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Although my blog is usually about me or my son or our life’s trials and tribulations, I cannot help but digress today. If you haven’t heard about the numerous legislative attacks on women’s rights to make decisions regarding their own reproductive health, then you must have your head buried in the sand. As more and more news comes to light, I become increasingly mortified by the direction that our nation is going on issues of women’s health.
For those who are unaware, there has been a trend among state legislatures to require ultrasound exams for women seeking an abortion. According to the Guttmacher Institute:
- 11 states require verbal counseling or written materials to include information on accessing ultrasound services.
- 20 states regulate the provision of ultrasound by abortion providers.
- 7 states mandate that an abortion provider perform an ultrasound on each woman seeking an abortion, and require the provider to offer the woman the opportunity to view the image.
- 9 states require that a woman be provided with the opportunity to view an ultrasound image if her provider performs the procedure as part of the preparation for an abortion.
5 states require that a woman be provided with the opportunity to view an ultrasound image.*
Let’s put aside for the moment the fact that many women who plan to carry a fetus to term opt out of ultrasounds for various reasons, including some scientific evidence that they may actually be harmful to the fetus.
Let’s forget about the fact that these state governments are requiring doctors to perform a medically unnecessary procedure on patients who may not have consented to the procedure.
Let’s not even consider the fact that women who do not have health insurance may not be able to pay for the ultrasound procedure, and may therefore end up carrying the fetus to term, resulting in economic discrimination that perpetuates poverty among the lower class. The ones who can least afford financially to raise a child are the ones that may be forced to do just that, while their wealthier counterparts will not.
Let’s put all of those things aside for a moment, and consider this.
These laws carry the underlying implication that I, as a woman, simply do not have as much knowledge as you (the government), and that if I did, there is no way I could choose a different course of action or come to a different conclusion. This is the epitome of arrogance. To the legislators and governors who have passed and are considering these measures, I say this:
It is not that women are uninformed about the realities of abortion. It is that we are MORE informed than the government about the realities of our own lives.
And I pose this question to you:
What if, even after being forced to undergo a medically unnecessary procedure, seeing and hearing the heart beat of the fetus, and being told of all the risks of abortion, a woman decides, nonetheless, that abortion is the right decision for her? What then? What next step will you propose? Clearly you think that women are not capable of making educated, well-thought out choices for themselves with respect to their own bodies and the lives of any possible future children. Where does the line get drawn? Have you even considered that, after being forced to undergo an unnecessary medical procedure, and after being “counseled” about the risks of abortion, many women will still opt to have the procedure?
The level of arrogance and intrusion that spew from the mouths of governors like Virginia’s Bob McDonnell are simply staggering. Governor McDonnell, in an interview with National Review Online’s Jim Geraghty, said this about his state’s forced ultrasound law, which he signed yesterday:
“Informed consent is required for every invasive medical procedure, from getting your ears pierced to having an abortion.”
Let’s ignore the fact that he just compared having an abortion to getting your ears pierced. Does anyone else see the undeniable hypocrisy of that statement? If informed consent is required for every invasive medical procedure, and even for procedures as simple as getting your ears pierced, who the hell is he to tell me that I will be forced to undergo a medical procedure, i.e. an ultrasound, without my consent?!? It simply defies all sense of logic, humanity, and ethics to force women (or men, for that matter) to undergo a medical procedure, period.
I don’t know where this country is headed if laws like this are passing at such an alarming rate. I don’t know where this country is headed if women who speak up about their rights to make decisions regarding their own reproductive health are publicly slandered and called “sluts” and “prostitutes” (Google “Sandra Fluke and Rush Limbaugh” if you don’t know what I’m talking about.). I don’t know where this country is heading if conservative, white men are allowed to continue making critical decisions regarding women’s health. What I do know is this: I cannot stand idly by and not speak out about what is happening. Please spread this message far and wide so that more women (and men!) will become aware of the unprecedented attacks on women’s rights that are happening all over the country. Let’s unite, speak out, run for office, protest, write blogs…do whatever we can and whatever we have to to let the government know that this will not be tolerated any longer!