Proposed Virginia Bill Would Have Violated Women’s Rights, One Ultrasound At a Time
Published: Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 21:02
On Feb. 22, a Virginia bill requiring women having an abortion to first have a trans-vaginal ultrasound was scrapped as Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell withdrew his support for the legislation. Instead, McDonnell says he will sign the bill if it is amended to include a provision that would require women to first have an external ultrasound, instead of a vaginal ultrasound, before having an abortion.
McDonnell, who originally supported the bill, amended his position after Jon Stewart slammed it on a segment of The Daily Show. In the segment, Stewart highlighted a previous conversation between McDonnell and a reporter, who asked the governor about his thoughts on "the full body pat-downs that a lot of people are upset about going through the TSA lines," to which McDonnell replied, "I think that's probably over the line with regard to people's, you know, concerns about privacy and their civil liberties."
As Stewart so succinctly put it in his reply to this statement, "Let me explain to you the concerns about privacy and liberty in the bill you are about to sign: women might consider this a TSA pat-down inside their vagina."
I couldn't agree more.
With regards to woman's rights and abortion issues, some states have become so concerned about protecting the rights of the fetus that they have forgotten to pay attention to the rights of the women carrying the fetuses. No government should ever be able to force a woman to undergo an invasive ultrasound that violates her privacy.
The bill was first proposed by Republican Kathy Byron who stated in a previous conference that "state efforts to mandate the HPV vaccine to minors have raised a variety of concerns […and it is] exactly the type of government intrusion into health care that America rejected in the polls last November." How is making minors get the HPV vaccine not as invasive as forcing a woman to have an unwanted vaginal ultrasound? In my opinion, that is the definition of state-sponsored rape.
Proponents of these types of bills say that the ultrasound gives the doctors accurate and vital information about the fetuses health. While this is a valid point, some states have taken this too far.
In Texas, women who have abortions are required to make two separate trips, one for counseling and an ultrasound, and the other for the abortion. In addition, women are required to have the same physician who performs the ultrasound perform the abortion. This is time consuming and costly. Not all insurance plans cover abortion. Even more, it adds extra stress for women who must arrange a time and take off work to find the same doctor to perform the abortion. This is unnecessary.
Legislators have forgotten about the women involved in these discussions about abortion. It is time to redirect the abortion discussion and legislation toward an arena that protects the rights of women who have to make the often-difficult decision to abort a fetus.
Playing on Ronald Regan's famous statement, "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I'm from the government and I'm here to help,'" Stewart left his viewers with the message, "I've got nine scarier words for you: I'm from the government, this wand's a little cold."