Coathanger Lobby update: rape of women now required by the State of Texas.

[TRIGGER WARNING: DISCUSSION OF RAPE, GRAPHIC IMAGES]

No doubt much fallout will be seen in the days, weeks, months and years ahead about Texas’s mandatory ultrasound law, which requires doctors to perform invasive and completely unnecessary sonograms on women seeking abortions and then describe what they see, whether doctors or patients desire any of this or not.  Immediately after the law was enacted in the spring, opponents sought and obtained on Constitutional grounds an injunction preventing the statute from going into effect.  Yesterday, that injunction was overturned on appeal, which means the law may now take effect as soon as Thursday.  Loyal readers are no doubt well aware of the Palace’s official position on such epic douchehattery, but may not be aware of some rather some interesting and pertinent factoids.

I have not yet read the legal briefs or the appellate court opinion to verify this, but according to The Texas Tribune opponents of the law argued their case based on the violation of First Amendment rights…of doctors.

The measure has been in court almost since it passed, with opponents arguing it violates doctors’ First Amendment rights by forcing them to disclose information that isn’t medically necessary and that the woman may not want to hear.

According to the appellate judges’ opinion, “the required disclosures of a sonogram, the fetal heartbeat, and their medical descriptions are the epitome of truthful, non-misleading information.”

Now I’m not arguing that forcing doctors to say things does not implicate First Amendment concerns:  clearly it does.  But there is ample precedent for doing so in the laws governing informed consent.  It appears that the judges easily adopted the same rationale.  If that is really the key basis on which the legal opposition hinges, then overturning the injunction and justifying the law was as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.  With a shotgun.  (It is Texas, after all.)

As you may have guessed, I have a different concern:  that of the State of Texas forcing doctors to rape abortion patients.  Yes, rape.

88% of abortions in the United States occur at the gestational stage of 12 weeks or less (pdf).  At this point the fetus is so tiny that an ultrasound performed through the woman’s abdomen frequently cannot produce a clear image; thus a transvaginal ultrasound is necessary, as it produces a greatly enhanced image.

For the (fortunate) uninitiated, this procedure is performed by inserting a “probe” into the vagina:

Artist representation of Texas healthcare provider raping woman.

I’ll let the National Institutes of Health briefly narrate the process for you:

How to Prepare for the Test

You will be asked to undress, usually from the waist down. A transvaginal ultrasound is done with your bladder empty or partially filled.

How the Test is Performed

You will lie down on a table with your knees bent and feet in holders called stirrups. The health care provider will place a probe, called a transducer, into the vagina. The probe is covered with a condom and a gel. The probe sends out sound waves, which reflect off body structures. A computer receives these waves and uses them to create a picture. The doctor can immediately see the picture on a nearby TV monitor.

The health care provider will move the probe within the area to see the pelvic organs. This test can be used during pregnancy.

How the Test Will Feel

The test is usually painless, although some women may have mild discomfort from the pressure of the probe. Only a small part of the probe is placed into the vagina.

The reason the NIH can say that “only a small part of the probe is placed into the vagina” is because it must be long enough to penetrate right up against the cervix and still provide an adequate grip for the technician to hold and manipulate.  Here are a few transvaginal transducers (you can get a pretty good idea of the size by noting the hand grip, looking at your own fist, and calculating from there):

So to recap:  what we have in Texas now is the medically unnecessary, forcible penetration of a woman’s vagina with a phallus-shaped instrument, without her consent.  That is rape.

Needless to say, the Forced Birth Brigades are ecstatic:

“Today’s Fifth Circuit decision recognizes that the Texas sonogram law falls well within the state’s authority to regulate abortions and require informed consent from patients before they undergo an abortion procedure,” [Texas Attorney General Greg] Abbott added.

Gov. Rick Perry also praised today’s ruling, calling it “a victory for all who stand in defense of life.”

He added that the sonogram measure “ensures that every Texas woman seeking an abortion has all the facts about the life she is carrying, and understands the devastating impact of such a life-ending decision.”

Considering that over 60% of women seeking abortions in the U.S. are already mothers (pdf) — and I think we can safely presume that the rest are showing up at an abortion clinic because they wish to terminate their pregnancies — that is some seriously patronizing bullshit.  (“Silly wimminz!  You clearly do not understand how your own vagina and uterus work, so we must ‘splain it to you.  Now lie back, spread your legs and just relax…”)

Hey, I know!  Maybe we can get the Texas Attorney General to prosecute Rick Perry and the legislators who passed the law for rape!  Oh, wait:

The ruling “upholds the will of the people of Texas,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said in a prepared statement.

If that is true, then the people of Texas are ginormous assholes.  So large, in fact, that they appear to be in urgent need of transducer probes shoved up their rectums in what would almost certainly be a futile attempt to locate their heads.

In a stroke of rich irony, the Texas law exempts women who have already been raped from the ultrasound requirement.  This should put to bed the lie that that law has anything whatsoever to do with informed consent — unless proponents are seriously going to argue that rape victims are undeserving of “truthful, non-misleading information.”  It also puts to bed the lie that the law is not intended to do anything more than punish and violate women whose “crime” is to have sex that results in an unwanted pregnancy:  if this is all so harmless and necessary, why on Earth would they exempt rape victims?

It’s because they know it’s traumatizing.  They know it’s rape.  And they could not be more thrilled about that.

4 thoughts on “Coathanger Lobby update: rape of women now required by the State of Texas.

  1. Is this a fucking joke?

    This is the kind of thing that if we read about it happening in some Third World country, we’d shake our heads and cluck our tongues and talk about those poor backwards people. Female circumcision? Why, that’s barbaric! A human rights violation! Don’t those stupid heathens know that a woman’s body parts are her own! We would *never* condone such a thing here in 21st Century America! Yes, we unnecessarily ram, under penalty of law, a long, electrified, vibrating, sound wave-producing dildo into the vaginas of unvolunteering, emotionally-stressed woman. But that’s free speech, silly! And it upholds the will of the ginormous assholes of Texas!

    Words cannot begin to describe how happy I am that I moved out of the hellish state years ago…

  2. Who pays for this forced sonogram? State or individual?

    The rape victim part probably requires proof of rape, like an indictment, arrest, or something other than just a “I got raped”. This incest/rape exception is a deception to assuage the guilt of the legislative probers.

    If men bore children, we would not be talking about this.

  3. Who pays for this forced sonogram? State or individual?

    State’s not going to pay.

    The rape victim part probably requires proof of rape, like an indictment, arrest, or something other than just a “I got raped”.

    “Proof of rape.” Hahaha. What was she wearing? Was she drinking? How late was she out? Did she have consensual sex with the person before? Then it wasn’t rape.

    And I don’t think they feel any guilt at all.

  4. I’m not surprised…this is Texas after all. Look who the current and previous governor. How in the fuck did this state go from Ann Richards to these numbnuts? My wife is from Texas and she has been hanging her head in shame now for quite some time. This is just the latest in a long line of women’s reproductive rights violations. Next, they’ll pass Ron Paul’s “Sanctity Of Life” act. You know, Mr. “no big government unless it involves vaginas”?

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