Unconscionable: Virginia lawmakers’ trans-vaginal ultrasound bill

Aaron Gonzalez

I think George Carlin hit the nail on the head back in 1996: “Boy, these conservatives are really something, aren’t they? They’re all in favor of the unborn. They will do anything for the unborn. But once you’re born, you’re on your own… No neonatal care, no day care, no head start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing… Conservatives don’t give a sh*t about you until you reach military age… They’re not pro-life. You know what they are? They’re anti-woman… They believe a woman’s primary role is to function as a brood mare for the state.”

Some people might have thought that he was overreacting, but then came a new bill in Virginia this year that vindicates Carlin.

Following the Texas model of abortion laws (which exist outside rational thought), Virginia hopes to pass two bills that challenge the principles of privacy upheld by Roe v. Wade. The first bill is a “personhood” statute, which in a nutshell says that once any microscopic egg is fertilized it becomes a human life.

This idea shouldn’t be too foreign to people here, as South Dakota seems to have an anti-abortion ballot or bill almost every year  (probably out of boredom).

This comes from the idea that “life begins at conception.” Given the language of people like Rick Santorum and others, perhaps Bill Maher was right when he said that these people might as well believe that “life begins at erection.” The personhood idea is nothing new, but the other bill is  jaw-dropping.

The other pending bill would require all women seeking an abortion to have a vaginal probe (trans-vaginal ultrasound)  in order to attempt to hear a heartbeat or see the fetus/embryo.

Why not the traditional ultrasound? Well, as the Guttmacher Institute studies show, 88 percent of all abortions take place within the first 10 to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Before that point, the embryo/fetus is so small and malformed (like a detachable pencil eraser) that in order to even find it the doctor must use a steel flashlight/scanner.

This, of course, concerns only the fertilized eggs that managed to attach to the uterus and become fetuses, as menstruation tends to flush out most fertilized eggs (or “babies”) a woman may have had.

There is no medical necessity to have this procedure, and so far in the debates in the Virginia legislature no effort has been made to prove it is needed. Yet if Virginia (and Texas) codes on rape are correct, then forcing women to have unwanted invasions of their privacy constitute rape. Not to mention that such a forced procedure violates a doctor’s Hippocratic Oath.

But it isn’t about practical or rational reasons, but rather the contempt and condescension towards women. Virginia state delegate, Todd Gilbert (R), said it all when he said, “the vast majority of [abortion] cases are matters of lifestyle convenience… We think that in matters of lifestyle convenience and in other matters that it is right to be fully informed about what she is doing.” He later apologized for calling abortion a “lifestyle convenience,” but the message is clear about what he and others do believe.

That’s the idea. Women simply think of abortion just like they do shoe shopping. It is up to the all-knowing man and conservative big government (a paradox?) to straighten out these obvious descendants of that dubious Eve and educate them. As one Republican delegate said about the intrusiveness of the probing, women already made the decision to be “vaginally penetrated when they got pregnant.”

Anyone who thinks that women think of an abortion as something simple and without consequence is clearly foolish, or they’re “anti-woman.”

This law and similar ones have nothing to do with education or well-being, but instill women with guilt over a decision that they already know has so much gravity.

Let’s give women some credit. They aren’t as stupid as right-wingers think.

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1 Response

  1. Mike says:


    I appreciate that you think through your articles and present some background for your beliefs, but I believe you have missed the central issue. These people consider this to be murder and like most people in society they are against murder. Your version or definition of murder does not include abortion, but theirs does. I think by you trying to deflect this as merely being anti-women than you are being narrow-minded yourself. I too have thought about the paradox of government regulation over abortion and conservative desires for smaller government; however, if you view this from the criminal perspective, it makes perfect sense. Conservatives are more concerned about collective security and this fits into that because in their opinion this is murder, unless the mother’s health is severely impeded or in cases of rape. I usually hear even anti-abortion activists claiming that those two scenarios are alright. I believe our country needs to figure this issue out because it is extremely divisive, but I believe trivializing one side’s perspective is the wrong way to go about it. Finally, many, in my opinion, decide that having children is not right for them at a certain point in their life. I am perfectly alright with this; however, if you consider abortion to be murder, then she is deciding to kill something for “convenience”. It is obviously not like a decision of whether to buy shoes, but if you have a real belief that abortion=murder, then that is merely a choice of convenience. I know that you do not agree, but look at things from another perspective, just like you are asking those conservatives to do. Just like I am saying that you need to understand their side, they need to understand your perspective and other feminist views just like it.

    Not a bad article, just needs to look at other perspectives.

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