue will be sexual rights, which will keep finance back in the shadows where it prefers to be. That'll be a handy victory for Obama who gives banking what it wants anyway.

Other than the CSPC and raising capital gains and tax rates over $250,000 a year, which is huge.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:56 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not about worth of life at all. It's more slut-shaming, more oppression, more making sure women know their place. You want an abortion, you dirty whore, the GOP is going to literally rape you and you deserve it. That's what this is about.

It has nothing to do with life. They don't give a flying fuck about life. It has everything to do with control, with shame, with violence.
posted by cmyk at 6:56 PM on February 16, 2012 [22 favorites]


I'm not against abortion because I want to restrict women or punish people. Unfortunately I think most pro-life groups are in it for those reasons and this is just another example.

Honestly, I don't think so. I think most people are like you. They think abortion is "wrong" and that women should not be allowed to terminate pregnancy for any reason at any time.

Unfortunately, you are dead wrong and you are the problem.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:56 PM on February 16, 2012 [21 favorites]


Danila, serious question: What about the vast number of fertilized eggs that don't implant and are flushed out upon the next period? A tragedy? A (Stalinesque) statistic?
posted by notsnot at 6:57 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Republican Party will end when finance and commerce stop needing hatchet men, which will be never.

Why do they need the GOP when they have the Democrats?

(Or does the illusion of two parties provide necessary cover?)


This requires knee-jerk belief that the financial reform bill didn't pass and wasn't signed by the president.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:58 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I guess you've never heard of the One Drop Rule.

No I haven't, and as the parent of two kids who might, by certain unenlightened people, be called "mixed-race" (actually, a surprising number of folks tend to use that term, although I haven't encountered it in Canada), this is something I get irritated about a lot.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:58 PM on February 16, 2012


Yes, the republicans are destroying themselves. Which actually proves that all that nonsense about needing to compromise with them and do whatever they said or else Sarah Palin/Rick Perry/Herman Cain/Newt Gingrich/Rick Santorum would win for sure was completely incorrect.
We gotta stop thinking we're always gonna lose. Because its not true. We just gotta out hustle them.
...
Obama will win independent women by 35 points mark my words.
-- Ironmouth
Hmm... what happened to all your stats about how 90% of the population is conservative, 5% is 'liberal' so democrats have to adopt conservative positions ore they will definitely lose for sure and Sarah Palin will be president?

What? You mean reality doesn't actually work that way? SHOCKING.
This is about forging an alliance between the Christian right and the Catholic church, both in the hopes of bringing out Catholics for the GOP but perhaps more importantly bringing the protestant Christian base out for a potentially Catholic candidate.
The only "game" here is that they are idiots who have been sucked into their own echo chamber, and have no idea what most people actually think.

It's completely amazing how stupid these people are. The economy is a drag and people think the republicans have been deliberately sabotaging it. What are the republicans spending their time talking about? Abortion and contraception. It's breathtakingly stupid and self destructive.

Which is a good thing, of course. The republicans are terrible. But here's the thing -- since the republicans are always terrible, why are people falling all over themselves to 'cooperate' with them and 'work' with them and defend democrats when they capitulate to them?

Cooperating with the self-destructive GOP means cooperating in the self-destruction of the United States
posted by delmoi at 6:59 PM on February 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


Danila, serious question: What about the vast number of fertilized eggs that don't implant and are flushed out upon the next period? A tragedy? A (Stalinesque) statistic?

How about all of the in vitro fertilized eggs that are discarded?
posted by Ironmouth at 6:59 PM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I hate abortion. I don't think it's icky or unpleasant, I think it's murder.

So honest question - if you believe it to be murder, do you believe that women who have abortions should be locked up for life? If not, why?
posted by windbox at 7:00 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


How about we not do the "everybody interrogates the one person in the thread who respectfully states a minority opinion on MeFi" thing?
posted by Gator at 7:01 PM on February 16, 2012 [78 favorites]


Even if this law stopped a single abortion, even as someone who strongly believes that means a child won't be killed, I don't see how someone who is truly pro-life could say "We saved the child's life by raping her mother". Even if I believed they genuinely wanted to save lives - THIS is how they are saving them?? What worth is life if it is gained at such a price?

We're on opposite sides of the abortion rights issue (as, uh, my last comment probably made clear), but I still want to say thanks for speaking up. First off, I suspect you're in for some nasty ad-hominem replies here in a minute, and I'd kind of like to do a little to balance that out, since tarring and feathering right-wingers who speak their minds doesn't really do anything to improve the world or the site. But also, I think you've hit the nail on the head on this particular issue — whether or not abortion is murder, "Let's go rape us some murderers" doesn't make the least bit of sense as a government policy.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:01 PM on February 16, 2012 [21 favorites]


Also, yes, what Gator said.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:02 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


What Gator said. I don't share Danila's position, but I respect the way she has stated it while also contributing to an on-topic discussion.
posted by maudlin at 7:03 PM on February 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


Paging jessamyn
posted by KokuRyu at 7:05 PM on February 16, 2012


This requires knee-jerk belief that the financial reform bill didn't pass and wasn't signed by the president.
The fact that a bill was passed that was called "the financial reform bill" does not mean finance was reformed by a meaningful amount. The destruction of glass-steagall in the 90s was also an example of "financial reform"

Seriously the idea that the a problem is mentioned title of a bill means the problem is resolved is so absurd it's impossible to think anyone could seriously believe it had they given it a couple seconds of thought. It's nothing more then a 'knee jerk' desire to defend politicians they like.
posted by delmoi at 7:05 PM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also chiming in to thank Danilla for being willing to state a minority opinion here.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:06 PM on February 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


This requires knee-jerk belief that the financial reform bill didn't pass and wasn't signed by the president.

This requires the knee-jerk belief that regulatory capture doesn't exist, and that the president's top campaign contributor wasn't Goldman Sachs.
posted by clarknova at 7:07 PM on February 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


Paging jessamyn

Hi, sorry I was in the bathroom. Please

- Quit the interrogation thing.
- Realize that if you drop fairly controversial opinions into the thread without remaining around to discuss them that is considered somewhat trollish and this reduces the liklihood that people will want to have discussions with you in the future. Nothing wrong with contrary opinions, just hang out to talk.
- Shut up about Hitler, please.

Feel free to follow up in MetaTalk after this please for off-topic discussions about policy or site etiquette or individual users. Thank you.
posted by jessamyn at 7:10 PM on February 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hmm... what happened to all your stats about how 90% of the population is conservative, 5% is 'liberal' so democrats have to adopt conservative positions ore they will definitely lose for sure and Sarah Palin will be president?

What? You mean reality doesn't actually work that way? SHOCKING.
This is about forging an alliance between the Christian right and the Catholic church, both in the hopes of bringing out Catholics for the GOP but perhaps more importantly bringing the protestant Christian base out for a potentially Catholic candidate.
The only "game" here is that they are idiots who have been sucked into their own echo chamber, and have no idea what most people actually think.

It's completely amazing how stupid these people are. The economy is a drag and people think the republicans have been deliberately sabotaging it. What are the republicans spending their time talking about? Abortion and contraception. It's breathtakingly stupid and self destructive.


Don't straw man me. The proprtions are like 22% or so liberal, 40% conservative and the rest moderate. You can run from 30 years of polling, but you cannot hide.

As for the GOP hitting on contraception, this is the last 2 weeks, dude. The country knows that they've been obstructing for a long time. Note also that Obama's only reacting to their shit.

More importantly, the only reason they are turning to this is that they are already beat on the economy.

Not only that but whoever has the brilliant plan of splitting the coalition now is only helping the GOP, period.

Finally, my only point has always been, if the votes are there, move it. But if the votes aren't there there's no point in weakening the people on our side.

The amazing thing is the belief that a magic wand was just going to be waved and suddenly the number of votes a proposal got was unimportant.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:10 PM on February 16, 2012


- Shut up about Hitler, please.

Sorry! I was going for a hilarious "interrogate the person who says we shouldn't interrogate the one person in the thread who respectfully states a minority opinion on MeFi" thing. Apparent joke misfire. Will repent.

posted by gerryblog at 7:13 PM on February 16, 2012


The GOP's now starkly on the losing side of nearly every one of their key issues and are only entrenching further. What was that quote by Danny DeVito's character in Other People's Money? Something like "the best way to go broke is to have an increasing market share of a dying industry".

I feel like the GOP is doing their best to corner the market on a kind of extremism that's swiftly going out of style.
posted by darkstar at 7:14 PM on February 16, 2012


St. Alia of the Bunnies: "I had an ultrasound that early and it was NOT transvaginal. Have things changed that much in the last few decades?"

In two of my pregnancies, I had transvaginal ultrasounds later than 12 weeks. I've also had one transvaginal ultrasound outside of pregnancy (to check on fibroids). Honestly? I'd rather deal with a speculum every week than have another one of those again. They were not pleasant, and I was consenting.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 7:15 PM on February 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


It has everything to do with control, with shame, with violence.

I'd add to that list that it's an alarmingly effective tactic to rally voters to demand the elimination of social services as part of a fight against Big Government... because if you can get people behind that, it means minimizing/eliminating governmental "interference" in profit-seeking corporate behavior, including environmental regulations, anti-trust regulations, unions, taxes, you name it. It sure seems like that's a big part of why people like the Koch Brothers are such cozy bedfellows with the religious right, anyway. When you get people to vote for the kinds of candidates that support these kinds of laws, you get what you REALLY want when it comes to the much, much bigger-ticket items.
posted by argonauta at 7:16 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fertilized eggs expelled via menstruation are miscarriages. I don't like in-vitro fertilization either. But...me being against something doesn't mean I think the political/legal process will fix it. I don't!

I do not call myself pro-life as that is more of a political position that I really do not support.


They think abortion is "wrong" and that women should not be allowed to terminate pregnancy for any reason at any time.


First of all, most people don't believe that. I don't think America is really that anti-abortion. What I do think is many people are "anti-slut" and misogynistic, thus this law is passed even though it's not about saving lives. They just can't put themselves in the shoes of these women. They can't see themselves lying on that table waiting for that stupid wand, squirming, crying, hurting and wanting to be anywhere but there.

In addition, I don't support anti-abortion laws because I think all of them are flawed in ways similar to this one. They rectify one injustice by perpetrating others. Abortions were outlawed in the past but things were not better for women and children. Life was not more highly valued in the past. No, getting rid of abortion and any other devaluation of life requires a fundamental sea change in human behavior that will not be accomplished through these corrupt legal systems. At least, that's what I believe and with every passing year the increasing extremism of anti-abortion legislation bears out my belief.

For those who keep asking me questions about what should happen legally (should women be locked up), again, I am very cynical about the legal system in general. If abortion were outlawed tomorrow I do think many women would be discouraged from having them and children would live. But again, I think it would be balanced out by horrible consequences for women and families. This would temper any happiness I could feel over it. It would trade evil for evil. I wait for something better.

No one in this thread is going to convince me to change my mind about abortion. Having spent a lot of time around feminism and considering myself a feminist, I am very acquainted with pro-choice arguments and I have respect for people who are concerned with the freedom of women. I don't think women's freedom should be bought at the cost of children's lives BUT I also don't think lives should be bought at the price of freedom. I cannot respect pro-life organizations because they refuse to address these realities.
posted by Danila at 7:18 PM on February 16, 2012 [26 favorites]


Seriously the idea that the a problem is mentioned title of a bill means the problem is resolved is so absurd it's impossible to think anyone could seriously believe it had they given it a couple seconds of thought. It's nothing more then a 'knee jerk' desire to defend politicians they like.

Really? The idea that the gigantic problem of all capitalism could be solved in a single bill is laughable! Your position requires a fantasy belief, that somehow the President cabn wave a wand and our biggest problems could have been solved in a heartbeat.

Throwing around terms like "regulatory capture" is all well and good, but where's the magic bullet the President refused to shoot? Where's the magic formula thay paralyzes all opposition by the regulated? Most importantly, where are the votes for the magic solution? The Voting Rights Act of 1965 did not solve the problem of discrimination in voting--yet we are to toss it aside because it was not perfect? Social Security? The Civil Rights Act? All imperfect bills. Yet they are to be tossed aside due to their lack of perfection?

Give me someone actually moving the ball forward to these people who reject everything but the perfect, especially in this very human Republic.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:18 PM on February 16, 2012


...in this, the best of all possible worlds.
posted by gerryblog at 7:19 PM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Astute analysis, Navelgazer. I think you're very likely correct.

"I hate abortion. I don't think it's icky or unpleasant, I think it's murder. I'm not against abortion because I want to restrict women or punish people. Unfortunately I think most pro-life groups are in it for those reasons and this is just another example."

Good for you for recognizing this. I think that the status of the fetus is a completely valid question. Indeed, I think it's a vitally important question. I happen to have reached the opposite and extreme conclusion that you've reached, but we agree on the importance of the issue.

And for that reason, for a long time I gave the benefit of the doubt to pro-lifers. In a way, I still do. I mean, let me put it this way: if you really do think that abortion is murder, don't you feel a moral obligation to take even extreme steps to prevent it? I would. I absolutely disagree with the assumptions that underpin the comparison of abortion to genocide; but, if I agreed with them, well...I'd be planting bombs. I recognize that other people are more dedicated to the rule of law and non-violence than I am, even in the face of genocide; but I feel pretty certain that if I believed that genocide was being conducted in my society, and on the scale that pro-lifers believe it is, I'd be violently opposing it. And so, in a way, I'm weirdly sympathetic to clinic bombers.

Except...the vast majority of my decades of experience with pro-lifers has led me, not entirely willingly, to the conclusion that what you wrote is completely correct. For the vast majority of pro-lifers, it really isn't about the status of the fetus. It is a little bit. I don't doubt that there's a certain amount of sincerity there. But there's such a huge amount of evidence indicating that it's about the patriarchy, about regressive attitudes about women's rights and sexuality and other connected things. It's about the culture war, mostly. Because if it weren't, then there'd be the same opposition to fertility clinics as abortion clinics, and there'd be similar violence and protesting against fertility clinics, and there'd be, as 0xFCAF points out, far more support for research and intervention to prevent miscarriages which are, by the same assumptions, deaths of babies.

And you can't simply argue that there's an intuition thing going on here, that miscarriages are "acts of nature" and therefore tolerated because, well, modern pro-life arguments are far, far from being models of intuitive and commonsensical reasoning. They are highly abstract arguments that go against the majority of thinking about this through human history, as scody has pointed out in this thread. If you're willing to bring abstract and technical arguments to bear on abortion that go against common historical thought on the matter, then why in the world wouldn't you do the same with regard to miscarriages?

There is so much incoherence in the positions that the pro-life movement and its activists take that indicate that it's just not truly what it claims to be about. Again, I don't doubt that it's partly about that. But it's partly about that in the same sense that "men's rights" is partly about how men are treated in custody cases—that is to say, it's a valid concern/grievance that has been leveraged into an organized movement that is using this as a convenient cover and source of resentment to further viewpoints and goals that are simply and deeply misogynist. One need only look at what outspoken men's rights advocates actually say, if you can stomach the misogyny, to see this. And you don't have to read or listen to much of the rhetoric of the leaders of the pro-life movement to see that it's also at least as much anti-woman as it truly is any concern for the assumed life in question.

Which is, really, a tragedy. If you truly believe, as you do, danila, that a fetus is a human life, then the hijacking of your belief as a facade behind which to pursue patriarchal policies is both disrespectful and disenfranchsing of you, and disrespectful of the issues involved, and, most importantly, inherently discrediting of your belief and thus implicitly a roundabout way to perpetuate the injustice—even if that's not the intended purpose (though I don't doubt that there are numerous pro-lifers who prefer that abortion remains legal so that their facade for patriarchal agitation will continue intact) . And even if one doesn't believe that a fetus is a life, as I do not, then it's still a tragedy in terms of a distortion of the civil discourse, and how it implicitly discredits an opposing view that deserves some respect, even when many of us think it's misguided. That the anti-abortion movement was entirely hijacked by regressive sexists (whether male or female) is, in its way, a sad state of affairs for those who are sincerely and deeply opposed to abortion.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:25 PM on February 16, 2012 [19 favorites]


Thankfully, freedom-loving Ron Paul is pro-choice. Its a matter of individual rights.

He is pro-life because he believes in rights for the fetus too, it is a matter of individual rights for him and professional experience. That's a valid point of view.

Personally I am really, really sympathetic to what Danilla is saying. I don't personally consider abortion murder or a fetus as a person, but I do see it as a form of life in a unique situation that commands our respect. In the end, I also believe in pragmatic public policy and believe prohibition doesn't work and only generates greater harm and more ridiculous and invasive laws. The bill we are talking about is clear evidence of this.

What about the vast number of fertilized eggs that don't implant and are flushed out upon the next period? A tragedy? A (Stalinesque) statistic?

Nature kills everything sooner or later. God is a dick. This is why I try my best to take a nuanced view of all this and not see the question as person or not. Fertilized eggs should not be regarded as a fetus which should not be regarded as a baby and we should not treat them as the same things.

financial reform and Obama and such

Come on, this isn't the thread for this shit.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:33 PM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


So between this and Fox New anchor Liz Trotta's absolutely horrifying commentary on why women shouldn't be allowed in the military, I'm pretty sure that the Republicans have declared February to be National War on Women Month.
posted by JDHarper at 7:34 PM on February 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


Yes, it HAS been a busy day for the GOP!

The funniest thing is before this whole big storm happened, a few weeks ago at a debate Romney received some question about contraception. He was utterly shocked he was being asked. He acted like it was the most irrelevant and stupid thing he had ever heard and nobody in the GOP audience wanted to hear his opinion on it.

Come on dude, how long have you been running for President as a Republican now? You don't know how much they care about this? You don't know how much independent women care about this? Dude has the political instincts of a dodo bird.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:36 PM on February 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Ah yes, and don't forget Santorums comment earlier this week that women shouldn't be in expanded front-line roles because of the "emotions" that arise.

Of course, when he was called out on this, he blamed the comment on his wife whom he said authored that section of his book (though she's never been given credit as a co-author, but hey, par for the course).
posted by darkstar at 7:37 PM on February 16, 2012


I would like to suggest penile catheterization be required for all male representatives in Virginia before they be allowed to vote.
posted by Fnarf at 7:38 PM on February 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


If you truly believe, as you do, danila, that a fetus is a human life, then the hijacking of your belief as a facade behind which to pursue patriarchal policies is both disrespectful and disenfranchsing of you, and disrespectful of the issues involved, and, most importantly, inherently discrediting of your belief and thus implicitly a roundabout way to perpetuate the injustice

Yes I agree with this. It's disgusting and honestly was at one time very disheartening for someone who believes as I do. It is a reminder to always look beneath the surface. There is a meanness to these activist groups that thoroughly belies any notion that they truly value life.

I don't want to talk about my being anti-abortion in this thread anymore because I think any debate about abortion is a derail. I am 100% sincere in my statement that I don't think this legislation is truly about preventing a single abortion, and even if it did it wouldn't be worth it. This is just a massive dehumanization of women. I was moved to comment after seeing St. Alia's post. She and I have a lot of similar beliefs and she has helped me through a difficult time in my life. I am very sympathetic to her. But the deflective sentiment "how many will really be transvaginal" is way off point. That's a politically-oriented deflection. And I'm sick of the politics because they hide this ugliness. This isn't about whose team you are on.
posted by Danila at 7:38 PM on February 16, 2012 [33 favorites]


Santorum actually pointed out the emotion of the men was the problem, so the logical solution is only allowing women on the front lines.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:38 PM on February 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Danila, thanks for your participation in this thread. I appreciate you being willing to comment on your positions in a respectful way. I am interested, though, in why you chose to use the term "murder" while at the same time distancing yourself from other legal terms, such as those that would immediately follow from a finding that murder was committed.

That is, I think it's an honest position to say "I believe a fetus is a life, and that life is ended by abortion, but I don't think women should be jailed for such acts"

I don't think it's honest to say "I believe a fetus is a life, and that abortion is murder, but something something I don't trust the legal system..." when someone asks you if women should be jailed for murder.

It simply seems convenient that you're availing yourself of the term "murder" which has, of course, very serious legal consequences, without actually following through with what that would mean in practice.
posted by odinsdream at 7:39 PM on February 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


The GOP isn't going to get a Protestant candidate this time around. For the first time ever, depending on how you classify Quakers. It's going to be a Mormon or a Catholic.

There's still a Baptist in the race! He may have won Maine!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:40 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure that the Republicans have declared February to be National War on Women Month.
As opposed to every other month?

Here's the thing that I don't get about the contraception thing. Pretty much by definition, women who need birth control are women who are having sex with men. Women who are having sex with other women don't need to worry about getting pregnant. And presumably, the men involved don't want to have unplanned pregnancies either. Do they think that birth control is just a women's issue? Because I don't think it is. And even though old people vote in disproportionate numbers, I don't think you can win an election if you piss off literally every sexually active person of childbearing age.
posted by craichead at 7:42 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


odinsdream I will memail you because this seems more like a general abortion debate and that's the last thing I wanted to start. I don't want to derail nor do I want my comments to make people (particularly women who have had abortions) uncomfortable with participating here.
posted by Danila at 7:42 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Santorum actually pointed out the emotion of the men was the problem, so the logical solution is only allowing women on the front lines.
No, it's even simpler then that. The solution is to stop going to war.
posted by delmoi at 7:43 PM on February 16, 2012 [12 favorites]


If abortion were outlawed tomorrow I do think many women would be discouraged from having them and children would live.

Actually, that's not what happens. Countries with extremely restrictive abortion laws still see about the same abortion rates as countries where it's legal. More women generally die, though, from unsafe abortions.

but I do see it as a form of life in a unique situation that commands our respect.


What I always wonder is, how come it's supposed to command *more* respect than the life of the woman?
posted by rtha at 7:44 PM on February 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


I want to thank you too, Danila. I really appreciate what you're saying here, and am glad to see that we can be on opposite sides of the question of abortion and still clearly have this common ground. It sounds like you're not active politically around this politically, but I hope if you are (or even if you are just in touch with friends/family informally, via email or Facebook or whatever) that you'll consider saying to more people what you've said so powerfully here about this bill. I think your point of view really matters and urgently needs to be heard.
posted by scody at 7:45 PM on February 16, 2012 [20 favorites]


No, it's even simpler then that. The solution is to stop going to war.

"You may be through with politics, but politics isn't through with you."
posted by clarknova at 7:45 PM on February 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


sorry about repeating myself repetitively there.
posted by scody at 7:47 PM on February 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


No, it's even simpler then that. The solution is to stop going to war.

Well that just about solves that then!
posted by joe lisboa at 7:50 PM on February 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


What I always wonder is, how come it's supposed to command *more* respect than the life of the woman?

It generally isn't supposed to. Even the Santorum family admitted they would do the abortion if it came down to it after the close call they had.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:50 PM on February 16, 2012


And the overwhelming majority of Americans realize that Foster Friess deserves a punch in the nose. (Well, at least the overwhelming majority of women do.) And the overwhelming majority of Americans find or will find Rick Santorum to be a raving regressive moral totalitarian lunatic.

What are Republicans thinking? The continuing obsession with limiting contraceptive access shows how out of touch GOP politicians are
posted by homunculus at 7:52 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really think we need to make abortions totally and completely illegal so that poor women who become pregnant will wind up dead or infertile as the result of botched back-alley abortions if they try to do anything to not-be-pregnant. I think that's a great idea. Making abortion illegal will punish these women (for being poor sluts) and keep them in their place. Plus also, any woman who becomes pregnant and doesn't want to bear the precious life inside her to term needs to be permanently removed from the gene pool so that her anti-baby ways don't infect the other broodmares. Christ, the next thing you know, they'll want to vote.

To prove our resolve on this course of action, we will also pursue criminal charges (for murder, natch) against any women who seeks proper medical attention to resolve the bleeding-to-death-from-a-punctured-uterus problem before she actually bleeds out. Do the crime, do the time. Same for any infection that results or *could have resulted* from a botched abortion procedure. This is NO TIME for half measures. Babies are dying! We Must Act!

My daughter, of course, is different. I am flying fly her out of the country for an abortion. Abortion is only wrong for OTHER PEOPLE'S daughters. My daughter is different. Special. More deserving. Richer. It's not the same for her, you're comparing apples to oranges. My daughter is going to go to Harvard, like her mom and I did. She's going to have a career and a good husband and loving children... when she's ready for them. She's only sixteen. She deserves better than being a teenaged mom. She has plans and hopes and dreams. A baby now would ruin all of that. My daughter is a good girl, not like all those other women.

*sigh*

Conservative politicians, I do not even know who you are anymore. I wonder how on earth I ever voted for any of you.
posted by which_chick at 7:53 PM on February 16, 2012 [21 favorites]


which_chick: my only critique is that these days, no self-respecting conservative would willingly cop to going to that elitist hellhole known as Harvard. (I keep expecting Romney to start claiming that he actually went to a place called Harvard County Community College in downstate Illinois or something.)
posted by scody at 8:02 PM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


which_chick, I think this is the article you are looking for.

I wonder how these politicians voted on, say, abstinence-only education, or the State providing contraception, or increased support for infants and children in the form of subsidized food, healthcare and other necessities?

Actually, I don't really wonder.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:03 PM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, Virginia. Four hundred years of history uninterrupted by progress.

And I say this as someone who grew up in the Tidewater area and was educated at one of its top-tier state colleges.
posted by sobell at 8:04 PM on February 16, 2012


Pretty much by definition, women who need birth control are women who are having sex with men.

I completely agree with your larger point, but I want to point out that actually some 1.5 million American women use the pill for exclusively noncontraceptive purposes. I wonder if Rep. Issa and co. have thought about that. Probably not.
posted by naoko at 8:05 PM on February 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


No, wait, this isn't oppression, its enlightenment! Remember The Agony of St. What's-Her-Face...

No, wait, that was a spear, not an ultrasound probe. Carry on.
posted by Slackermagee at 8:06 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


1.5 million American women use the pill for exclusively noncontraceptive purposes.

Oh, sure. To control their lady cramps. Women, like teh gays and immigrants and Muslims, just want special rights! Well, this is America, and they're not going to get any!
posted by scody at 8:09 PM on February 16, 2012


gerryblog writes "Ironmouth, you know damn well we only accept $10,000 bets here."

I thought the minimum buy in was right hands.
posted by Mitheral at 8:10 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Terrible bill, but it's unconstitutional and it will get thrown out.

But this is the kind of shit you get when you don't vote for Democrats, since there's no difference between the parties, right?
posted by empath at 8:20 PM on February 16, 2012 [12 favorites]


Danila: “odinsdream I will memail you because this seems more like a general abortion debate and that's the last thing I wanted to start. I don't want to derail nor do I want my comments to make people (particularly women who have had abortions) uncomfortable with participating here.”

Danila – you can view this comment as an aside, I guess, but I really want to say: thank you for your rational, thoughtful, and humane comments here. I don't agree with you on everything – or rather, I'm not really sure – but I do know that the world needs more people who see these laws for what they are. And I'm very, very glad that even one person on the other side of the aisle has an understanding of all that's at stake here; I know intellectually that that must be true, but meeting one like you is very gratifying. Bravo.
posted by koeselitz at 8:21 PM on February 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


Terrible bill, but it's unconstitutional and it will get thrown out.

Yeah, but how many women will be victimized until then?
posted by KokuRyu at 8:24 PM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


My guess is 'none', because a federal court will put a stay on it before it goes into effect.
posted by empath at 8:28 PM on February 16, 2012


I thought this was telling.

GOP congresscritters righteously fulminating against Obama's contraception coverage provision as a gross attack on religious freedom. But when asked whether they could support a GOP presidential candidate who championed a similar provision -- *coughRomneycough* -- they hemmed and hawed and couldn't bring themselves to say.
posted by darkstar at 8:31 PM on February 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Dahlia Lithwick is an idiot. It's obviously not rape under Virginia state law, because object sexual penetration is a separate crime.
posted by planet at 8:38 PM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


[Please take MeMailable stuff to MeMail, thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:39 PM on February 16, 2012


but I do see it as a form of life in a unique situation that commands our respect.

What I always wonder is, how come it's supposed to command *more* respect than the life of the woman?


Amazing how a blob of cells called a fetus can command *more* respect, care, and concern than a living child does. I'll just BET all the anti-abortionists hate it when women are on the WIC program or on social services with their children. They're not just sluts, but lazy sluts. There are children going hungry in this country because they're too busy supporting stupid neocons who want to control women rather than supporting a politician who would help women and children get out of a vicious circle of poverty, or to assist women from getting pregnant and falling into that circle to begin with.

Anyone who thinks abortion is murder, then fine, help provide every female of the age of conception with birth control. That means starting at age TEN, if necessary. Put condoms in the entryway of every public building in America, especially high schools.

Open statement to any Republican--actually ANYONE--who thinks they ought to have a say in MY reproductive life. Get the fuck out of my uterus!
posted by BlueHorse at 8:45 PM on February 16, 2012 [14 favorites]


Not having read the actual Virginia bill - do you have to get a GOOD ultrasound, or just "an" ultrasound? Can they just wave a wand over your abdomen, show you whatever picture comes up, and say "thanks for coming in for your ultrasound!"
posted by ctmf at 8:50 PM on February 16, 2012


ctmf: See the beginning part of the thread. They have to determine gestational age, which would require a "good" ultrasound.
posted by gerryblog at 8:54 PM on February 16, 2012


It's obviously not rape under Virginia state law, because object sexual penetration is a separate crime.

Then Virginia law is out of step with new FBI guidelines, which define rape as "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."
posted by scody at 8:58 PM on February 16, 2012 [11 favorites]


Any lawyers wanna tell us what to do if your state is legally requiring you to break federal law in your medical practice?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:03 PM on February 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Anyone who thinks abortion is murder, then fine, help provide every female of the age of conception with birth control.

Oh, not so fast. They're coming for the birth control, too. The Personhood bill is up next and hormonal contraceptives (The Pill), IUDs... they'd all be out. And probably treatment for ectopic pregnancies, too. And all IVF.

The rhythm method should be A-OK, though. And anal intercourse, one would presume. And of course the Bayer-aspirin-held-between-the-knees procedure.
posted by argonauta at 9:05 PM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Then Virginia law is out of step with new FBI guidelines, which define rape as "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."
That's a weird way to look at it, since she specifically said "state law". Anyway, you linked to a press release regarding guidelines for crime reporting--not a uniform criminal code.
posted by planet at 9:05 PM on February 16, 2012


(or is that just a definition for statistics purposes and there is no federal law that would apply)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:06 PM on February 16, 2012


Well, to apply the reporting rules consistently, they should have to count incidents of the application of this law that result in a forced intravaginal ultrasound as rape at the Federal level. It is definitely penetration without consent, and under the new reporting guidelines, that makes it rape.

This is also now the law in Florida (though that doesn't seem to have gotten as much attention somehow), so they'll have to count all those cases as rape too to be faithfully observant of the new rules.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:16 PM on February 16, 2012


Yeah, there's no federal law generally criminalizing rape.
posted by planet at 9:17 PM on February 16, 2012


Another unsavory aspect of the new law in Florida is that it requires women to pick up the tab for the ultrasound, so it disproportionately impacts the poor (but I'm sure that's a feature not a bug).
posted by saulgoodman at 9:18 PM on February 16, 2012 [12 favorites]


This is all so horrifying, I could laugh. And laugh and laugh and laugh. Because it's the only thing to keep me from screaming and sobbing.
posted by meese at 9:20 PM on February 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yeah, there's no federal law generally criminalizing rape.

Looks like there are laws for areas under special federal jurisdiction. So, good news, if you are in a federal prison you will have some legal protection from this.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:24 PM on February 16, 2012


Anyway, you linked to a press release regarding guidelines for crime reporting--not a uniform criminal code.

Yes, I'm aware of what I linked to, thanks. I didn't suggest that the FBI makes federal law. I am pointing out that the distinction between rape and forcible object penetration has been dissolved at the federal level for the purposes of defining the crime.

And I don't see how this makes Dahlia Lithwick "an idiot." Yes, strictly speaking, she should have written "I am not the first person to note that under any other set of facts, that would constitute sexual assault under state law" and linked to the different section of the criminal code. This does not take away from the fact that forcing women to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds without their consent meets the criteria of felony sexual assault in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and under federal reporting guidelines would constitute rape.
posted by scody at 9:28 PM on February 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


I'm against this law, but does framing it as rape-under-other-circumstances really mean anything? Being forced to pay taxes under threat of fine or imprisonment, would, under another set of facts, constitute extortion. Indeed, being lawfully sentenced to a prison term under some other set of facts might constitute...false imprisonment. A police officer taking a child away from a child abuser, might, under other circumstances, be kidnapping a child.

This law is bad; that doesn't mean this analogy isn't gibberish.
posted by shivohum at 9:40 PM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am pointing out that the distinction between rape and forcible object penetration has been dissolved at the federal level for the purposes of defining the crime.
But no, that's still wrong. The FBI is setting out standards by which crimes defined elsewhere (e.g., by state legislatures) can be grouped into common categories. The FBI does not define crimes.

And I called Dahlia Lithwick an idiot because lawyers who are too lazy to spend even a moment researching what they're writing about annoy me. And of course she didn't tackle the tough question (and I haven't either, but my excuse is that I haven't expressed an opinion on it), which is whether requiring a person to undergo something as a prerequisite to the exercise of a Constitutional right makes it "against the [person's] will [or] by force" within the meaning of the Virginia criminal law. That's totally nonobvious to me, and Lithwick didn't give it a moment's thought because she's a lazy hack who measures success in how high she can push her pageviews to effort ratio.
posted by planet at 9:41 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


A police officer taking a child away from a child abuser, might, under other circumstances, be kidnapping a child.

Well sure, like under the circumstance where there was no legitimate reason to take the child.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:43 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


(and I haven't either, but my excuse is that I haven't expressed an opinion on it)

Uh...
posted by joe lisboa at 9:48 PM on February 16, 2012


To prove our resolve on this course of action, we will also pursue criminal charges (for murder, natch) against any women who seeks proper medical attention to resolve the bleeding-to-death-from-a-punctured-uterus problem before she actually bleeds out.

This was how it went the last time abortion was made illegal in this country. Women were left bleeding until they told the ER doctor who'd performed the abortion. Women died in consequence. Because then, as now, the strategy was to go after the providers and arrest them, not the women.

The truly depressing thing about being a history buff is watching things that you thought were abhorrent and unbelievable happen again. It's like a slow-motion car crash that you're participating in as the crash test dummy.
posted by winna at 9:50 PM on February 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


And I called Dahlia Lithwick an idiot because

You are willfully missing the point.

Women who want abortions in Virginia will have to have an object shoved into their vaginas against their consent in order to obtain a completely legal medical procedure.

But go ahead and argue about how we should specifically word that so as not to confuse the issue.
posted by rtha at 9:53 PM on February 16, 2012 [28 favorites]


I think that the source of the analogy isn't laziness, but rage. She is articulating the anger that many people feel about this.
posted by humanfont at 10:09 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


planet, considering that the legislature is mandating the procedure, I feel comfortable referring to the doctors involved as de facto state actors in the situation. As the right to have an abortion (under the perameters of Casey et. al.) is constitutionally protected, this is easily read is making the exercise of one constitutional right subject to the waiver of another (in this case, the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure.)

I don't know exactly how that argument would shake out in court. Obviously some constitutional rights may be subject to the waiver of others under certain circumstances (for instance, the right to travel is subject to waiver of the right to be free from unreasonable search if traveling by plane, but again under certain parameters), in other cases at least circuit courts have found such laws to be invalid (forcing protesters at the School of the Americas to be subject to search, for instance.)

But I have a feeling this would be unconstitutional more likely than not.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:19 PM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Huh. Look at what I found in the Jack T. Chick archives.
posted by clarknova at 10:23 PM on February 16, 2012


This law is bad; that doesn't mean this analogy isn't gibberish.

If I wanted to have a boil removed from my back, but the doctor said "I'm sorry, you'll need to have this metal thing stuck in your vagina before that," I'd say that was rape.

But maybe the "rape" categorization doesn't seem right because abortions are way more serious than the removal of my boil?

If I wanted to have the bone deformity in my toes surgically corrected, even though this is expensive, painful, time-consuming, and could potentially lead to even worse deformity, but the doctor said, "I'm sorry, you'll need to have this metal thing stuck in your vagina before that," I'd say that was rape.

But maybe the problem now is that abortions actually have something to do with vaginas, whereas my toe deformity doesn't?

If I wanted to have non-invasive tests done to ensure my fertility, but the doctor said, "I'm sorry, you'll need to have this metal thing stuck in your vagina before that," I'd say that was rape.

But maybe the problem now is that someone might say an abortion is a bad thing to want, whereas fertility tests are not?

If I wanted to have my pinky finger chopped off, but the doctor said, "I'm sorry, you'll need to have this metal thing stuck in your vagina before that," I'd say that was rape. It'd be a whole lot of other things, too, but still a case of rape.

But maybe the problem is that (given one's ethical views) abortion involves something that may be considered an entity separate from me?

If I took my child to a doctor, but the doctor said, "I'm sorry, before I help your child, you'll need to have this metal thing stuck in your vagina," I'd say that was rape.

But maybe the problem now is that it's not the doctor who's requiring it, but instead the state, through change of legal policy?

If I went to a hospital for whatever reason, and the doctor said, "I'm sorry, but the law requires I only help you once I've stuck this metal thing in your vagina," I'd say that was rape. I wouldn't blame the doctor, per se, but I'd be looking to blame someone.

But maybe, the problem now is that, more than just a bad idea, we actually take abortion to be a moral sin--the murder of an innocent?

If I do (or want to do) something that is immoral -- if I go to a hospital specifically to rob a doctor of his medicine stash to sell on the streets, and the doctor responds by saying, "I'm sorry, but because of your immoral action, I'm going to stick this metal thing in your vagina," I'd say that was rape. If I went so far as to murder the security guard during my break-in, I would still say it is rape for someone to respond by sticking a metal thing in my vagina.

I'm not seeing the problem with calling this rape.
posted by meese at 10:25 PM on February 16, 2012 [37 favorites]


I'm sorry. It's not an analogy to call this rape.

Forcing woman to undergo medically-unnecessary vaginal penetration as a precondition for having an otherwise legal medical procedure is state-sanctioned sexual assault. Period. Not just by analogy, but in fact.

Claiming otherwise is like saying that forcing women to undergo random "virginity tests," like those that some in the Egyptian military were reportedly carrying out, isn't state-sponsored rape as long as there's a law mandating the practice.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:46 PM on February 16, 2012 [24 favorites]


For what its worth, I really do believe that the intent of this bill is to make women realize that the thing they want to abort is a little human being, and they're hoping that by women looking at the ultrasound will make them see that, and not have an abortion.

Is it heavy-handed? Xompletely. Is it unnecessary? I don't know enough about ultrasound to know whether it absolutely has to be trans-vaginal to serve that purpose. Is it rape? I imagine that all of you who are willing to label it as rape, there is someone willing to label abortion as murder.
posted by crunchland at 11:16 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I had two ultrasounds, one at 7 weeks (or 7 weeks and 3 days, depending on which method of calculation you use) and one a little after 9 weeks, after I miscarried. Both times they were abdominal. I didn't have to ask for it to be done this way, it just was. So I reject the idea that transvaginal ultrasounds are necessarily "standard" in the first trimester (though perhaps certain medical offices just decide to do them that way). I do remember on the first one the technician saying if we didn't detect a heartbeat then we could use the transvaginal ultrasound, but it didn't turn out to be necessary.

Given that most women don't even know they are pregnant for sure until after 4 weeks, this further reduces the window during which a transvaginal ultrasound might be actually necessary (rather than a matter of procedure).

I think the wording of the OP is hyperbolic, probably in order to garner more sympathy for the idea that this is a bad law. I agree it's a bad law, but I'd like to see it discussed without the histrionics.
posted by parrot_person at 11:17 PM on February 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't know enough about ultrasound to know whether it absolutely has to be trans-vaginal to serve that purpose.

What you happen to "know" about ultrasound isn't the point. The Virginia law has decreed that any woman seeking an abortion MUST undergo a transvaginal -- not transabdominal -- ultrasound, whether she wants to or not, DESPITE the fact that this is not indicated as medically necessary by the standards established by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
posted by scody at 11:29 PM on February 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


You know what you can see via transabdominal ultrasound in the first seven weeks? Nothing

I still have the films from my 7-week transabdominal ultrasound. I'd be happy to try to scan them in and show you. It includes the 7 weeks gestation notation right on the films. I assure you a little curled-up embryo can be seen, not nothing and not just a black dot. Perhaps technology has improved recently and your information is outdated.
posted by parrot_person at 11:33 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Virginia law has decreed that any woman seeking an abortion MUST undergo a transvaginal -- not transabdominal -- ultrasound, whether she wants to or not

The actual text of the law reads: "every pregnant female shall undergo ultrasound imaging". It does not say it has to be transvaginal.
posted by parrot_person at 11:37 PM on February 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I agree it's a bad law, but I'd like to see it discussed without the histrionics.

People are way beyond that. There will be tar, feathers and people ridden out on rails before this is done.
posted by humanfont at 11:38 PM on February 16, 2012


An interesting thing about Shari'a law is that abortion in certain very narrowly defined circumstances, is permitted before 120 days of gestation.
It's not encouraged, but if a mother's life is in danger she can have an abortion. I know for a fact that many Bosnian Muslim victims of war-time rape had abortions if they could get to a safe haven.
I know that Jewish Halacha law allows abortion for rape victims, and MANDATES it to save the life of the mother.
These are both ancient and conservative legal systems. Both Judaism and Islam are known to be very patriarchal religions.
Still both are FAR more liberal than these Republican weirdos.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 11:44 PM on February 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


Given that most women don't even know they are pregnant for sure until after 4 weeks, this further reduces the window during which a transvaginal ultrasound might be actually necessary (rather than a matter of procedure).

And? The vast majority of abortions are performed in the first trimester, whether within the full 12 week period or within your "reduced" window of 8 weeks. There are currently about 28,500 abortions performed in Virginia every year, and about 88% of all abortions happen in the first trimester, so we can estimate about 25,000 women every year will be affected by this law.

The actual text of the law reads: "every pregnant female shall undergo ultrasound imaging". It does not say it has to be transvaginal.

It doesn't need to explicitly say it; in the first trimester, a transvaginal ultrasound is very often the only way to determine gestation age, which is a requirement of the bill (though not at all medically necessary in order to safely perform an abortion). If you are talking about requiring women undergo ultrasound in the first trimester, you are by default almost inevitably talking about transvaginal ultrasound. To wit:

1) While the bill does not explicitly mandate the use of transvaginal ultrasounds, many women would inevitably be required to undergo them; in the early stages of pregnancy, that procedure is often the only form of ultrasound that can detect a fetus' heartbeat.

2) The second measure passed in Virginia requires that women seeking an abortion be forced to undergo an ultrasound, which would mean a more physically invasive transvaginal ultrasound in the cases of early pregnancy.

3) In the first trimester — when most abortions occur — the standard “jelly on the belly” ultrasound is not always effective. More invasive trans-vaginal ultrasounds, he said, might be necessary in order to satisfy the requirements in the bill, even though they are not recommended in the standards maintained by the country’s primary network of the obstetrician-gynecologists.

4) In order to satisfy the goals of the legislation - which includes a requirement that a doctor determine the gestational age of the pregnancy- a transvaginal ultrasound may be the only reliable course.
posted by scody at 12:02 AM on February 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


I have to mention that I see a repeated return to magical thinking from the anti-choice side of the debate, similar to many of the other social conservative shibboleths. There's this idea that by just hitting the right set of legal maneuvers that women will realize how immoral their choices are, and that lives will be saved, and what makes it magical is this repeated insistence in the face of every single piece of actual evidence. The same thing happens with LGBT rights, with social programs, with all sorts of things, anywhere you can combine judgment with magic.
posted by klangklangston at 12:03 AM on February 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


* If you are talking about requiring women undergo ultrasound in the first trimester for purposes of determining gestational age, you are by default almost inevitably talking about transvaginal ultrasound.
posted by scody at 12:06 AM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oklahoma's antiabortion personhood law. Oklahoma and Virginia and Congress are taking away women's rights.

We watched today a panel of men, the one woman was refused a right to be there, discuss birth control. It was a panel half-full of people who are celibate and all full of people who can't get pregnant. If women, as a whole, don't start standing up and fighting for our rights, we are going to lose more and more of them.

Hell, I had to fight my insurance to cover my Mirena in December, even though it wasn't for birth control purposes (Mirena is used to treat endometrial hyperplasia.) And, Virginia actually requires insurance to cover birth control, not all forms, but at least some.

If Virginia's personhood law passes in five years, when I need the next one, I'll be screwed as IUDs will become illegal in Virginia, regardless of the fact that I can't actually get pregnant, even without one!

Having said all of that, if, and when, these bills pass, I plan on volunteering to drive women into Maryland for their abortions or birth control. It is the least I could do as the right to abort without being assaulted was there when I needed it.
posted by SuzySmith at 12:11 AM on February 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


It doesn't need to explicitly say it; in the first trimester, a transvaginal ultrasound is very often the only way to determine gestation age

That's all very well and good, but I was responding to/correcting your statement from above: "The Virginia law has decreed that any woman seeking an abortion MUST undergo a transvaginal -- not transabdominal -- ultrasound". You were incorrect in making that statement. The law does not require a transvaginal ultrasound.

Scody, you may have missed above that I am not in favor of this law. I am against it. It is a bad law. But I'm also not in favor of exaggeration or misrepresentation of facts. We don't *need* to exaggerate here in order to make the case that this is a bad law.

You also may have missed that I personally didn't need a transvaginal ultrasound at *seven weeks* in order to hear a heartbeat and determine gestational age. No matter how much you stomp your foot, your claims don't erase my very personal, very recent experience to the contrary.

Again, I understand that during some period of time, on some women, transvaginal ultrasound may be required to determine gestational age. But it's not the case, as stated in the original post and as stated by you, that all women in Virginia who are in their first trimester and go in for an abortion will have to have a transvaginal ultrasound.
posted by parrot_person at 12:18 AM on February 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


There will be tar, feathers and people ridden out on rails before this is done.

In our dreams.
posted by clarknova at 12:22 AM on February 17, 2012


I think I have some tar on my feathers already.
posted by parrot_person at 12:48 AM on February 17, 2012


Again, I understand that during some period of time, on some women, transvaginal ultrasound may be required to determine gestational age. But it's not the case, as stated in the original post and as stated by you, that all women in Virginia who are in their first trimester and go in for an abortion will have to have a transvaginal ultrasound.

All women will have to have an ultrasound, which they cannot waive, to determine gestational age. You are correct that I mispoke in saying that it explicitly requires transvaginal ultrasound. Nevertheless, the earlier the pregnancy, the more common the transvaginal ultrasound (your personal experience is interesting, but it doesn't change the statistics that the majority of ultrasounds in the first trimester to determine gestational age are transvaginal). Since the vast majority of abortions are performed during this timeframe, the majority of women affected will have to have transvaginal ultrasounds. This isn't even in dispute among the people who support the bill. Indeed, a proposed amendment to minimize the use of transvaginal ultrasound based on the doctor's discretion and the woman's consent was defeated. If the sponsors of the bill didn't intend to mandate as many transvaginal ultrasounds as possible, then why wouldn't they support that amendment?

I'm sorry you find this foot-stamping histrionics (you forgot hysterical). I am not at all clear how splitting hairs over whether it means 22,000 vs. 25,000 women in Virginia will be required to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds they woudn't otherwise have to endure strengthens the likelihood of defeating these sorts of increasingly invasive, draconian laws.
posted by scody at 1:30 AM on February 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


I am not at all clear how splitting hairs over whether it means 22,000 vs. 25,000 women in Virginia will be required to undergo transvaginal ultrasounds they woudn't otherwise have to endure strengthens the likelihood of defeating these sorts of increasingly invasive, draconian laws.

Because one of those statements is wrong. If I actually disagreed with you, I'd take that single demonstrably false statement, roll my eyes, and build an argument that you were obviously exaggerating everything and therefore this law probably isn't a big deal at all. I could do it in my sleep. It drives me crazy to see people destroying their own credibility like that.
posted by jacalata at 1:37 AM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Danila, if you don't want to make women who've had abortions feel bad, then why did you call us all murderers?

There is nothing about that statement that's respectful, people. I don't care what language is used. It is not respectful. It's not humane, either. Don't thank her for insulting 25% of all women just because she said it nicely. It's still a nasty, cruel thing to say.

(Yeah, I know, I'm late to the party. But seriously, I am really sick of seeing people pull this, and get lauded.)
posted by MadGastronomer at 2:59 AM on February 17, 2012 [13 favorites]


Jesusland strikes again.

What one wonders is why, if The Power Of The Endangered White Man is so threatened by abortion, isn't there more support for publicly-funded birth control for women? If abortion is the problem, the logical solution would involve curtailing pregnancy. Given the comical all-male panel currently evaluating women's contraceptive policy, sadly that point seems to already be lost.

Thus, perhaps we can assume that the problem is not abortion itself. If the problem is not abortion itself, what would drive formation of such a cruel policy? If it is indeed the political ambitions of one man and his cabal, we would imagine that the body politic would take notice and respond.

Since that has not occurred, we must assume there are collaborators within the body politic that somehow revere and favour this policy. And I wonder if the correct destination for finger-pointing in that case may be Endangered White Men writ large.

It's long been known that the debate in abortion is about pretty much everything but women's health. It's about religion. It's about state's rights. It's about privacy. It's about a whole host of issues. Women's health seems to be lost in the shuffle.

It appears that this legislation is designed to shame and guilt women. As if considering terminating a pregnancy wasn't already difficult enough.

So perhaps we can consider what would happen if 1) women were provided low-cost access to the contraceptive pill, and 2) abortion was available to all. Magical fantasy land you say? Yes, the magical fantasy land of Europe. Don't like that, huh? How about the magical fantasy land of China? Both described by the Endangered White Man as socialist countries less free than our own. Freedom is not free, they will say.

No, apparently the cost for men to be free is the dignity and safety of women. Many of the decisions made in Jesusland are sad, and some are truly disappointing. But these decisions -- de facto against women -- make you wonder if these cold-blooded creatures were hatched from eggs, for how could someone with a mother, a sister, or a wife treat an entire gender with such contempt -- with unbridled cruelty?

With good reason, these men are terrified of women. Which is funny, given their swagger and their chat. So they make laws to put women at a disadvantage; to play a woman's own biology against her, when men are complicit in all unwanted pregnancies.

One does hope the South will rise again. Rise to basic standards of human decency.

It is hard to control one's sadness and anger, thinking about the lives that will be impacted by this cruel subjugation.

If the political process continues to fail the Women of Jesusland, one would hope that they can geographically relocate to a place that wants and respects them. If that is not possible, perhaps the women of Virginia should withhold sex from the men of the state, until those men realise that indeed, they are not solving the problem. Those men are the problem.

Only slightly more entertaining would be for the women of Virginia to not only withhold sex from men but also practice public displays of lesbianism in protest. Oh poor Endangered White Man, looks like another night of pornography to escape your self-inflicted emasculation!
posted by nickrussell at 3:23 AM on February 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


How in god's name is it supposed to be possible to determine gestational age without a transvaginal ultrasound? This sounds like an imaginary thing. The law doesn't ask doctors to *estimate* gestational age; it asks them to *determine* it. So, again, what is this magical procedure by which gestational age can be determined without a transvaginal ultrasound?
posted by koeselitz at 3:39 AM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


jacalata: "Because one of those statements is wrong. If I actually disagreed with you, I'd take that single demonstrably false statement, roll my eyes, and build an argument that you were obviously exaggerating everything and therefore this law probably isn't a big deal at all. I could do it in my sleep. It drives me crazy to see people destroying their own credibility like that."

Scody has not made a single false statement in this thread. If she has, maybe you can point to where that happened. Otherwise, maybe we should stop acting as though she's made some outlandish claim that cannot be possibly true.
posted by koeselitz at 3:44 AM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


PS. Change.org petition on this matter is here:

The VA State Senate: Stop the Assault of Women's Reproductive Rights
posted by nickrussell at 3:47 AM on February 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


parrot_person: "I still have the films from my 7-week transabdominal ultrasound. I'd be happy to try to scan them in and show you. It includes the 7 weeks gestation notation right on the films. I assure you a little curled-up embryo can be seen, not nothing and not just a black dot. Perhaps technology has improved recently and your information is outdated."

A gestation notation is put there by a doctor. The doctor can make this estimation without determining it; indeed, estimation of gestational age occurs in almost every pregnancy, regardless of whether it is determined. Did you assume that doctors simply ignored gestational age in most pregnancies, without making an estimation?
posted by koeselitz at 3:49 AM on February 17, 2012


parrot_person: "I still have the films from my 7-week transabdominal ultrasound. I'd be happy to try to scan them in and show you. It includes the 7 weeks gestation notation right on the films. I assure you a little curled-up embryo can be seen, not nothing and not just a black dot. Perhaps technology has improved recently and your information is outdated."


Our information is consistent. 
Right or after 49 days of gestation, the embryo can be  visible via transabdominal ultrasound, as you saw. That's why I specifically used 7 weeks as the demarcation point. Prior to that, though, when a woman us only 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 weeks pregnant, transabdominal ultrasound will not provide an image of an embryo. As I linked above, "The gestational sac is often the first thing that most transvaginal ultrasounds can detect at about 5 weeks. This is seen before a recognizable embryo can be seen. Within this week, at about week 5 ½ to the beginning of the 6th week, a yolk sac can be seen inside the gestational sac. The yolk sac will be the earliest source of nutrients for the developing fetus."
posted by argonauta at 4:15 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Senate sidetracks Cole’s abortion bill

This bill has been put forth to stop the use of any Medicaid funds for abortion, no matter the cause, in the commonwealth of Virginia. Now, the only reason these funds are allowed to be used, at all, for abortion are in case of severe deformity of the fetus. In 2010 VA health department approved this for 23 women, in 2011 for 10. This isn't a huge amount of money, but it is being fought against anyway.

These abortions are solely for fetus that will die, soon after birth, or live a life with severe disabilities. Things like being born without a brain, or with lungs that will not allow you to get enough oxygen. VA is going further and further back to the stone age. (note, I have lived in VA or the majority of my life.)
posted by SuzySmith at 4:50 AM on February 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


If anyone wants to get a more comprehensive handle on the full-throttle crazy going on in Richmond right now, this is a good place to start.
posted by indubitable at 5:06 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


For what its worth, I really do believe that the intent of this bill is to make women realize that the thing they want to abort is a little human being, and they're hoping that by women looking at the ultrasound will make them see that, and not have an abortion.

Yeah. I'm pretty sure that 'realize that the thing they want to abort' is one of those things which old white guys make up to rationalize their punishing women who get abortions.

And I'm not sure how anyone can give Informed Consent for an unnecessary medical procedure which carries a risk but absolutely no medical benefit. I'm sure that the malpractice attorneys are pissing themselves with glee.
posted by mikelieman at 5:35 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


A single woman forced to be penetrated against her will would be a tragedy. Mandating it for tens of thousands of women is an atrocity. In that context, people are going after Lithwick? All the worse that it's for things she didn't say (the most/all canard), or for absurdist nitpicking that reaches the level of psychosis ("that's not rape, that's merely forcible object penetration, you *idiot*"). Unbelievable.

Jesus wept.
posted by gerryblog at 6:02 AM on February 17, 2012 [14 favorites]


For what its worth, I really do believe that the intent of this bill is to make women realize that the thing they want to abort is a little human being, and they're hoping that by women looking at the ultrasound will make them see that, and not have an abortion.

This is one of the many things that makes me so furious about this kind of legislation. Apparently, we women are too stupid or ignorant to understand what pregnancy is unless we're forced to look at pictures. At the same time, we are not too stupid or ignorant to raise a child.
posted by rtha at 6:07 AM on February 17, 2012 [20 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that 'realize that the thing they want to abort' is one of those things which old white guys make up to rationalize their punishing women who get abortions.

Women are almost as likely to be "pro-life" as men.
posted by empath at 6:09 AM on February 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Fucking ridiculous. Makes me so angry I can't see straight. Why do so many men hate women so much? All men should be asking this question because it needs to change.
posted by agregoli at 6:18 AM on February 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


If I do (or want to do) something that is immoral -- if I go to a hospital specifically to rob a doctor of his medicine stash to sell on the streets, and the doctor responds by saying, "I'm sorry, but because of your immoral action, I'm going to stick this metal thing in your vagina," I'd say that was rape. If I went so far as to murder the security guard during my break-in, I would still say it is rape for someone to respond by sticking a metal thing in my vagina.

If you go to a hospital, and tell them you have explosives in your vagina (it's possible to put them there), and a doctor forcibly removes them -- is that rape?

What if you've hidden bags of heroin in your vagina? Is it rape if authorities forcibly inspect and remove them as a condition of your boarding a plane?

What if you disagree with the authorities about the existence or harmfulness of those drugs or explosives? Does the fact of your disagreement transform their actions into rape?

That's the better analogy.
posted by shivohum at 7:07 AM on February 17, 2012


What if you've hidden bags of heroin in your vagina? Is it rape if authorities forcibly inspect and remove them as a condition of your boarding a plane?

Oh, this is not so good. On the other hand, the metaphor is interesting. Since we can assume all babies are good things (I guess), the point of the comparison shifts. Its almost like the evidence of sexual activity is as threatening to some as a explosive device or as stigmatizing as illegal substances.

The pregnant women as a drug mule...terribly offensive but quite illuminating.
posted by Hypnotic Chick at 7:15 AM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


There is no "analogy." What is actually, literally going to happen to people if this law takes effect is that they will be unnecessarily penetrated, without their consent, as a condition of receiving medical care.
posted by gerryblog at 7:16 AM on February 17, 2012 [9 favorites]


You're serious shivohum? Good lord. Your argument would work for "virginity tests," too, if the state decided that not being a virgin was "harmful."

It's still state enforced sexual assault, you see, because it's the hard facts of someone under legal authority sticking something into a woman's vagina without regard for their consent that makes this sexual assault. All the interpretative tap-dancing in the world act doesn't change what these laws are, in practice.

First we embraced politically motivated torture, now we're embracing politically motivate state-sponsored sexual assault.

Lovely way to make our introduction to the 21st century.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:18 AM on February 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


Explosives and drugs are illegal.

Wanting to terminate a pregnancy is not.

Fucking terrible analogy.
posted by rtha at 7:27 AM on February 17, 2012 [13 favorites]


I am a woman. I live in Virginia. I fully expect that one day I will wake up to a headline that reads "Fetuses Granted Right to Abort Mothers." It's so insane that it's a possibility. And it frightens me that only thing stopping it from happening is the technology.
posted by sephira at 7:28 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


And, if I'm remembering right, courts have at least sometimes ruled in favor of a defendant who did not want a bullet removed (for example) at the behest of law enforcement.
posted by rtha at 7:29 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


One does hope the South will rise again. Rise to basic standards of human decency.

Generally, it's not a good strategy to purposely alienate people who agree with you.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:41 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you go to a hospital, and tell them you have explosives in your vagina (it's possible to put them there), and a doctor forcibly removes them -- is that rape?

What if you've hidden bags of heroin in your vagina? Is it rape if authorities forcibly inspect and remove them as a condition of your boarding a plane?

What if you disagree with the authorities about the existence or harmfulness of those drugs or explosives? Does the fact of your disagreement transform their actions into rape?

That's the better analogy.


Abortion is not a crime.
posted by empath at 7:48 AM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


That's the better analogy.

You are terrible at making analogies, and perhaps even thinking coherently. It's hard to tell.
posted by odinsdream at 7:52 AM on February 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Govenor of Virgina outlined this in his Masters Thesis. The moves against contraception are part of his plan.
posted by humanfont at 7:55 AM on February 17, 2012


If you go to a hospital, and tell them you have explosives in your vagina (it's possible to put them there)

Oh for fuck's sake don't propose this idea. The lines at the airport are long enough as it is.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:59 AM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Its almost like the evidence of sexual activity is as threatening to some as a explosive device or as stigmatizing as illegal substances.

That's not so surprising, is it, given that pro-life people consider abortion to be murder?

Explosives and drugs are illegal.

Wanting to terminate a pregnancy is not.


Abortion is not a crime.

This distinction doesn't serve. According to VA law, abortion without an ultrasound now *is* a crime.

Plenty of things are illegal only under certain circumstances. A DEA agent can transport heroin; a soldier can transport explosives. These are not crimes. They are crimes only if done by people or in circumstances where they are unauthorized.

Now not everyone agrees that the prohibitions make sense or are morally valid. Many people believe that drugs should be legalized, for example. That disagreement does not make a vaginal extraction of bags of heroin any more a rape, though.

Again, I'm not arguing that this is a good law. It isn't. But to call it rape takes away that we have a legal process to help settle moral disagreements, and that, in fact, there are some moral arguments -- you may disagree with them; I do -- for supporting this law. Calling this rape elides those points.
posted by shivohum at 8:04 AM on February 17, 2012


You put yourself in the position of a young woman who's been date-raped (but isn't strictly-speaking considered a rape victim under the law because there was some ambiguity in how it happened or because she feels ashamed) and who is seeking an abortion, and tell me what it's like to have this law imposed on you.

If that scenario doesn't describe a state-sponsored sexual assault under your rubric, nothing does as long as it's ostensibly got the imprimatur of "law" on it. Making a hollow technocratic distinction that only serves to obfuscate the true impact of a fundamentally immoral and inhumane law is how I'd characterize what you're doing here.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:19 AM on February 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


shivohum: “But to call it rape takes away that we have a legal process to help settle moral disagreements, and that, in fact, there are some moral arguments -- you may disagree with them; I do -- for supporting this law. Calling this rape elides those points.”

I'm not so sure about that, but we can think about it a little, I guess. What other surgical procedures are required by law?
posted by koeselitz at 8:21 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


According to VA law, abortion without an ultrasound now *is* a crime.

If I told you that you were no longer allowed to cross the street without getting a prostate exam, would you say that was reasonable and legal?

Because by your stupid circular logic, 'crossing the street without a prostate exam' would be a crime, and so perfectly justified.
posted by empath at 8:23 AM on February 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


Does legality stop rape from being rape (essentially penetration without consent)?

It's arguable that in some cases it may be justifiable (or necessary) and legal (explosives, comatose drug mule for e.g.), just as it can be unjustifiable and perfectly legal.

But the contextual act is still the same, and the definition would still seem to fit (including the heroin and explosives cases).
posted by titus-g at 8:25 AM on February 17, 2012


Just so we're clear:

Mandating that employers pay for voluntarily medical treatments -- "authoritarian big government"

Mandating that doctors violate women in a completely unnecessary medical procedure -- reasonable government oversight.
posted by empath at 8:26 AM on February 17, 2012 [17 favorites]


See, yeah, empath, because what you want is a government small enough to fit inside a uterus.
posted by rtha at 8:30 AM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am a Virginian.

Since the religious right haven't been able to outlaw abortion they're trying everything in the book to make it as inconvenient as possible to get one. Last year they changed the rules regarding minimum hallway width, forcing many facilities to close that were unable to widen their halls by 2 inches. So if a woman decides that she's too poor to have another kid and decides to get an abortion, not only does she have to drive an extra hundred miles now to find a clinic, she also has to pay an additional fee for the ultrasound? The Right cares so much about the unborn, but once you're out of the womb they could give a shit less. Fuck health insurance, fuck education, fuck welfare, just keep having those babies you poor bitches so that we got plenty of low income workers for our corporations. Fuck everyone who signed off on this bill.
posted by daHIFI at 8:44 AM on February 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


You put yourself in the position of a young woman who's been date-raped (but isn't strictly-speaking considered a rape victim under the law because there was some ambiguity in how it happened or because she feels ashamed) and who is seeking an abortion, and tell me what it's like to have this law imposed on you.

Interesting. This woman is going to a doctor to have her vagina penetrated for the purposes of the abortion. She seeks the doctor out for this reason. This very same doctor, whom the woman wants to penetrate her vagina for the abortion, notes that just before and alongside this procedure, the law requires the performance of an ultrasound which also involves vaginal penetration, and offers the procedures as a package or not at all. This really sounds like anything comparable to date rape?

If I told you that you were no longer allowed to cross the street without getting a prostate exam, would you say that was reasonable and legal?

Depends. What are the arguments by which it passed the democratic process?

What other surgical procedures are required by law?

I'm not sure. Vaccinations for children are a required invasive procedure. Mentally ill suspects can be forcibly medicated if that will allow them to be tried. Blood can be forcibly drawn in some cases from persons suspected of drunk driving.

Does legality stop rape from being rape (essentially penetration without consent)?

But the contextual act is still the same, and the definition would still seem to fit (including the heroin and explosives cases).


But I really don't think most people would call the heroin/explosive cases rape. Which suggests there's something more to the definition of rape than penetration without consent. It may be the idea that the penetration is motivated by a desire for personal gratification. That may be why the Karzai law would be considered legalized rape.
posted by shivohum at 8:50 AM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Women are almost as likely to be "pro-life" as men.

I would have figured women were a slight majority of the pro-lifers.

Abortion is one of those weighty subjects that inspires collective delusion, i.e. I'd be willing to bet (my right hand) that ~99% of those women who ID as "pro-life" would get an abortion if they needed it.

But this is the kind of shit you get when you don't vote for Democrats, since there's no difference between the parties, right?

OK, I'll cut you all some slack. If you're unfortunate enough to live in Virginia, you are allowed to vote Democratic for your state goverment representatives. BUT THAT'S ALL.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:51 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


What other surgical procedures are required by law?

I'm not sure. Vaccinations for children are a required invasive procedure.


Certainly not required by law (although a couple states come close). A religious exception can get you out of anything.

It may be the idea that the penetration is motivated by a desire for personal gratification.

That might be the most ridiculous thing I've read in a thread full of ridiculous things.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:55 AM on February 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


This woman is going to a doctor to have her vagina penetrated for the purposes of the abortion

You don't know anything about how abortion works in the first month, do you? You just take a pill. There's no penetration.
posted by empath at 8:57 AM on February 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


shivohum: “It may be the idea that the penetration is motivated by a desire for personal gratification.”

I think I understand what you're saying here, although I'm not sure. You seem to be suggesting that the word "rape" implies something about the rapist's motives. I disagree; I think rape is rape, no matter what the reason for it.
posted by koeselitz at 8:58 AM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Vaccinations for children are a required invasive procedure. Mentally ill suspects can be forcibly medicated if that will allow them to be tried. Blood can be forcibly drawn in some cases from persons suspected of drunk driving.


This is actually a rather well-respected, historical categorization of women's agency. Women, legally, should be treated like children, the mentally ill, or drunks.
posted by mercredi at 9:02 AM on February 17, 2012 [22 favorites]


This woman is going to a doctor to have her vagina penetrated for the purposes of the abortion.

Not if she's getting a medical abortion, which was the case for 32% of first trimester abortions at Planned Parenthood clinics in the United States in 2008, just as one data point.

And as is, currently, her legal right.
posted by argonauta at 9:02 AM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Vaccinations for children are a required invasive procedure. Mentally ill suspects can be forcibly medicated if that will allow them to be tried. Blood can be forcibly drawn in some cases from persons suspected of drunk driving.

Okay, so now women aren't criminals, they're just children or mentally incapacitated. You aren't making your case any stronger.
posted by empath at 9:05 AM on February 17, 2012 [11 favorites]


Interesting. This woman is going to a doctor to have her vagina penetrated for the purposes of the abortion. She seeks the doctor out for this reason. This very same doctor, whom the woman wants to penetrate her vagina for the abortion, notes that just before and alongside this procedure, the law requires the performance of an ultrasound which also involves vaginal penetration, and offers the procedures as a package or not at all. This really sounds like anything comparable to date rape?

I mean this constructively: You're coming across as an idiot who doesn't know the first thing about consent or either of the procedures under discussion.
posted by odinsdream at 9:12 AM on February 17, 2012 [12 favorites]


Frankly, transvaginal ultrasound procedures should be illegal in every case, including routine check-ups. Other type of procedures perfectly replace the transviginal ultrasound.

Inserting a phallus-shaped object, or even fingers, into the body cavitities of patients of any gender should be a last resort medical procedure, only after all other options have been exhausted.

Period.
posted by ruelle at 9:17 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Virginia Democrat Del. David Englin, who opposes the bill...recall[ed] one conversation with a GOP lawmaker who told him that women had already made the decision to be "vaginally penetrated when they got pregnant." ([Lithwick] confirmed with Englin that this quote was accurate.)

Kinda like, "she was asking for it, wearing that skirt, amirite?"
posted by Pax at 9:18 AM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gallows chuckle at the "I'm not saying it's a good law, but it isn't rape to jam a medically unecessary object up a woman's vagina without her consent" hairsplitting going on here.

2. The money man behind one of the top GOP presidential candidates says that, basically, women wouldn't need contraceptives if they weren't such sluts

Responding to another commenter in a discussion about this episode, RedState contributing editor and technical admin, Neil Stevens says "I used to be a scientist. It seems clear that the only rational reason to have sex is to make babies." (Though he seems to be an outlier even there. Most of the rest of them just think it was hee-larious.)
posted by octobersurprise at 9:31 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


ruelle: “Frankly, transvaginal ultrasound procedures should be illegal in every case, including routine check-ups. Other type of procedures perfectly replace the transviginal ultrasound. Inserting a phallus-shaped object, or even fingers, into the body cavitities of patients of any gender should be a last resort medical procedure, only after all other options have been exhausted. Period.”

In every case? Seriously? This seems like a rather extreme position to take. Transvaginal ultrasound is invasive, but it is less invasive than (for instance) surgery. What's more, my understanding is that transvaginal ultrasound is necessary in later-stage abortions in order to make sure the doctor is doing it right and isn't hurting the woman.

If you're saying involuntary transvaginal ultrasound should be illegal in every case, I can agree with you. But medicine has a purpose, and transvaginal ultrasounds are not normally frivolous and unnecessary procedures. I assure you, doctors would not put women through that unless it were necessary.
posted by koeselitz at 9:33 AM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Frankly, transvaginal ultrasound procedures should be illegal in every case, including routine check-ups.

This seems unreasonable. The issue is consent. There are times when it's a medically necessary procedure unrelated to abortions. I assume you meant what koeselitz just clarified, that "involuntary, unnecessary" should be illegal, which I'd certainly agree with, and in fact would be surprised if there weren't existing laws against involuntary, unnecessary medical procedures.
posted by odinsdream at 9:48 AM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure. Vaccinations for children are a required invasive procedure. Mentally ill suspects can be forcibly medicated if that will allow them to be tried. Blood can be forcibly drawn in some cases from persons suspected of drunk driving.

You are being ridiculous. Please stop.
posted by rtha at 9:48 AM on February 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Talk about intrusive government. Republicans want to force their way into women's vaginas and take pictures.

It's hard to imagine any intelligent person being able to say that they are proud to be a Republican.
posted by JackFlash at 9:53 AM on February 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh, let's not look at this as the woman-hating, sex-negative stunt that it is. It's much more palatable to think of it as an opportunity for more OB-GYN's to "practice their love" (GWB-style.)
posted by malocchio at 9:55 AM on February 17, 2012


Again, I'm not arguing that this is a good law. It isn't. But to call it rape takes away that we have a legal process to help settle moral disagreements, and that, in fact, there are some moral arguments -- you may disagree with them; I do -- for supporting this law. Calling this rape elides those points.

So was calling anti-miscegenation laws, that existed up until 1967 in the U.S., "racist" taking away from the fact that we had "a legal process to help settle moral disagreements" and was that a false interpretation? (that took a VERY long time for "courts to settle" for us). Was it not racist and should we have not called it that, and just believed the science, "laws" and other justifications that "politicians" gave us?

Was calling "marital rape" rape also taking away from the fact that we had "a legal process to help settle moral disagreements" - a "legal process" that took until 1993 to say that raping your wife was still rape? Should we have waited for a court to tell us that?

Was calling "anti-sodomy" laws homo/transphobic wrong? Should we have waited for the court to get it "wrong" in Bowers and then "right" (some wiggle room there re: basis of opinion) in Lawrence v. Texas?

Were all of these not moral diagreements? Did not the community organizing/activism around them, the labeling of truths as truths, essential to community mobilization, public education and the changing of discourse?

To rely so heavily on courts to be the arbiters of truth and labels seems terrifying to me. And I am a lawyer. Our courts are not the only and ultimate response to injustice and the settlement of "moral disagreements." If that were the case, we should eliminate all non-legal activism and wait patiently while courts decide issues of rape, racism, homophobia, transphobia, etc.

IT IS productive to call things what they are and not to wait for institutions loaded with institutional violence, racism, etc. to tell us what things are for us. Getting a medical procedure that happens to be an abortion only if someone gets to shove a device into your vagina that is not medically related to the procedure is an enormous violation of bodily integrity. I don't need a court or anyone else to tell me that. And waiting for courts to decide these issues is not a requirement.
posted by anya32 at 9:57 AM on February 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


You can name it as you please, but what I'm saying guys, is that when you're laying on your back with your panties off at the oby-gyn's then the doctor should never reach for the transvaginal instrument as a matter of course.
Likewise, it should never be up to the naked patient to say, "hold on I want the other procedure, please".
Instead, that second non-invasive procedure should be standard and the transvaginal instrument should be used very rarely and only in that rare cases where the non-invasive one isn't possible (ie: in cases of extreme obesity, etc..).

I assure you, doctors would not put women through that unless it were necessary.
Doctors rely on what they learned in school, what they learn about in continuous trainings, and of course, the relentless barage of lobbying from the pharmaceutical representatives who push their newest equipment and medications on the docs. And the fear of malpractice. Women's comfort or dignity isn't a primary concern.
posted by ruelle at 10:03 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


[Let's be really clear, making "This is the sort of comment a creepy rapist would say" in order to get the point across that those sort of comments are creepy is not a useful way to forward discussion and you can go to MetaTalk if you want to defend your right to do that. Thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 10:05 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


If you are being checked for ovarian cysts, and the regular ultrasound won't see clearly enough, they use the transvaginal. My (female) technician let me place it myself.

I can see where the procedure could be triggering for some abuse victims, but like a lot of medical procedures to include pap smears and gyno exams, it just seemed like normal awkward medical procedure to me. Not that any of those are FUN but honestly I think the uproar might be more that an ultrasound would be required at all-the type in most cases would be a red herring. (Again, I understand as a former rape victim myself ymmv depending on one's past experiences.)

(My other opinion is as an antiabortion tool this seems a bit silly. I am as antiabortion as they come but yeah, I think by now most women know what they are doing, or at least I can't see where in most cases just an ultrasound would change a mind-and if it would, a regular one would suffice. )
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 10:06 AM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


ruelle: "Doctors rely on what they learned in school, what they learn about in continuous trainings, and of course, the relentless barage of lobbying from the pharmaceutical representatives who push their newest equipment and medications on the docs. And the fear of malpractice. Women's comfort or dignity isn't a primary concern."

My significant is a doctor doing her residency in family medicine. She and the rest of her co-residents - all women, by the way - have no lack of unkind words for the pharmaceutical reps that periodically try to harass them. And I assure you that each of them puts herself in the place of every woman she sees, and works toward her comfort and well-being.

Yes, there are crappy doctors in the world. Yes, big pharma is malignant. But extending those facts to say that all doctors are heartless, uncaring, machine-loving drones who do not hesitate to stick crap into women's vaginas for no reason is unfair. If you look, you'll find that there are many doctors in the world who actually do their jobs because they care about people.
posted by koeselitz at 10:21 AM on February 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


What's with all these bishops and priests feeling their oats and getting all up in govt. again? I thought with all the pederasty stuff they'd, like, lay low for a few generations. Time for a round of "So you want to be tax exempt, do you?"
posted by Trochanter at 10:21 AM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think that's why they're raising such a stink about it now. They can't control the pederasty dialogue, but they can come out swinging on abortion and claim the moral high ground.
posted by cmyk at 10:27 AM on February 17, 2012


Because one of those statements is wrong.

Which statement is wrong: That about 28,500 abortions are performed annually in Virginia? (Those are 2005 numbers, which were the most recent I could find.) That the vast majority of abortions (88%, according to the Guttmacher Institute) happen in the first trimester? Or that (individual anecdotes aside) the majority of ultrasounds in the first trimester specifically for purposes of determining gestational age are transvaginal? (That's according the the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, as well as a 2007 book, Obstetric Evidence Based Guidelines.)
posted by scody at 10:32 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, and I have to chime in on this, too:

Doctors rely on what they learned in school, what they learn about in continuous trainings, and of course, the relentless barage of lobbying from the pharmaceutical representatives who push their newest equipment and medications on the docs. And the fear of malpractice. Women's comfort or dignity isn't a primary concern.

Chronic illness, two bouts of cancer, and an assortment of unusual conditions have meant that I've spent an unusually high proportion of my adult life dealing with the medical world. The vast majority of doctors I have come into contact with -- not 100% of them, but I'd estimate about 80-90% -- have made my comfort and dignity absolutely central to their care.
posted by scody at 10:44 AM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you are being checked for ovarian cysts, and the regular ultrasound won't see clearly enough, they use the transvaginal.

That's a case where its use may be medically necessary. This law is mandating its use when it is likely not.

You actually want politicians telling doctors what medical procedures they have to use, regardless of what the doctors know?
posted by rtha at 11:10 AM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


You can name it as you please, but what I'm saying guys, is that when you're laying on your back with your panties off at the oby-gyn's then the doctor should never reach for the transvaginal instrument as a matter of course.
Likewise, it should never be up to the naked patient to say, "hold on I want the other procedure, please".
Instead, that second non-invasive procedure should be standard and the transvaginal instrument should be used very rarely and only in that rare cases where the non-invasive one isn't possible (ie: in cases of extreme obesity, etc..).


I think you're on the right track, but may just be misunderstanding the fact that this is in fact a quite normal procedure under certain circumstances, and of course a doctor should be in direct consultation with a patient about what the procedure physically involves to get their informed consent. That's the thing: consent. Nobody is just "reaching for the old trans-vag stick".
posted by odinsdream at 11:10 AM on February 17, 2012


Yes scody, by the time you were making specific statements about when it is necessary, etc, you were correct. The original statement was wrong, charitable "I knew what it meant" interpretations be damned. And the initial overwhelming reaction against anyone who said "but that doesn't make sense, I actually did this and it was like x" was worse. The eventual clarifications, hundreds of comments later, were correct. But the attitude that "these clarifications are pointless why do we need to care about these details!" is still wrong.

Look at it this way - if the first response to Alia's comment had been "well yea, you don't normally have to have a transvaginal ultrasound before 12 weeks, but the bill requires that the ultrasound establish gestational age, and before 12 weeks a transvaginal ultrasound is almost always the only way to do this" - the whole stupid derail would hopefully never have happened. If you have any interest in reasonable discourse, which might sometimes include people who aren't building from exactly the same set of knowledge as you, let alone ideology, then you may have to be careful about accuracy.
posted by jacalata at 11:40 AM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


koeselitz, I assumed nothing. The gestational age was determined from two different factors, the crown-to-rump size and something else I have forgotten. They were both based on my transabdominal ultrasound results. This was NOT a guess based on when my last period was. I find it disturbing that you are lecturing to me about what can and cannot be determined by transabdominal ultrasound, when I have a very recent very personal experience of such.

Scody has not made a single false statement in this thread. If she has, maybe you can point to where that happened.

koeselitz, I already did point to Scody's false statement. Again: scody very vehemently stated that the VA law required transvaginal ultrasound. It does not.

Prior to that, though, when a woman us only 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 weeks pregnant, transabdominal ultrasound will not provide an image of an embryo.

argonauta, the clock for gestational age starts ticking after a woman's last period. So, "2 weeks pregnant" for all intents and purposes doesn't exist. That would be the moment of conception or even before. Most women don't know they are pregnant until they miss a period. I do not believe the technology even exists for women to know they are pregnant at the first moment of conception. Normally a woman does not miss a period until 4 weeks, and won't have gone in for a confirmation blood test until shortly thereafter.
posted by parrot_person at 12:49 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


koeselitz, I already did point to Scody's false statement. Again: scody very vehemently stated that the VA law required transvaginal ultrasound. It does not.

It does.

Most women don't know they are pregnant until they miss a period. I do not believe the technology even exists for women to know they are pregnant at the first moment of conception. Normally a woman does not miss a period until 4 weeks, and won't have gone in for a confirmation blood test until shortly thereafter.

But you don't need to know that you're pregnant to go to a clinic. If you were raped, or even had unprotected sex, you might want to know immediately.
posted by empath at 12:56 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


The purpose of this bill isn't to inform the patient. It only is to inflict an emotionally assault by physician proxy. The assault involves a womans sex organs and control over her body. This is not medicine it it battery. It is battery on a person that seeks to take control of another's reproductive organs. What crime other than rape would you use to describe the combination of sexual battery and emotional domination of a woman? They are taking her right to control her own body and using it for their own sick sense of moral gratification. I suppose we could call this bill the physician assisted molestation act. We could call it a legislative pimp slap to make every woman a whore act. I think though the make everyone seeking an abortion a rape victim act.
posted by humanfont at 1:00 PM on February 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Correct. This bill is basically analogous to one saying, "all abortions must be surgically invasive and non-anaesthetized." Not medically necessary, potentially harmful to the woman, designed solely to make getting an abortion more difficult and traumatic, but hey! It's all about just having the option out there, right?
posted by Navelgazer at 1:11 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


"I want to point out that actually some 1.5 million American women use the pill for exclusively noncontraceptive purposes."
I finally figured out that Depo Provera keeps me from being a writhing tangle of pain and vomit, as well as saving me sick days (at the rate of 1 day a month). It means I don't turn into a terror of sleepless energy, like a cheetah on Monster drinks, the night before and a hyperventilating dull-eyed zombie the day of (which interestingly is mostly caused also by the period, and not the sleeplessness). It means I don't throw off my whole sleep schedule when the doctor, yet again, tells me to "take Motrin, drink Gatorade, and get some Z's in", as if I didn't already know that that was the best method of passive attack.

I don't even care that much that I bleed every day anyway - because I'm not having, nor am I interested in, having sex! The blood is more like a drippy nose; put a "tissue" under it and, while moderately annoying, it becomes far less of an issue.

So besides birth control being literal "medicine controlling the possibility of birth", it's a life and career saver for some of us. I swear, if I can't get some form of birth control at any point in time in my future, I will lose my shit.
posted by DisreputableDog at 2:29 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


NARAL Prochoice Virginia:
But, if H.B. 462 or a similar mandatory ultrasound bill passes, the majority of women having abortions would likely be required to have what is known as a “transvaginal” ultrasound. More than 80% of abortions occur in the first trimester. Early in a pregnancy, the embryo or fetus is too small to either see or hear a heartbeat on a typical external ultrasound. Therefore, in order to comply with the law the woman will have to be probed with invasive transvaginal ultrasound equipment. The law would not exempt rape survivors from this requirement, nor would it exempt women who are having a medication abortion in the first nine weeks of pregnancy (who have specifically chosen this non-invasive option rather than surgery). Requiring these ultrasounds would not comply with standard medical procedure.
posted by scody at 2:55 PM on February 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


argonauta, the clock for gestational age starts ticking after a woman's last period. So, "2 weeks pregnant" for all intents and purposes doesn't exist. That would be the moment of conception or even before. Most women don't know they are pregnant until they miss a period. I do not believe the technology even exists for women to know they are pregnant at the first moment of conception. Normally a woman does not miss a period until 4 weeks, and won't have gone in for a confirmation blood test until shortly thereafter.

Yes, I am aware of that. I believe that my comments have only referred to the number of weeks past fertilization, per information like that provided by the American Pregnancy Association, which I linked to above, all of which suggests that this law would indeed require transvaginal, not transabdominal, ultrasound prior to Week 7.

Plenty of women seek to terminate a pregnancy before their first missed period. As of 2008, "42% of providers offer very early abortions (before the first missed period)." And plenty of anti-choice advocates argue that even Plan B, which is taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex -- certainly prior to confirmation of pregnancy -- is an abortifacient.

It remains unclear to me how any of these women will be expected to comply with a law that requires that they first view an ultrasound image of a fetus.

(It is more baffling still to imagine how passage of the "Personhood" bill would affect this, since apparently use of an IUD or hormonal birth control bills will also be considered abortions.)
posted by argonauta at 4:29 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


saulgoodman:This is also now the law in Florida (though that doesn't seem to have gotten as much attention somehow), so they'll have to count all those cases as rape too to be faithfully observant of the new rules.

Actually, Florida law at least differs from Virginia's, in that "women who are victims of rape, domestic violence or human sex trafficking...are not required to have an ultrasound when having an abortion."

So even a state with a reputation as Teh Crazy (and I say that as a native-born Floridian) has it more together than Virginia.

I am strongly pro-choice, and this Bill absolutely infuriates me because it puts on unfair onus on the woman, who has to go through an additional, medically unnecessary procedure. But the "transvaginal ultrasounds are rape" argument should really just be dropped. I was a victim of date rape, and I find it over the top myself*. But that's not why you should drop the argument.

The most important reason not to use the "transvaginal ultrasounds are rape" argument is that it doesn't work. They raised that point in VA and the law still passed. Why assume that the mostly-affluent, mostly-white, mostly-men legislators who propose these bills are going to be swayed by what women--many of them young, poor and/or minority women--are going to have to go through to get an abortion? They will never be in that position themselves, and seem to have no empathy for the women who will, so that argument won't work.

Instead, a more *effective* argument would be the additional cost of that ultrasound. For early pregnancies, when it is safest to abort and presumably when we would prefer a woman do so, a course of medication would have been all that was required before. Now we are adding expensive equipment and technicians to the equation. Who is going to pay for that? We're all savvy enough to know that physicians and insurance companies are not going to swallow all the additional costs. Those costs will be passed on to patients, or to the state in the case of indigent or uninsured patients. Point that out; people perk up their ears when they think they are going to have pay more for something, especially when they don't think that they'll personally benefit from that something. So now you'll have the old rich white guys paying attention, at least.

*I had a transvaginal ultrasound to diagnose my Stage III endometriosis. The technician had me insert the device myself, precisely because it is an invasive procedure and potentially traumatic. Though my doctor is extremely respectful and sensitive to the needs of the women he treats--which is why I chose him!--My understanding is that this practice is the norm with transvaginal ultrasounds, not the exception.
posted by misha at 4:31 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Knee-jerk response to Navelgazer's 4th Amendment argument: What??? It's not an f--ing search or seizure! It's f--ing rape! State-mandated rape! What's being searched for or seized? There is something seriously wrong with the Constitution if we need to make such a circuitous argument for why the Virginia law is...just...wrong.

But on the other hand, I think I have a simpler argument: substantive due process under the 5th Amendment. The government can't take away your life, liberty, or property without due process of law, and if I remember correctly there's a line of cases that says there are some liberties the government can't take away at all because to do so would "shock the conscience." If any act of government "shocks the conscience," this one does because...well...state-mandated rape!
posted by inara at 4:44 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Small government: only for males, apparently.
Liberty: only for Christian white males and for fetuses?
posted by bad grammar at 6:08 PM on February 17, 2012


I also wouldn't be surprised if sponsors of the bill have financial ties to companies that produce transvaginal ultrasound equipment. Northern VA is very high-tech.

Women's pocketbooks are being raped, too, though that's only an addition to the essential insult.
posted by bad grammar at 6:17 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


So if life really does begin at conception and conservatives really believed that...

For the record, I am a screaming liberal, and I believe that. And I have had more than one abortion, one with a legally mandated ultrasound. It was unnecessary, because I fully believe the little tiny being is a little tiny human, and I fully understand I am opting to kill it. I am also fully comfortable with this because the alternative - to force me to carry to term a pregnancy I do not want - is literal slavery. I choose safe and legal abortion as the lesser of two evils.

For the people arguing that if abortion were illegal, rates would drop and more, this is incorrect. We've had this discussion on MeFi multiple times, and in future I'll just keep the stats and the cites in a text file to make re-posting them easier. I have lived in Ireland for the past 7 years and abortion is illegal here. Despite this, thousands of women travel to the UK each year to terminate pregnancies. Our abortion rate is functionally on par with that of other first world nations with legal abortion and compatible social systems, like the UK.

Because we also have good social welfare, what's different is our domestic adoption rate for infants. It's near 0. So what we can glean from this is that:

a) Even when illegal, and even with ultrasounds, women seek abortions. People who do not want to have babies really, really do not want to have babies.
b) Of the women who choose to give birth, almost none of them choose to give up their children when provided by a caring society with a basic ability to care for this child.

Making abortion illegal in the US without a social welfare system in place to support, above the poverty level, the children of unplanned pregnancies does nothing but force huge percentages of these women to place children up for adoption, no matter how badly they wish to keep them. So first you enslave women to birth, and then you treat them as production mechanisms for the 1.4 billion dollar adoption industry. I am unclear how this is compatible with American values, let alone liberal or conservative ones. Reproductive enslavement is neither free nor brave; it's Margaret Atwood territory.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:38 PM on February 17, 2012 [22 favorites]


I don't know...it seems to me that if you truly believe that your choices are between "killing" a "little tiny human" or "literal slavery", then there's a very serious problem that is screaming for a better solution than either of those.

I'm not being facetious. If I believed—which I don't—that there was in my country legally sanctioned killing of many thousands of baby humans every month, or that there was legally sanctioned slavery of thousands of women every month, I'd be fighting an insurgency. Not, you know, actually participating in either killing tiny humans or slavery (or being enslaved).

To my mind, there is more than a little bit of disconnect between the rhetoric used by both sides of this debate and how they are actually responding to the problem they perceive in our society. State-sanctioned murder of millions of people on a yearly basis, and/or state-sanctioned slavery of women as baby machines are both very serious fucking crimes against humanity. These are not the kinds of things one signs a petition about, or merely posts to MetaFilter angry comments.

At the very least, if you are a woman who believes that abortion is killing an actual human being, then, no, it's not slavery if you, yourself, decide to carry that "tiny human" to term. So the choice, for yourself, isn't between murder and slavery, it's between murder and something not nearly so serious.

I really, really, really want to find some way to respect this combination of beliefs, but I just can't find a way to do so. The only way in to this that I can find is to see it as the kind of accommodation that people always make in deeply unjust societies. On the one hand, there's a sense that something is morally wrong and there's some explicit reasoning about it. On the other hand, the conventions are so strong, and so unquestioned, that it's basically unthinkable for almost anyone to take the sort of action against the injustice that is suggested by that explicit reasoning. So a sort of incoherent accommodation is made.

I can see, and in some cases agree with, the assumptions and arguments that lead one to say that this is rape, or murder, or slavery. All of those terms are very provocative and for the people who believe otherwise, each one seems "disrespectful" because it seems like both a lie and an implicit accusation. But, in each case, given certain assumptions and following through an argument, then the application of each term is arguably justified. And, more to the point, these arguments all involve moral decisions about vital issues and it's entirely appropriate for people to use morally charged language and to not be afraid to say, yeah, this is deeply and horribly wrong.

But if you're going to do this, and you believe these things, then I think you also have a responsibility to face up to the implications of making those judgements. State-imposed rape? That's pretty fucking serious and not something that should merely be spoken out against. State-sanctioned killing of little tiny humans? Also pretty fucking serious and deserves more than just angry words on a blog. State-sanctioned slavery of women as baby machines? Also pretty fucking serious and deserving of more than just words.

Anything that's worth using this heavily overburdened language about, anything that people spend this much time thinking and worrying and coming to very strong and angry conclusions about which involve such fundamental human rights, is something that is not just an intellectual exercise. It's not just an exercise of personal choice. These are matters which demand action from a human being with a conscience.

So either don't use this kind of language (or re-examine your arguments that it's appropriate) or follow-through on the moral implications of this kind of language.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:12 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


One person's comment is the basis for your entire argument above Ivan Fyodorovich. The rest of us don't fall into your argument at all, and yet, you devoted a lot of vertical real estate to it.

It's not hyperbolic. It's quite simple: this is our version of "virginity tests" by the state authorities. For a certain subset of women this is almost certain to amount, in practice, to sexual degradation imposed by the state as a punishment for sexual activity. I can't speak for the poster above who claims to think abortion is about killing tiny people, as I'm not sure what that person's intentions are, and regardless, they certainly don't speak for me or really anyone else in this thread. But it's still not ambiguous or nuanced, from where I sit.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:30 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


As far as fighting insurgencies, btw, it's not clear to me it makes any moral sense to kill more people even if you sincerely believe abortion is murder. Killing two people doesn't bring one of them back, if the goal is to protect human life. If the goal is punishment, well, that's not exactly an unambiguously virtuous moral aim.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:33 PM on February 17, 2012


you treat them as production mechanisms for the 1.4 billion dollar adoption industry. I am unclear how this is compatible with American values

Seems pretty clear to me.
posted by rtha at 8:37 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


"One person's comment is the basis for your entire argument above Ivan Fyodorovich. The rest of us don't fall into your argument at all, and yet, you devoted a lot of vertical real estate to it."

No, others have used rape and murder. I don't recall anyone else using slavery, but I'd personally be willing to almost call it that if abortion were outlawed. I'm not quite willing to use rape about this law, either, but I'm close.

It's pretty common for pro-lifers to use the words killing and murder. And it's not uncommon for pro-choicers to use slavery and similarly powerful terms.

I'm not taking a position for or against using such charged terms per se. What bothers me is that I don't understand how it is that people either sincerely believe these terms apply but don't do anything about it (other than complain) or that they use these terms without completely meaning them but then get offended when their opposing counterparts do the same.

"As far as fighting insurgencies, btw, it's not clear to me it makes any moral sense to kill more people even if you sincerely believe abortion is murder. Killing two people doesn't bring one of them back, if the goal is to protect human life. If the goal is punishment, well, that's not exactly an unambiguously virtuous moral aim."

That's fine. You're saying that you're inclined to pacifism, which is an entirely defensible position. But I think you're likely aware that many other people believe that it's defensible to use deadly force to prevent things like murder, or genocide, or slavery. Hell, a majority of people seem to be perfectly comfortable with the use of deadly force to prevent the wrong guy from controlling a nation's oil supply. So I'm not sure why something like state-sanctioned murder of millions of babies wouldn't qualify. Or state-sanctioned slavery of millions of women.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:42 PM on February 17, 2012


What is it that makes you think people who use these words do nothing but complain, Ivan? There are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people in the US alone who are fighting on one side of this or the other. That's not just talk. And there certainly are people who have taken that to illegal measures, including bombing and murder.

On the other side, there are lots of people who think that war is murder who do nothing but complain about it, and there were lots of people who thought slavery (and think human trafficking) was terrible who do nothing but complain about it. It's entirely consistent with human behavior.

I do think forced birth is enslavement. It reduces a person body to an object, one which can be compelled to work for another against their will. Slavery as the property of the state is still slavery. I do not "just complain" about it, either.

And I do think that this bill is state-dictated rape for at least some of the women it affects. There's not actually a whole lot I can do about it from Seattle, though.
posted by MadGastronomer at 8:51 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


you treat them as production mechanisms for the 1.4 billion dollar adoption industry. I am unclear how this is compatible with American values

Seems pretty clear to me.


Anyone really interested in the power play between abortion prohibition and the adoption industry should read Rickie Sollinger's book Wake Up Little Susie or Beggars and Choosers. Her historical analyses of reproductive politics in the U.S. are more or less definitive.

She should have been the one scheduled to testify at the hearings.

Here's an excerpt from a synopsis of the second book:
The ideology of choice determines which mothers— and which children— are viewed as “worthy” in the eyes of society. Making “good choices” about whether or when to become a mother— a concept, Solinger notes, that “evokes women shoppers selecting among options in the marketplace”— is an opportunity reserved for women with the right combination of social and economic resources. Women without some or all of these assets— a degree of maturity, a good education and/or marketable job skills, work that pays a living wage, a husband or another dependable source of supplemental income— can only make “bad” choices by expressing their sexuality and fertility. “Bad” women who make “bad” choices—who may be poor, young, unmarried, women of color, or all of the above— have been savagely stigmatized by politicians and pundits as selfish, uncaring mothers whose illegitimate choices jeopardize the health and well-being of their children and society as a whole.
posted by clarknova at 8:51 PM on February 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


empath: "My guess is 'none', because a federal court will put a stay on it before it goes into effect."

Don't count on that.
TX Ultrasound Law to Go into Effect

The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Center for Reproductive Right's request for a rehearing concerning a TX ultrasound law, which will now go into effect immediately. In January, a three judge panel of the Fifth US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to uphold a Texas law requiring that doctors describe ultrasounds in detail and play the sound of the fetal heartbeat, if a heartbeat is present, to women seeking abortions. In doing so, the Fifth Circuit overturned Federal District Court Judge Sam Sparks' August preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the law.

The case was filed by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of Texas medical providers challenging Texas' new abortion ultrasound law. The Center for Reproductive Rights claims that the law violates patients' and doctors' First Amendment Rights by requiring "physicians to violate basic standards of medical ethics by compelling them to disregard the wishes of patients who do not want to receive this information."

Center for Reproductive Rights President and CEO Nancy Northup stated, "Women's fundamental reproductive rights, and the First Amendment rights of their doctors, are now being violated on a daily basis because of this extreme and intrusive law, and it is disappointing that the full court has declined to consider their case."
posted by dejah420 at 9:03 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


"What is it that makes you think people who use these words do nothing but complain, Ivan? There are hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of people in the US alone who are fighting on one side of this or the other. That's not just talk.

Sure. But I don't think voting or protesting is equal to the moral claims being made by the use of these terms. And I certainly didn't say that everyone who uses these terms do nothing more than talk (or vote or protest). But I think it's safe to say that only a very few do more than talk or vote or protest, and I'd bet money that a majority only talk and never protest and rarely, if ever, vote on these issues. So the point is that there's something disproportionate going on.

"On the other side, there are lots of people who think that war is murder who do nothing but complain about it, and there were lots of people who thought slavery (and think human trafficking) was terrible who do nothing but complain about it. It's entirely consistent with human behavior."

It is. I completely agree. But I think that's the problem.

I mean, look: here, on MetaFilter, of all places, and in this thread of all places, I think it's likely that many of us agree that this sort of discourse matters. It's not just some form of casual amusement. (It is for some, of course.) What I've never really understood in my entire life is how it is that people have strong beliefs, and express them strongly...and that's it. I recognize that partly this is just a continuing example of me being a little confused by people being irrational and inconsistent. But it is genuinely confusing to me because when I talk to people about things like this that they both deeply believe and have thought about and talked about a lot, it's usually pretty clear that this really matters to them. But then, at the same time, so much else in their lives is not in accordance with this really mattering to them.

Now, yeah, we are irrational and inconsistent and we have beliefs and express them and, really, at the subconscious level, these are often (or usually) more markers of social identity than they are things which are integrated into our active goals and behaviors and such. As I get older, I understand this a little better all the time.

But when this breaks down for me is when people actually get in each other's faces, and accuse each other of terrible things, accuse each other of being complicit in terrible things, accuse each other of being bad people, because they don't agree about these things that they feel so strongly about. So it's somehow okay to not only have and speak about these beliefs in such terms that it implies that one has a responsibility to do something practical about them but not actually do anything practical about them, which is one thing, but it's also apparently okay to provoke other people, make them angry, publicly accuse them, incite others against them. Oh, also, even if that's okay, it's never okay for the other guy to do that to you, or your allies. That's always wrong and totally beyond the pale.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:07 PM on February 17, 2012


No, sometimes people are happy at engaging with you at a human level, participating in the social dialog, telling their stories, sincerely expressing their values, etc etc and despite being pleasant and forthright they're still fucking awful. Give no one the benefit of the doubt. If they have a right to state a horrid opinion you have the right to challenge them.
posted by clarknova at 9:25 PM on February 17, 2012


I've been trying to find a way to express my concern about this massive rollback of women's rights and I just can't find an entry. The entire campaign is misogynist garbage led by patriarchs lobbied by pacs funded by bishops and titans who have control of the masses in mind. It's as stupid and backward as 'keep them barefoot and pregnant.' It's infuriating and humiliating and it is none of any of those legislatures' or financier's or other men's business. This is not men's business. Unless you're the doctor or the father, what you think is not important.

I don't know how we got back here. It won't stop at once again criminalizing abortion. Next--the handwriting is already on the wall--will be criminalizing birth control. Yes, laugh. But twenty years ago, who would have believe the mess this is today. It is so clear that birth control and maternal health and education are the key factors in raising society out of poverty and into a higher quality of life and productivity, yet we seem determined to oppress women. Why?

Women who want abortions will still have them and women who can't amass the few thousand dollars will have unwanted children just as the very poor do now and some of those children and those women will be abused and killed and others will grow up and kill other children with guns on the street, every day, every weekend.

Those babies won't be adoptable; they won't have that happy fantasy. Even if somebody loves them they live brutal lives and if they survive, they're lucky if they graduate high school and escape prison.Who pays for this? These are the people politicians love to hate. These are poor women and children and nobody cares what happens to them. I am so sick of this being tolerated in this country.

Leave women's reproductive decisions to the women and their doctors. Keep the government out of it.
posted by Anitanola at 9:29 PM on February 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


What is it, exactly, that you think people ought to be doing, then?

There are people trying to take away or prevent from being realized my rights and my partner's rights in a number of spheres. Right now, they are attacking me through legal means, and so it is through legal means that I resist them. If they succeed in removing my legal right to bodily integrity, then I may look to extra-legal action, to helping to distribute birth control illegally, to helping safe abortion providers provide services, to transporting people who need abortions to places where they can get them. But what, exactly, is it you think I should be doing right now? I am not going to kill anti-choicers out of hand. That would be wrong.
posted by MadGastronomer at 9:35 PM on February 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, obviously, forced-birth advocates have every right to speak up and say whatever they like. But so do I. And yes, I do think they're bad and awful for wanting to take away my right to bodily autonomy, and for saying so. Because, you know, i think they're wrong, and doing something horrible, to me and to a lot of other people. How is it inconsistent that I want them to stop saying and doing these things?
posted by MadGastronomer at 9:41 PM on February 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


MegaDittos, MadGastronomer.

MegaDittos.
posted by clarknova at 10:26 PM on February 17, 2012


I don't know how we got back here. It won't stop at once again criminalizing abortion. Next--the handwriting is already on the wall--will be criminalizing birth control.

Where is the figurehead? Where is the female version of Martin Luther King? We need her NOW.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:14 AM on February 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I actually think that the slavery analogy is pretty apt, but it's hard to see that unless you've actually had a child yourself.
posted by Go Banana at 6:51 AM on February 18, 2012 [4 favorites]



I don't know how we got back here. It won't stop at once again criminalizing abortion. Next--the handwriting is already on the wall--will be criminalizing birth control.


Virginia is already in the process of this with the personhood bill. I'm screwed if it happens, I use a Mirena IUD to stop the endometrial hyperplasia from getting worse and turning into cancer. I'm already a cancer survivor (kidney) I don't need to fight another type!
posted by SuzySmith at 10:13 AM on February 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Again, no matter how many times it's said, I can't stress this enough: the personhood bills and other gambits to end abortion are attempts to open up a new supply chain of white, American babies that can be bought and sold on the adoption market.

And again I recommend reading Rickie Solinger. This is the way it was in the 40s and 50s, and the adoption industry and its ideological allies long for a return to those times.

Here's a video of her discussing how traumatising it was for women, and how the system of exploitation worked: Part 1   Part 2

It looks like YouTube user adoptionoption has a lot of videos of this type.
posted by clarknova at 11:48 AM on February 18, 2012


At the very least, if you are a woman who believes that abortion is killing an actual human being, then, no, it's not slavery if you, yourself, decide to carry that "tiny human" to term. So the choice, for yourself, isn't between murder and slavery, it's between murder and something not nearly so serious.

I really, really, really want to find some way to respect this combination of beliefs, but I just can't find a way to do so.


I don't find it difficult to reconcile the concept that it could be both literal killing, and literal slavery. I don't happen to believe it's killing, but for the sake of argument let's say it was.

The method by which our species reproduces is well understood. Humans with the capability to reproduce must carry the fetus, an act which can be extremely dangerous at worst, severely inconvenient at best.

If we also agree that humans should have authority over their own body, something I also don't find controversial, you must allow for abortions. Even if you were to allow that abortions were literally murder, the logical way out of this is to simply accept that, given the way our species reproduces, murder of this specific type is necessary to preserve one's autonomy.

The other way out, of course, is forcing humans capable of reproducing to carry to term, against their wishes, even given that they may die in the process.

This is why I don't happen to think it's helpful to frame it as murder even if you literally believe it's the taking of a life. The legal system that operates around murder already makes multiple types of distinctions based on the kind of killing that occurs. There's no reason we shouldn't do the same for this circumstance, if that's where we want to go.

It's as if the whole "how our species must reproduce" thing gets side-stepped entirely for some odd reason.
posted by odinsdream at 12:36 PM on February 18, 2012


Poll finds most Virginians oppose changes in abortion, gun laws
posted by crunchland at 1:20 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ivan Fydorovich, while I understand what you're trying to say, I would like to drily point out that people who are doing something about their beliefs (or at least anything strongly in line with their level of speech) are not going to brag about it on a website, or at least they wouldn't be doing it for more than a millisecond.

For the rest of you, screaming at people who disagree over definitions (murder, rape) when they support the same law/result you want just make you look like jackasses. Really, do we have thought crime now? (all typos in this post brought to you c/o smartphone)
posted by thelastcamel at 7:39 PM on February 21, 2012


VA Governor Bob McDonnell: 'No Woman In Virginia Will Have To Undergo A Transvaginal Ultrasound Involuntarily'
posted by crunchland at 12:08 PM on February 22, 2012


VA Governor Bob McDonnell: 'No Woman In Virginia Will Have To Undergo A Transvaginal Ultrasound Involuntarily'

I'm very heartened to see evidence of a legislator who is anti-choice and willing to stand up to wholesale infringement of women's bodily integrity. That press release is sane, thoughtful and well-reasoned.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:45 PM on February 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Meeeh. Even the trans abdominal ultrasound requirement is bullshit, frankly.
posted by empath at 12:51 PM on February 22, 2012


in order to establish the gestational age for appropriate medical purposes

Determining gestational age is essential for legal reasons, to know the trimester of the pregnancy in order to comply with the law, and for medical reasons as well.

...such as?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:07 PM on February 22, 2012


Determining gestational age is essential for legal reasons, to know the trimester of the pregnancy in order to comply with the law, and for medical reasons as well.

...such as?

IdealImpulse explained the medical reasons in this comment upthread.
posted by epj at 2:24 PM on February 22, 2012


Why Patriarchal Men Are Utterly Petrified of Birth Control -- And Why We'll Still Be Fighting About it 100 Years From Now
posted by mrgrimm at 2:45 PM on February 22, 2012


"Quite frankly, I'm embarrassed today to be a legislator in a state that would take us back decades when it comes to women's reproductive health care," said House Minority leader Terie Norelli.

- "[New Hampshire] House Passes Contraception Resolution"

"A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that Washington state cannot require pharmacists to dispense emergency contraceptives if to do so violates their religious beliefs."
posted by mrgrimm at 2:49 PM on February 22, 2012


Contraception coverage fights spread to states
posted by mrgrimm at 2:50 PM on February 22, 2012


"The reason we’ve had a fight over the so-called contraception mandate is because we’re the only wealthy nation in which group health coverage can be obtained only from your employer. If individuals were able to buy group coverage outside the employment setting — without risk of being denied coverage or priced out of the market due to preexisting conditions — this entire blowup would never have happened, because the idea of requiring employers to offer specific kinds of coverage would be irrelevant. To avoid this in the future, and to free American business to focus on competing with China and India rather than on administering a corporate welfare state, do you support moving beyond employer-based health coverage? If so, how specifically would you propose we get there?"

- "The missing contraception question"
posted by mrgrimm at 2:52 PM on February 22, 2012


"The beauty of the current birth-control conversation for Democrats is that they not only have public opinion on their side but have cannily managed to make contraception a front-burner election-year campaign issue -- by complaining that Republicans are making it front-burner election-year campaign issue."
posted by mrgrimm at 2:56 PM on February 22, 2012


Republicans should put an Bayer Asprin between their lips. It is really cheap and it works every time you need to stop saying stupid things.
posted by humanfont at 3:17 PM on February 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


McDonnell, Virginia Republicans back off mandatory invasive ultrasounds "On Wednesday, citing concerns over that intrusiveness, McDonnell (R), an abortion opponent who had repeatedly said he would sign the bill, asked state lawmakers to amend the measure. House members approved the governor’s amendments, but the bill’s Republican sponsor in the Senate said she would try to pull the measure for the session, leaving it in doubt."
posted by crunchland at 6:22 PM on February 22, 2012


The instructions said to wait. Don’t pack a bag. Don’t tell anyone. Don’t plan for childcare. Nothing bad will happen. Just wait. Pretend nothing is amiss. We come to you.

"ILU-486"
posted by kagredon at 6:48 PM on February 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


That was a good story, kagredon, and its dystopia seemed perfectly parallel to the trajectory of current events.

Up until I read "free natal care". I can't suspend my disbelief that far.
posted by clarknova at 3:54 AM on February 23, 2012


‘Personhood’ bill killed for this year by Virginia Senate
posted by homunculus at 7:51 PM on February 23, 2012


I'm kind of baffled by these reversals. I don't imagine that they are really due to the extra scrutiny and media attention. It's all so weird.
posted by crunchland at 8:38 PM on February 23, 2012


The 'powers that be' in the GOP are seeing these poll numbers.

They don't want to talk about contraception, they want to talk about abortion.
posted by empath at 8:47 PM on February 23, 2012


Well, not if you listen to Rush Limbaugh. He doesn't want to talk about any of it. He thinks the GOP should be concentrating on a fight they can win -- the economy, and although it's showing signs of recovery, he thinks that every minute the candidates spend on social issues is a moment that alienates a) women, and b) independents. Of course, he also thinks that the whole contraception distraction was triggered by a question Stephanapolis asked, out of the blue, weeks and weeks ago. He further suggests that George is in cahoots with Obama, who instructed him to cause the distraction. He claims that it's the Democrats who are fixated on social issues, not the conservatives.

Yeah, I know. Limbaugh is crazy, but he's got a lot of sway with the Right's base, and that counts for something.
posted by crunchland at 8:53 PM on February 23, 2012


Aaaaand, Pennsylvania's bill would an ultrasound 24 hours ahead of time, requires the screen to be placed so that the woman can see it (But she's allowed to look away. Um.).
posted by Pax at 4:40 PM on February 27, 2012


The end of the Blunt amendment: The birth control proposal dies in the Senate as new battle lines emerge between the GOP and Obama
posted by homunculus at 11:41 AM on March 2, 2012


And, needless to say, Rush has done a 180 from a week ago. Now he can't talk about anything but contraceptives.
posted by crunchland at 12:28 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, not if you listen to Rush Limbaugh. He doesn't want to talk about any of it.

...

needless to say, Rush has done a 180 from a week ago. Now he can't talk about anything but contraceptives.

Seriously, this Rush Limbaugh doesn't want to talk about any of it? The one who called Sandra Fluke a slut?

I would be more than a little pissed off if the Moral Majority weren't fucking over the GOP royally.

"If Mitt Romney and a few Republican senators get their way, employers could be making women’s health care decisions for them." - Employer Authorization for Contraception.

Oh my, what an election year LOSER. If it weren't affecting women so negatively, I would be gleeful.

"President Obama called Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke on Friday to offer her words of encouragement amid a controversy involving Rush Limbaugh's words toward her."

Let's hope Ms. Fluke stays in the public eye.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:31 PM on March 2, 2012


I imagine he can relate. I think the guy's an authoritarian warmonger and a weak-willed appeaser of financial gangsters, but occasionally he can warm my heart.
posted by clarknova at 3:35 AM on March 3, 2012


I imagine he can relate. I think the guy's an authoritarian warmonger and a weak-willed appeaser of financial gangsters, but occasionally he can warm my heart.

And thus his lasting appeal. It's also the fact that he's non-beholdened (word?) to the Christian Right, at least in theory and in simple practice. That is huge.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:49 AM on March 5, 2012


Doonesbury Pulled Over Rick Perry’s Transvaginal Exams
posted by homunculus at 1:43 PM on March 12, 2012


On the upside, Texas has done such a fantastic job of eliminating sources of health care for un- and under-insured women, that any woman who wants an abortion will almost certainly have to cross state lines in order to get transvaginally examined!
posted by rtha at 3:16 PM on March 12, 2012


Arizona Senate Committee Endorses 'Tell Your Boss Why You’re On The Pill' Bill
posted by mrgrimm at 10:13 AM on March 15, 2012


Donate to organizations fighting to preserve women's reproductive rights.

US:
NARAL (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League)
Center for Reproductive Rights
Choice USA
Catholics for Choice
Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health

International:
IPAS (International Pregnancy Advisory Services)
posted by crunchland at 11:20 AM on March 15, 2012


« Older One Minnesota union's tongue-in-cheek response to ...   |   Hey New York, take your Centra... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments