Oh you Michigan lawmakers, rascally Republicans — you’re such naughty boys! You almost got us this time!
It’s just so cute the way you thought you could sneak a state-sanctioned rape law right under our niave little noses…well, actually it’s not all our noses, only the girl noses, and in fact it’s not their noses at all, but rather their delicate lady-parts exposed while captured backside in stirrups — in a vulnerable position physically, emotionally, and often financially, when having a perfectly legal abortion. What better time to get your bully on? Misogyny at its finest!
Let’s give lockeroom credit where credit is do — House Reps: Johnson, LaFountaine, Hooker, Callton, Damrow, Scott, Heise, Walsh, McBroom, Zorn, Muxlow, Cottor, Horn, Franz, Shirkey, Brunner, Yonker, Kurtz, Price, Somerville, LeBlanc, Opsommer, Shaughnessy, Haines, R. Schmidt, Denby, and Huuki.
High fives all around! Woo-Hoo! (Send them a note of congratulations here, except Scott, he was recalled.)
The really cool part is you lawmakers have built-in a plausible deniability factor so it doesn’t even look like state-mandated rape with a foreign object…. on paper that is, unless you’re a doctor or lawyer. Oh no, you wouldn’t be so crass as to actually out-right demand, that prior to an abortion, a woman must undergo a transvaginal ultrasound — an invasive procedure in which a probe (and it’s not a small one!) is inserted in the woman’s vagina to obtain an image of the uterus. No, you say it so much more nicely — politely, for the ladies. You must think yourselves terribly clever, but to those of your constituents who know your game, they can bet the law was likely written by one of the many conservative think-tanks that does all the homework for you and your teammates — Conservative Cliff Notes for Dummies.
Seriously now, let’s take a good hard look at HB 4433. (The bill is still in committee, and our lawmakers will likely wait for the bruhaha over Virginia’s transvaginal political dust-up to settle before introducing it on the House floor.) This blogger is fortunate to have an OB-Gyn as her best friend. We sat down and parsed this legislative gem, line-by-line, to determine exactly what it would compel an abortion provider to do.
It starts out innocous enough, stressing the importance of a woman getting “sufficient information to make an informed choice” for their “physical and psychological well-being”.
Caringly, the bill goes on to claim the “state has an interest in protecting women”. Awe shucks guys, thanks! But please, just tell us how does performing a medically non-necessary procedure “protect” women? Sure, you could argue that the physician will need to assess the gestational stage anyhow, and that could likely involve an ultrasound, but not necessarily a transvaginal one. This should remain a private doctor-patient decision.
Next, these thoughtful lawmakers insist that women have a 24 hour waiting period between the initial medical consultation and the procedure. Our boys in Congress really do understand just how fickle the fairer sex is about parenthood. It’s like buying shoes…do I get the red pumps, or the tan kitten-heels? Oh dear me — I simply can’t decide!
With a little further reading my doctor friend and I got to the pivotal language. Essentially, HB 4433 requires the physician to use the “most technically advanced equipment available…capable of providing the most visibly clear image of the gross anatomical development of the fetus and the most audible heartbeat.” That means a transvaginal ultrasound for first trimester pregnancies.
It’s a given that any facility providing pregnancy terminations will have the necessary equipment to perform a transvaginal ultrasound. While the bill leaves it to the technician or physician to determine whether to perform a transvaginal versus a transabdominal (non-invasive), it demands they choose the one that provides the best image — and that’s transvaginal. Because this legislation denies the patient the choice, it’s rape.
By any other name, it’s still state-sanctioned rape. By law and by definition.
Amy Kerr Hardin