Monday, February 20, 2012

I'm serious. Stay out of my vagina, Virginia.

Trans-vaginal ultrasound dildo

I'm probably going to sound angry in this post. It's hard for me to stay calm when so many people are trying to get inside my poor little vagina. I know I wrote about the vagina hoards yesterday. I promise this is my last political post for a while. I just have to say one more thing about those assholes who want to make choices about my body* or any woman's body.

If you haven't heard about the bill in Virginia to require women who go to a doctor seeking an abortion to undergo a trans-vaginal ultrasound first, where the hell have you been? This is shit even Margaret Atwood didn't imagine. I don't understand why we would want to return to the years of wire hangers and knitting needles. I don't understand why a clump of cells is more important to some people than an entire human being. But I'm not writing about abortion. That's a personal choice.

I'm writing about a law that will institutionalize rape so a bunch of religious zealots can circumvent the US Supreme Court -- a bunch of fucking politicians making a law that requires a woman who is having a legal medical procedure to undergo another unnecessary and costly (yes, she would have to pay for it) medical procedure that will possibly manipulate her into not having the abortion. What I'm talking about is politicians creeping into my vagina again.

If you don't think it's rape to require a woman to have that wand (photo above) stuck into her vagina for no good reason, other than because those men don't think she should own the choice of whether to keep a cluster of cells in her body, then I don't know what it is. Putting a dildo-shaped object in a woman's vagina against her will and against the medical advice of her doctor is rape. It just is. It doesn't matter who does it.

It's possible I have some personal feelings about this. The Tuesday afternoon before Thanksgiving in 2010, my daughter Elvira called to see if I was home, and asked if she and her boyfriend Rock Dad could come over. I was and I said sure. As soon as they walked in the door, she handed me an ultrasound with something that looked the size of a bean on a grainy background. It could have been anything. Eight months later it grew into Coraline. But at that point, it wasn't Coraline. It was a cluster of cells the size of a bean.

The discussion about the pregnancy isn't important to this topic. They had already decided to continue the pregnancy and eventually keep the potential baby. This was their decision. I was the first one they told because I was the one they were least afraid to tell. I didn't bring up options or ask them which they had considered. They didn't ask for my opinion. I was just as irrelevant as any asshole politician who wants to tell women what to do with their vaginas  and their ovaries and their uteruses. And I'm fine with that. Even my daughter's vagina belongs to her, and to her alone. I would have supported any decision she made.

But eventually I did have to ask why she'd had an ultrasound because I was concerned. I had ultrasounds because I had difficult pregnancies and the doctor wanted to make sure the baby was safe. Surely she didn't need one just to see the bean.

They said they'd gone to a free clinic, not the base hospital like I assumed, and she was required to have the ultrasound before they would give her the results of her "free" pregnancy test. She was fine with getting the ultrasound because they'd already decided what they wanted to do. They were excited about seeing their little bean. They were told they could get a car seat, free clothes, all kinds of prenatal support ..... but only if they had the ultrasound and took certain classes. Certain religious classes. Not so free after all, huh? Nothing about the name of the clinic indicated the clinic had a religious agenda. They found out after they got there.

Of course, Elvira gave her permission and underwent the ultrasound willingly. I admit it was her choice. And probably there was no danger associated. But it was a medical procedure she didn't need. I don't give a shit if it was free (to her). She didn't need it. It was purely a manipulative tactic to discourage her from choosing a legal abortion. If she'd gone to the base hospital, she would have gotten the results of the pregnancy test and not had an ultrasound until much later in her pregnancy--as she eventually did. The procedure she had was purely for religious purposes, not medical.

Why should I care? It's hard to explain why the Molesters for Jesus made me so angry. Mostly it's the manipulation, the hidden agenda. Holding out "free" stuff so they could spread their propaganda. That shit wasn't free. It was all tied up in their religious beliefs, which they carefully concealed from my 19-year-old daughter until they'd offered her what they hoped was enough free stuff to manipulate her.

See, I don't think Jesus would approve of those tactics. I don't think Jesus ever said, "You have to become a Jew believe like I do or I won't give you any of this bread, any of this fish." In fact, Jesus was a pretty liberal young rabbi so he might even have said God would love my daughter even if she did have an abortion. He seems like he might have been that kind of guy. He might have been the kind of guy who would say any medical procedure should be private and privileged and kept between a woman and her doctor. Seems like something he might believe. Keep the money-lenders out of the church and the fucking politicians out of the vaginas.

Make no mistake, neither the law in Virginia nor the "free" trans-vaginal ultrasound Elvira had are about medical necessity. They are about controlling religious freedom. They are about sticking a wand in a woman's vagina so she won't exercise her legal right to an abortion. Elvira may have made a choice to undergo her procedure, but what the Virgina legislature is proposing is rape. Rape for Jesus.

All the people who need medical attention in this country and can't afford it, and those assholes in Virginia want to make a law to require sticking a wand in a woman's vagina ... it's incomprehensible. The only bright spot is Senator Janet Howell, who tacked on an amendment that would require men to have a rectal exam and a cardiac stress test before they can get a prescription for Viagra. I guess if women are going to be raped with the wand, men are going to have to take a doctor's finger in the ass.** 

What do you think? Should the state be able to require a woman to pay for her own rape before she can undergo a legal medical procedure? Are you ready to put religion over a right the Supreme Court says is guaranteed by the Constitution? I'd love to hear any logical, persuasive argument.

* Yes, I know this is happening in Virginia, and I'm not going to be getting an abortion any time soon, so it's not going to affect my body. It's the fucking principle of the thing. It's the scary slippery slope that has become a reality in this country.

** Her amendment failed: 19-21. It wasn't the right solution anyway. Rape isn't a solution to any problem.


  1. Keep talking, keep writing, keep yelling. Most important: KEEP VOTING. We need to take back the House or we'll never get to take back our bodies. You've said how I feel way better than I could.

    1. It scares me that they got this far. Virginia is a hot bed of far right fundamentalist politicians, but even so, this is crazy. I don't want my granddaughter to grow up in the world they're trying to create.

  2. I would just add that in addition to the religious agenda of Elvira's clinic, there is a money agenda. That clinic, and all of the clinics in Virginia, if this would pass, will make money off of every procedure they do. So this is a little goldmine for them. What I don't understand is where the medical governing bodies are? Hoping it will go away? Because when I worked for the Texas Medical Foundation, I reviewed cases that had been denied Medicare coverage. My job was to find if anything in the chart supported the MEDICAL NECESSITY of the procedure. So now we would add a LEGAL NECESSITY? What a racket!

  3. I would guess that few members of the medical community would actually be affected by the passage of this bill. Not that many clinics perform abortions. It may not be a sword the rest of them want to fall on. And some of them would make money on the ultrasounds, but still keep their hands clean, so to speak.