Government-Mandated Rape in Virginia

Many Virginians are just now realizing the full horror of the mandatory ultrasound bill that the General Assembly is considering. I call it government-mandated rape. Some may think this is exaggeration – I don’t because it is forced penetration. Virginia Republicans and anti-choice Democrats apparently have no shame when it comes to violating women’s lives.

This bill would mandate that a woman considering abortion have an ultrasound whether or not she wants or needs one, to determine the gestation age of the fetus. It would then give the woman the option to view the ultrasound before her abortion.

Since most abortions occur early in pregnancy, at 12 weeks or less, a transvaginal ultrasound must be used to get a glimpse of the fetus, which at 5-6 weeks is smaller than a grain of rice and at 12 weeks is the size of a bean. This requires that a probe be inserted into the vagina to take the image. So there wouldn’t be any question about what “probe” and “vagina” mean, Tarina Keene of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia passed out a depiction of a transvaginal ultrasound to the committee debating this. So – if these anti-government regulation legislators were paying attention – they should understand what they are mandating doctors and women to do, based on the premise of “informed consent.”

Democratic Del. David Englin said the bill represents a level of government intrusion that “shocks the conscience.”

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.

Too many legislators hold women’s choices and needs in low esteem. Republican Del. Todd Gilbert of Shenandoah said, “We hear the same song over there. The very tragic human notes that are often touched upon involve extreme examples. But in the vast majority of these cases, these are matters of lifestyle convenience.” He later retracted his statement.

There’s more. The personhood bill – which would grant legal rights to fertilized eggs – is advancing. It seeks to ban safe, legal abortion in all circumstances and threatens women’s access to birth control. And a bill is moving forward to end funding for women on Medicaid who need an abortion because the fetus is so terribly deformed physically or mentally that it will not survive. It sounds like it’s open season on women.

Virginia NOW continues to fight these bills and to represent the values of respect for women’s lives and the dignity of all people.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Madeline, Milwaukee, WI
    Feb 17, 2012 @ 14:25:30

    When VA women decide how to protest this, please let those of us not in Virginia know so we can help. The more people that know about it, the better. This abomination cannot be allowed to stand.

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  2. fatvegancommie
    Feb 19, 2012 @ 10:12:52

    are any direct actions planned? and i echo the commenter above. how can out of staters help?

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  3. Theo Andres, Edgewood, NM
    Feb 21, 2012 @ 16:10:03

    I completely support Madeline in Wisconsin on this outrageous bill. And I’ll happily spread the word among friends in New Mexico, USA.

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  4. arina van Breda
    Feb 21, 2012 @ 22:35:34

    I rejoined NOW after a lapse of many years to help protest and reverse the anti-women actioons of the Virgina legislature and governor. Please NOW organize protests so that the representatives who voted for these bills will understand that the women of this state won’t tolerate them. If you organize, we will come.

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