Some might call the term “state sponsored rape” a little severe or harsh, but I disagree. It involves forced, medically unnecessary, unwanted, unwelcome penetration of a woman’s vagina, and in Virginia, it’s being sanctioned and demanded by the state, thanks to a recently passed law, which is now headed to the desk of Governor Bob McDonnell (R), currently trolling for a vice presidential spot in the 2012 election. McDonnell has said that he will sign the bill into law, which would require a physician to perform a trans-vaginal ultrasound on women seeking an abortion.
What is a trans-vaginal ultrasound?
The U.S. National Library of Medicine describes it thusly:
Transvaginal ultrasound is a type of pelvic ultrasound. It is used to look at a woman’s reproductive organs, including the uterus, ovaries, cervix, and vagina. Transvaginal means across or through the vagina.
You will lie down on a table with your knees bent and feet in holders called stirrups. The health care provider will place a probe, called a transducer, into the vagina. The probe is covered with a condom and a gel. The probe sends out sound waves, which reflect off body structures. A computer receives these waves and uses them to create a picture. The doctor can immediately see the picture on a nearby TV monitor.
This procedure will now be required in Virginia, even if it’s against the woman’s will and without consent.
Now let’s take a look at the definition of rape in the state of Virginia:
§ 18.2-61. Rape.
A. If any person has sexual intercourse with a complaining witness, whether or not his or her spouse, or causes a complaining witness, whether or not his or her spouse, to engage in sexual intercourse with any other person and such act is accomplished (i) against the complaining witness’s will, by force, threat or intimidation of or against the complaining witness or another person; or (ii) through the use of the complaining witness’s mental incapacity or physical helplessness; or (iii) with a child under age 13 as the victim, he or she shall be guilty of rape.
Put those two things together and what you have is the state sponsored rape of any woman seeking an abortion, which has been legal in the United States since 1973. Not only is this bill turning women into rape victims by definition of Virginia’s rape laws, but it will turn that state’s physicians into unwilling rapists.
Is that over the top? I don’t think so. This law will force doctors to perform an invasive, penetrative and unnecessary procedure on a woman against her will, and in most cases, against the doctor’s will, and its end-game is to humiliate and demonize women – and the physicians who care for them – on the most personal and intimate level possible.
But Virginia is not an anomaly. Similar bills are being considered in both Texas and Iowa. Iowa, however, has a better chance of defeating this atrocity, as RH Reality Check reports:
And then there is Iowa – Iowa is no stranger to waging war on women’s reproductive rights, it has been the hobby of the religious right there for years. State GOP Representatives have brought forward three bills; egg-as-person, forced ultrasound and a so-called “Woman’s Right to Know” bill.
The forced ultrasound bill passed out of a House subcommittee and is on to the full Human Resources Committee – and then it’s on to the floor for full debate and vote. This bill is likely to pass out of the House but State Senator Steve Sodders told me (if it did make it out of the house) it would certainly die in the Senate. The Iowa Senate is the sane chamber dominated by Democrats functioning under the leadership of bulldog Senator Mike Gronstal.
This is the trouncing of women’s rights by the Republican Party, and it’s their hand reaching into your panties all the way up to your uterus. That’s right, the party of “smaller government” and “personal freedom and liberty” has now sanctioned rape by the state as a means to intimidate and threaten women.
And they’re not going to stop there…mark my words…
WATCH Rachel Maddow address this topic on Tuesday: