Virginia is for Misogynists
By Michael Collins
The Virginia legislature is about to enact a law that requires a transvaginal ultrasound procedure for all women who have abortions (except in the case of a medical emergency). Apparently, the legislators are unaware that the law violates existing sexual assault code or that Virginians oppose the law by a wide margin.
Here's the procedure.
"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 health care provider will move the probe within the area to see the pelvic organs." Medline Plus
This isn't an option. It's a requirement for an abortion in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The law is clear:
"a qualified medical professional ... shall perform fetal ultrasound imaging and auscultation of fetal heart tone services on the patient undergoing the abortion for the purpose of determining gestational age." House Bill No. 462, Virginia Assembly (Also here)
The medical professional is then required to "offer the woman an opportunity to view and receive a printed copy of the ultrasound image and hear auscultation of fetal heart tone."
Women will not only suffer the invasive procedure, they will be asked to experience a vicarious reenactment.
When used for medical purposes, this procedure can determine the risks of miscarriage, infections, and isolate the cause of any vaginal bleeding. The procedure is used detect cancers, birth defects, and infections that impact fetal health. It is an accepted treatment in voluntary reproductive medicine.
The mandated transvaginal ultrasound procedure is not intended for any medical purpose. It is the consequence for seeking an abortion in the state that is credited as the source of the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution.
Women who choose abortion will have to endure vaginal invasion, seek abortion in another state, or complete the pregnancy.
Procedure Violates Virginia Law Against "inanimate or animate object sexual penetration"
The Virginia Code states that penetration of the labia majora … [for] other than a bona fide medical purpose" is an act of "object sexual penetration." There is no routine medical purpose for a transvaginal ultrasound procedure prior to abortions. As described in the proposed law, the procedure "penetrates the labia majora … of a complaining witness." Since we can assume the complaints would be nearly universal, the new law violates existing law.
§ 18.2-67.2. Object sexual penetration; penalty.
A. An accused shall be guilty of inanimate or animate object sexual penetration if he or she penetrates the labia majora or anus of a complaining witness, whether or not his or her spouse, other than for a bona fide medical purpose, or causes such complaining witness to so penetrate his or her own body with an object or causes a complaining witness, whether or not his or her spouse, to engage in such acts with any other person or to penetrate, or to be penetrated by, an animal,,,: Virginia Code
Legislators in Violation of Virginia Law Against "attempted object sexual penetration"
By the very act of proposing a law that "penetrates the labia majora" the state legislators proposing the bill are, by current law, guilty of "Attempted … object sexual penetration." This is a Class 4 felony punishable by 5 to 20 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
§ 18.2-67.5. Attempted rape, forcible sodomy, object sexual penetration, aggravated sexual battery, and sexual battery.
A. An attempt to commit rape, forcible sodomy, or inanimate or animate object sexual penetration shall be punishable as a Class 4 felony. Virginia Code
"History is replete with reigns of terror during which powerful institutions sanctioned atrocious behaviors. Consider the rape and plunder of defeated populations during the Crusades of the Middle Ages, or the execution of women during the Salem witch hunts in colonial America." FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Feb 1992
The state sanctioned cruelty has already begun. Women who choose to have an abortion, for whatever reason, must now deal with the emotional turmoil of anticipating an object placed in their vagina for no purpose other than to satisfy the vulgar inclinations of the legislators who passed this bill. Women seeking to end a pregnancy arising out of trauma, e.g., rape, will be re-traumatized by the invasive procedure mandated by this bill,
The invasive procedure proposed by this bill, a clear violation of existing law, is intended to (a) discourage abortion and (b) punish and humiliate those who choose to have the procedure.
This Law is Not Unique
The mandatory invasion of a woman's body simply because she chooses to have an abortion is repellant and uncivilized. This law is not unique. Mark Adams pointed out that there are several processes sanctioned by the state for those in penal institutions. More than one million prison inmates have been raped, most anally, over the past twenty years. Juveniles have a high likelihood of raped within forty eight hours of placement in adult detention. Offensively invasive searches are routine. As Adams makes clear, the justice system is structured to allow all of this to go forward.
In the case of Virginia's law, there may be an opportunity to act. Existing law is clear. Actual and attempted "inanimate or animate object sexual penetration … [that] penetrates the labia majora" are crimes. The legislators either didn't know or didn't bother to reword the laws on "object sexual penetration." Their mere attempt to pass such a law is a crime. Any implementation of the law, starting with the first woman to seek an abortion, will compound the crime again and again.
It is difficult to fathom people who would even admit to fantasies similar to the events that this law creates. It is nearly impossible to imagine the type of people who would act in unison to make this the law -- one that will harass, humiliate, and traumatize women simply because they don't agree with those opposed to abortion.
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