I hope you enjoy the following video clip, which comes to you via Saturday Night Live’s “Really? With Seth and Amy“. In it, Amy and Seth question the actions and decisions of lawmakers and the church about birth control. Navigate here to watch the clip: http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/really-with-seth-and-amy-birth-control/1386256
(Below, Fiona Carmody of RH Reality Check, elucidates the serious issues that “Seth and Amy” were referring to relative to the state of Virginia; and, what has happened there in the past week).
Bill Requiring Invasive Ultrasound Procedure Passes VA House of Delegates
by Fiona Carmody, RH Reality Check
February 23, 2012 – 2:49pm
A bill mandating invasive trans-abdominal ultrasound procedures for all women seeking abortions has been passed by the Virginia House of Delegates today.
This bill has received a lot of negative backlash in the media over the past week because its original requirements included a trans-vaginal ultrasound, which qualified as rape under Virginia state law and which was described in a recent opinion piece as follows:
The probe is inserted into the vagina, sending sound waves to reflect off body structures to produce an image of the fetus. Under this new law, a woman’s vagina will be penetrated without an opportunity for her to refuse due to coercion from the so-called “public servants” who passed and signed this bill into law.
After an outraged media discussion of the potential legal and medical (not to mention emotional and psychological) consequences of such a mandate, Governor McDonnell decided to amend the bill to require a trans-abdominal ultrasound instead of a trans-vaginal one. McDonnell claimed to be swayed towards this amendment by a lack of supporting medical evidence, stating:
No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure.
As a staunch anti-choicer who rarely considered such evidence before, McDonnell’s desire to change the bill seems more likely to come from its risk factor to his own personal goals: it could have threatened his chances of running for VP in the upcoming presidential election.
As Editor in Chief Jodi Jacobson pointed out:
…angling for a role as Vice President in the 2012 election, watching the backlash against the far right’s efforts to politicize women’s health, and after a week of intense media scrutiny of a plan to mandate trans-vaginal ultrasounds (including by RH Reality Check) medical evidence [had] suddenly become very, very important to the governor.
McDonnell officially changed the ultrasound bill requirements yesterday. The new requirements do not qualify as rape under Virginia state law, but a trans-abdominal ultrasound is nonetheless an invasive and medically unnecessary procedure to force women seeking abortions to undergo. As a petition with over 33,000 signatures and delivered to McDonnell on Wednesday reportedly stated, the bill “insert[s] the government into women’s personal, private medical decisions.”
That McDonnell claimed to be using medical evidence to amend a bill that passed the House today with no inclusion of such evidence whatsoever indicates that the importance of the bill to its supporters lies in none other than its obstruction of and interference with women’s private and personal health decisions. It serves as another example of the political games that are unabashedly being played with women’s health in America today, and as another blow to women’s ongoing and repeatedly re-validated struggle for equal status with men.
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