Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Virginia Governor Has Second Thoughts About Passing Invasive Ultrasound Procedure Bill

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell is having second thoughts about signing an abortion ultrasound bill that would impose new and more invasive procedures violating a woman's rights in order to obtain an abortion.
Gov. Bob McDonnell is having second thoughts about signing it into law.
According to the Post, McDonnell has stepped back from his promise to sign the bill if it crosses his desk. Additionally, reports AFP, yesterday the House of Delegates put off a third and final vote on the legislation after a day of protests in Richmond.

The most controversial aspect of the law is how the ultrasound, which would not be optional, would be carried out. According to an article by Slate's Dahlia Lithwick last week, the use of the foot-long probe for the transvaginal procedure of no medical necessity would constitute rape* [see my comments below] under the federal definition of the crime. Additionally, critics noted, if a woman chooses not to look at the ultrasound, that fact will be noted in her medical record.
While the FBI definition of rape involves the following:
The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.
Virginia law considers object sexual penetration a felony separate from rape, and this statute would require doctors to carry out an unnecessary medical procedure that meets the definition of that felony crime. So, while the requirement to use this ultrasound probe wouldn't meet the definition of rape under Virginia law, it most certainly is a criminal act under Virginia law.

Under either federal law or Virginia law, the woman seeking a lawful abortion would have to get a medically unnecessary and invasive procedure that meets the FBI definition of rape all because Republicans think that this is the means to overturn Roe and its progeny - to say nothing of the added health care costs associated with the procedures involved.

Nowhere do supporters of this bill suggest that the ultrasound procedure is medically necessary. It is merely another way to shame and violate women who are seeking an abortion that pro-lifers deem abhorent and immoral.

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