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The War Against Women

[ 101 ] February 17, 2012 |

As soon as Virginia’s Mandatory Rape Law was passed by the House of Delegates, a great column by a particular Virginia resident was inevitable, and sure enough:

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.

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. I guess they were all out of scarlet letters in Richmond.

Definitely read the whole thing,

Comments (101)

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  1. Kyle says:

    More of that Republican ‘limited government’.

    • Charlie Sweatpants says:

      I really miss George Carlin:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4XrkO1c0X8&t=15m25s

      “Let’s get back to Ronald Reagan and his criminal gang. When last we left them, they were going to get government off our backs. Yeah, but when it comes to abortion they don’t mind government being in a woman’s uterus do they? Yeah, backs are no good, but uteruses, ok by them.”

      That was 1988. He would’ve had a field day with these people.

      • elm says:

        Aaron Sorkin said it well, too: “I like you guys who want to reduce the size of government and make it just small enough
        so it can fit in our bedrooms!”

  2. thebewilderness says:

    This will have the desired effect on doctors throughout the state.
    Abortion will continue to be perfectly legal but no doctor will offer it.
    Except the sadists like Ron Paul.

  3. Honorable Bob says:

    So….what you’re saying is that women who have already consented to being cut and scraped, vaginally vacuumed, etc. should be outraged at this as some kind of intrusion?

    Really??

    Perhaps we should all be outraged at the hospital that takes a blood sample before abdominal surgery as well….OH, the horror!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Great, I trust you will be enthusiastically supporting a law requiring rectal exams for all men who want viagra prescriptions.

      • lesley says:

        hey anonymous you beat me to it..and hey, bob, i think there is an issue of consenting to the termination (not all of those require the procedure you cite) as opposed to the total lack of consent in the ultrasound. the ultrasound serves no medical purpose, merely a moralistic agenda. i sincerely hope at some point in your life you are forced to undergo an invasive procedure for no purpose, other than to satisfy a particular political platform.

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          Being a conservative means never understanding the concept of consent…

          • Walt says:

            The truth of this observation is one of the most startling things I’ve learned from observing conservatives on the Internet.

            • Malaclypse says:

              I love that Lithwick even anticipated our troll’s stupidity:

              Proponents seem to be of the view that once a woman has allowed a man to penetrate her body once, her right to bodily autonomy has ended.

          • Honorable Bob says:

            Being a liberal means never having to tell the truth. You can always cite Alinsky when caught.

          • DrDick says:

            No, being conservative means being objectively pro-rape, pro-domestic abuse, and pro-discrimination. Let’s not put any lipstick on this particularly hideous swine.

          • Being a conservative means never understanding the concept of consent…

            Oh, they understand it all right. They understand consent quite clearly when the question is about ponying up money to help the poor, or to cover the costs they impose on the health care system.

            The irrelevance of consent is a special exception they’ve created for women and their bodies.

            • elm says:

              You’re just plain wrong on this joe: their lack of understanding of consent also played out in the torture and electronic surveillance issues, neither of which specifically related to women and their bodies. Republicans really are that stupid on this concept.

              • BradP says:

                Those aren’t a matter of what constitutes consent, but a matter of when authorities are not required to obtain consent.

                • elm says:

                  I think some of that was going on, but I also think that some conservatives did not get the meaning (or importance) of consent. Some argued that waterboarding couldn’t be torture because we waterboarded SEALs in their training and that eavesdropping on cell phone calls couldn’t be illegal surveillance because people talked so damn loudly on their cell phones anyway. The only way these arguments have any force is if you don’t realize that consent was given in the later cases and not the former.

      • thebewilderness says:

        Can anyone really be this stupid?
        Bob, have you ever heard of RU486, Bob. It is a pill, Bob. They call it the abortion pill for a reason, Bob.

        • Honorable Bob says:

          …have you ever heard of RU486…

          Are you asking your readers to believe that in order to get a prescription for RU486 they must undergo an ultrasound?

          It just isn’t true.

          • Warren Terra says:

            Um, Bob, he’s doing exactly the opposite.

            See, here’s the situation: it’s the anti-abortion folks mandating unnecessary and physically invasive (read: rapey) ultrasounds. Not those trying to defend a woman’s control over her own body. The part where you went wrong is in completely failing to understand which side was mandating doctor-perpetrated rape.

          • ema says:

            A. Before performing any abortion or inducing any miscarriage or terminating a pregnancy….

            I guess in order for you to be OK with the State probing all your orifices without your consent you need to lie to yourself.

            • Malaclypse says:

              I think it can safely be assumed that Bob would never allow his orifices to be probed.

              • ema says:

                Maybe, but, according to his comment, he says that once he’s consented to some type of surgery he’s fair game for any random, unconsented probing and prodding:

                So….what you’re saying is that [I, once I] have already consented to being cut and scraped, [internally] vacuumed, etc. should be outraged at this as some kind of intrusion?

                Really??

                Perhaps we should all be outraged at the hospital that takes a blood sample before abdominal surgery as well….OH, the horror!!!

            • Honorable Bob says:

              Without consent? That’s simply not the truth.

              How crazy are you?

              • BradP says:

                Quit elusively flailing. You continue to imply that consent is given, without actually saying as much or how consent is given.

                Put your argument out there so that it can be conclusively disproven.

              • Malaclypse says:

                Shorter Bob: I will now make explicit my lack of understanding of the concept of consent, just in case anyone had any doubts.

              • rea says:

                Gunman: Your money or your life, Bob.

                [Later in Court]: But Your Honor, Bob consented to give me all his money!

              • ema says:

                Dude, you were just caught with your pantaloons down a mere 5 comments ago. What is the point of continuing with these silly lies?

    • BradP says:

      Bob, you are an evil, nanny-state shit.

      By any rational standard, you are no more entitled to dictate a woman’s medical procedures than you anyone is entitled to mandate health insurance.

      And to any reasonable person, what you are defending here is extraordinarily more intrusive, violent, and harmful than any of the hypocritical bullshit stances you have taken on the page in the past.

      And finally, the real supporters of limited government would have a much easier time convincing progressives that the trade-offs of big government are not worth it if it weren’t for people like you proving what sort of evil exists in our society.

      You would be a stupid joke if you weren’t so intent on harming other people.

    • Spud says:

      Or the more sane take on it is, that legislators should not be dictating what procedures a doctor performs.

      A doctor’s office is not a courtroom or the Congress floor. Legal/political arguments have no place there.

      Who is going to pay for this procedure?

      Doctors don’t lift a finger for free nor should they be asked to do so. We don’t live under communism!

      Not the woman. Why should a patient be be burdened with a state imposed cost for a procedure which is not being performed on the basis of medical necessity?

      People have a right not to have compulsory invasive probing at the state’s insistence without some kind of heavy duty governmental interests at stake here.

      The taxpayers? You mean the GOP wants to increase taxes for the purposes of furthering a social agenda? Isn’t that what they get pissy at Democrats for doing?

    • Sharon says:

      You are beyond hideous Bob.

      No, really, just awful.

  4. Scott says:

    The only standard for legislation that Republicans now seem to accept is that it needs to be as mean and cruel as possible, preferably to some vast demographic group that the GOP wants to punish for not being GOP-friendly.

  5. Honorable Bob says:

    The great thing about all of this is this is at the state level. And while you don’t agree with the legislators of this sovereign state, you have someplace to go if you don’t like it.

    When forcing your views upon the whole country via federal legislation regardless of which side you’re on, you leave people who disagree with you nowhere to run.

    • c u n d gulag says:

      Yes, because everyone can just pick-up and leave, and move to another state.

      Or go 2 states over for an abortion, to avoid being mechanically raped by the VA government approved doctors using an intrusive and unnecessary procedure into a woman’s vagina.

      You are reprehensible beyond words!

      Even for me – who’s been chastised here for trying to put evil jerks like you in proper perspective.

      People here a LG&M don’t like that kind of language, so I’ll spare.

      But I think you know what you can go do with yourself – and with no government assistance, no less!
      But, then, YOU might like that…

    • BradP says:

      The real irony here is that laws like the one you are here to defend are THE PRIMARY JUSTIFICATION for federal legislation over the states.

    • The great thing about (slavery, anti-miscegenating laws, Jim Crow laws etc.) was that they were at the state level. And while you don’t agree with the legislators of this sovereign state, you have someplace to go if you don’t like it.

  6. What if this happened in CT? Let’s see what the Connecticut Penal code says about this.

    Sec. 53a-65. Definitions. As used in this part, except section 53a-70b, the following terms have the following meanings:

    (1) “Actor” means a person accused of sexual assault.

    (2) “Sexual intercourse” means vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, fellatio or cunnilingus between persons regardless of sex. Its meaning is limited to persons not married to each other. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse or fellatio and does not require emission of semen. Penetration may be committed by an object manipulated by the actor into the genital or anal opening of the victim’s body.

    Sec. 53a-71. Sexual assault in the second degree: Class C or B felony. (a) A person is guilty of sexual assault in the second degree when such person engages in sexual intercourse with another person and:
    . . .
    (7) the actor accomplishes the sexual intercourse by means of false representation that the sexual intercourse is for a bona fide medical purpose by a health care professional;
    . . .
    b) Sexual assault in the second degree is a class C felony or, if the victim of the offense is under sixteen years of age, a class B felony, and any person found guilty under this section shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of which nine months of the sentence imposed may not be suspended or reduced by the court.

    http://www.cga.ct.gov/2011/pub/chap952.htm#Sec53a-71.htm

  7. Njorl says:

    I don’t see how a doctor could justify complying with this law. Wouldn’t compliance be grounds for revoking their license?

    • c u n d gulag says:

      I’m sure the VA Gov and AG will try to make it illegal NOT to comply, and then revoke the licenses of the doctors who decide not to do the procedure – and who, as Dishonorable Boob said, can always, like the women, pack up and move to another state.

    • I think giving the mandated ultrasound the force of the law creates a legal protection for the doctors, by making the procedure a necessary part of patient care. If the doctor does not perform the procedure, he is not able to provide the patient with appropriate medical care. Therefore, he must perform the procedure as part of his responsibility to provide appropriate medical care.

      • Spud says:

        So who is going to pay for the extra procedure?

        • Warren Terra says:

          Obviously, the Virginia Legislature has now redefined all Abortion procedures to include rape-by-doctor ten days beforehand. Since it’s part of the procedure, the person or entity paying for the procedure must obviously pay for it.

          This has obvious potential: next they can redefine “prostate exam” to include a steak dinner with your buddies (and, of course, a doctor) ten days beforehand, and your insurer will have to cover that.

  8. Malaclypse says:

    And, because everybody should read this, here is what this law will lead to.

  9. Njorl says:

    I don’t see how a doctor could justify complying with this law. Wouldn’t compliance be grounds for revoking their license? Any doctors lurking out there?

    • Njorl says:

      Sorry for double post. It looked like it hadn’t gone through.

      • thebewilderness says:

        Most OB/Gyn offices where I live do not even have the equipment necessary to do the procedure.
        It is usually done in an outpatient hospital setting. It is quite expensive.

  10. Xenos says:

    Is the Casey ‘undue burden’ test still the standard that would apply? If so, would pointless, expensive, and otherwise unwanted and offensive medical procedures count as an undue burden?

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      You would think so, but as the median vote Anthony Kennedy has actually interpreted the test probably not.

      • Xenos says:

        Again, what hath O’Connor wrought? There was no need to muddy up the legal standard and make it less clear and the results less predictable. What a disaster she was.

        • Warren Terra says:

          It really is sad to see her going around the country in retirement playing the Elder Stateswoman and not just getting heckled off the stage at every event over the issue of Bush V Gore.

          I suspect her rider dictates no questions on the subject – or else the interviewers are just inveterate cowards.

  11. JB says:

    Just to be clear: pharmacists shouldn’t have to prescribe contraception if it conflicts with their beliefs, but doctors must rape their patients regardless of the moral teachings of Tewbow Lin. Epic logic fail.

  12. RedStater75 says:

    How about everyone pay for their own damn healthcare?

    And when it comes to contraception, you can always just not have sex. If you’re so poor you can’t afford contraception, even when subsidized by Murder, Inc. Planned Parenthood, why on Earth are you doing something that could make a kid?

    • Malaclypse says:

      And when it comes to contraception, you can always just not have sex.

      Just because that works so well for you (and it doesn’t – just look at your anger issues), does not mean everybody needs to do that.

      • RedStater75 says:

        On the contrary, we’ve used contraception in my marriage, but guess what? I paid for it my own damn self.

      • RedStater75 says:

        But, good to know that all the left has, as usual, is ad hominem. Quick, call me some names, or somehow claim this proves I’m a racist, that will show you have logic and reason on your side for sure!

        • Malaclypse says:

          Shorter troll: I don’t understand Latin.

          • Uncle Kvetch says:

            even when subsidized by Murder, Inc. Planned Parenthood

            [...]

            But, good to know that all the left has, as usual, is ad hominem. Quick, call me some names

            I like it when the trolls do the work so we don’t have to. Kinda like scrubbing bubbles, without the cuteness.

            • Malaclypse says:

              Especially because “what works for you will not work for everybody” is not even kind of an ad hominem.

              • DrDick says:

                That was the only substantive repudiation possible. If he wants more substantive rebuttals, he needs to make some kind of substantive argument, rather than simply pulling shit out of his ass and flinging it every which way.

            • Warren Terra says:

              A-ha! You used the wrong number of dots in your ellipses! Your comment is invalid!

        • Spud says:

          Quick, call me some names, or somehow claim this proves I’m a racist, that will show you have logic and reason on your side for sure!

          You are not a racist, you are a sexist.

    • BradP says:

      How about everyone pay for their own damn healthcare?

      1. Because a strong healthcare system has a lot of public utility.

      2. Because not everyone can afford to pay for necessary health care. Are you one of the “Let em’ die” types?

      • RedStater75 says:

        There are other ways to help people pay for health insurance than holding a gun to another person’s head, taking his money, and giving it to another. Charity, for one. Or health savings accounts.

        • Malaclypse says:

          I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: given the nature of modern weaponry, the feds are not holding a gun to your head, they are holding an ICBM. Because in real life, you are no more likely to get shot over tax issues than to get nuked.

          Or you can realize that your premise is just plain silly.

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          So you’re against Medicare? Good luck with that. As for health savings account, right, starting with the fact that for many people, what savings?

        • BradP says:

          There are other ways to help people pay for health insurance than holding a gun to another person’s head, taking his money, and giving it to another. Charity, for one. Or health savings accounts.

          I will be far more likely to agree with you on these than most on this board. However, I don’t think private charity would be sufficient.

          There have been vast swaths of people who do not have health insurance because it is an expense that has fallen at the margins for them, and charities have not filled in the gaps as I would like. I think you know you are stretching the ability of charity to overcome the gap.

          I also would just like to point out how shitty it is that you would argue against government provision/subsidization of health care and in favor of private charity, while also making statements like “How about everyone pay for their own damn healthcare?”

          If freedom from coercion was your goal, and not just selfishness, you would argue for private charity and exhort people to take on other people’s medical expenses.

          Two conservatives have come on here, and each have thrown out blatant self-contradictions.

        • Scott says:

          Furious, sociopathic troll is furious, sociopathic.

        • Njorl says:

          “…Or health savings accounts.”

          This is one of those instances where argumentum ad hominem is valid. Believing that people who lack the funds to purchase insurance could instead pay for health care from a health savings account demonstrates a profound lack of logical capacity. People are justified in dismissing your arguments because you lack the mental capacity to understand their refutation.

        • Warren Terra says:

          Charity? Really? Public Policy by “oh, the charitable will take care of it”?

          Because that’s worked in the past, right?

  13. RedStater75 says:

    Regardless, consequence-free sex is a luxury, not a need. Pay for it yourself, or don’t do it. If it’s that important to you and your employer won’t cover it, work for a secular employer.

    • BradP says:

      Regardless, consequence-free sex is a luxury, not a need.

      While I don’t particularly disagree with the rest of your comment, this is a red-herring.

      Provision of contraception is not important because it allows people to have the luxury of consequence-free sex, it is important because it saves the rest of us from paying for the consequences.

    • Spud says:

      Unwanted pregnancies are a burden. One which taxpayers ultimately pay for in one way or another.

      One which affects workplace productivity, money available for public services and infrastructure and affects local issues such as crime, housing issues and family law.

      Slut-shaming is a lame tactic to cover the fact that your views are universally regarded as silly, ineffective and harmful.

      Abstinence is not a policy which is worth pursuing on a practical end nor should have the color of law.

      More importantly, employers are not exercising religious expression by denying contraception. Its a contravention of existing law. Free Exercise of religion can’t be used to attack the rights of others.

      If they didn’t want to pay for adequate insurance for their employees, they should have lobbied harder against the ACA.

    • Rob in CT says:

      In addition to the fact that contraception helps reduce unwanted pregnancies (something that is a societal good) while abstinence simply doesn’t happen (and never has), birth control pills are used for more than just contraception. Lots of women are on the pill to help control particularly nasty periods and other health issues.

      Yes, I know. We should all pay for everything ourselves (which, taken to its logical conclusion, means no insurance at all for anything). Health savings accounts… yeah, except a huge chunk of the country doesn’t have any savings. Not because they’re worthless garbage, but because good jobs are hard to come by and expenses keep piling up.

      You and I can afford to shrug and say “eh, we’d be fine.” Lovely. A huge majority of the population cannot say that. They’re already being squeezed. Add some more on top. And then, when the fit hits the shan, will you be standing around muttering “what’s going on? Why are they rioting? Damn hippies!” ?

    • wengler says:

      Regardless, consequence-free rape is a luxury, not a need.

    • Lyanna says:

      “Consequence-free.”

      By “consequences” you mean the physically and financially crippling ordeals of pregnancy, childbirth, and child-rearing.

      Yes, having a sex life without the threat of those ordeals hanging over your head is a need. Sex is an important part of human life and one should be able to do it without ruining one’s life.

      Your argument is like saying the government shouldn’t regulate car safety, or pay for emergency care for victims of car accidents, because driving a car is mostly not a need. Even if you think driving to work is a “need,” driving to Grandma’s house for her birthday is no more of a need than sex.

    • Anonymous says:

      So to you, children are merely a “consequence” of sex – a punishment for having sex, basically? That’s a great attitude to have toward children.

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