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In Virginia, The State Stops Just Short Of Rape—In Texas, State-Mandated Rape Is The Law

Below is a recent headline from a story in The Economist.

McDonnell’s not-so-magic wand—Accusations of medical rape dog Virginia’s accident -prone governor 

(Above–Bob McDonnell. Photo by Gage Skidmore.) 

The story was about the effort to allow state-mandated rape in Virginia with a forced-sonogram bill for women seeking a legally protected abortion.

People in Virginia saw that this was rape and they said so.

From The Economist about events in Virginia

“… a requirement pushed through the legislature that women seeking abortions must undergo a vaginal ultrasound test. Making this invasive procedure, involving the insertion of a wand, compulsory is akin, say Democrats and women’s rights advocates, to a sexual assault. The aim, supposedly, is to confront women with the reality of their fetus.”

This state-mandated rape was vetoed in Virginia. Governor Bob McDonnell was concerned not so much about rape, but about the political consequences of signing the bill.

In its place, a bill only slightly less onerous was approved.

From The Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Under the legislation, a woman would be required to undergo an abdominal ultrasound before having an abortion to determine the gestational age. If the information cannot be found that way, the woman would be offered a transvaginal ultrasound and may refuse….”This is only the second time in history Virginia has mandated a medical procedure,” said Sen. Richard L. Saslaw, D-Fairfax. “This law will now stand beside legislation that was passed to forcibly sterilize the severely mentally disabled.”

In Virginia, women are still subject to an unwanted medical procedure, but the state will stop just short of rape.

In Texas, what women get in this situation is rape.

From Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times

“Here’s what a woman in Texas now faces if she seeks an abortion.  Under a new law that took effect three weeks ago with the strong backing of Gov. Rick Perry, she first must typically endure an ultrasound probe inserted into her vagina. Then she listens to the audio thumping of the fetal heartbeat and watches the fetus on an ultrasound screen. She must listen to a doctor explain the body parts and internal organs of the fetus as they’re shown on the monitor. She signs a document saying that she understands all this, and it is placed in her medical files. Finally, she goes home and must wait 24 hours before returning to get the abortion. “It’s state-sanctioned abuse,” said Dr. Curtis Boyd, a Texas physician who provides abortions. “It borders on a definition of rape. Many states describe rape as putting any object into an orifice against a person’s will. Well, that’s what this is. A woman is coerced to do this, just as I’m coerced.”

State-mandated rape is the law in Texas. This rape has nothing to do with preventing abortion. It has to do with the power of the State of Texas to rape women doing something that the state legislature and Governor Rick Perry think should not be done.

What steps are you going to take to change this reality? The work of changing and repealing this law is up to each of us in Texas and anyplace where human rights are a concern.

(Below–Rick Perry. Photo by Gage Skidmore.)

March 19, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Respecting Women & Pro-Life Policies For Texas Republicans Involves Forced Sonograms And Denying Cancer Screenings

In Virginia a forced sonogram bill in which the state would be permitted to violate women against their will has been stopped.

However, here in Texas–despite all the tough talk about intrusive government– such a law is already on the books.

From the Texas Tribune

“The original Virginia bill that garnered so much national outrage required doctors to perform a sonogram in advance of the abortion, using a transvaginal ultrasound if necessary, to determine the gestational age of the fetus. After originally championing the bill, (Governor) McDonnell walked it back under pressure, working to produce a revised version that assures that women seeking abortions won’t be subject to a vaginal ultrasound. Women will be offered the chance to review the image of the fetus on a belly sonogram, but aren’t required to look at it.

The Texas law is more strict: It requires women to have a sonogram at least 24 hours ahead of an abortion, and the doctor to play the heartbeat aloud, describe the fetus, and show the woman the image, unless she chooses not to view it. Although the Texas law doesn’t specify what kind of ultrasound — belly or transvaginal — abortion providers say they almost always must use the transvaginal probe to pick up the heartbeat. “

In Texas women are at risk from a predatory state government, and from a conservative movement that is always on the prowl for a new conquest in the war against women.

Of course the attacks on Texas women don’t stop with the forced sonogram bill. Not content with forced intrusive procedures by order of the state, Republican legislators and Republican statewide officials are moving in for the kill.


From The Texas Observer

“Texas health officials apparently have chosen to end their participation in the Women’s Health Program, which pays for health screenings for tens of thousands of poor Texas women. Tom Suehs, who heads the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, formally ruled …that Planned Parenthood can’t receive funds from the Women’s Health Program. Federal officials have previously said that state officials couldn’t cut out specific providers. So the state’s decision to exclude Planned Parenthood because it’s an abortion provider could end the Women’s Health Program in Texas and deprive thousands of poor women of services such as Pap smears, cancer screenings and contraception.”

Texas conservatives say they like small government. Yet they pursue some of the most invasive and intrusive polices imaginable.

Texas conservatives say they are “pro-life.” Yet they pursue policies that kill people.

February 25, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments