Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Why Oklahoma’s Law isn’t about Choice, it’s about CONSENT

So, HB 2780. The veto was redacted. And here we are!

My google-fu is weak but this lawsuit contains the relevant text of the statute.

The Act prohibits a woman from obtaining an abortion unless, at least an hour before the procedure, “the physician who is to perform the abortion or induce the abortion, or the certified technician working in conjunction with the physician:
 (1) performs an obstetric ultrasound on the pregnant woman, using either a vaginal transducer or an abdominal transducer, whichever would display the embryo or fetus more clearly,
(2) provides a simultaneous explanation of what the ultrasound is depicting,
(3) displays the ultrasound images so that the pregnant woman may view them, and
(4) provides a medical description of the ultrasound images, which shall include the dimensions of the embryo or fetus, the presence of cardiac activity, if present and viewable, and the presence of external members and internal organs, if present and viewable.”
The Act notes that “nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent a pregnant woman from averting her eyes from the ultrasound images required to be provided and reviewed with her”
The Act declares a state of emergency and provides the Act shall take effect immediately after its passage and approval

Now, I have never been pregnant, so I know nothing about ultrasounds really. But I can research them!
I’ve found this from Brookside Press:

“First trimester scanning can be performed using either an abdominal approach or a vaginal approach. Abdominal scanning is performed with a full maternal bladder, provides a wider field of view, and provides the greatest depth of view. Vaginal scanning is best performed with the bladder empty, gives a much greater resolution with greater crispness of fine detail. In circumstances where both approaches are readily available, the greater detail provided by transvaginal scans usually outweighs other considerations, and is preferred.”

So this means that in regards to part (1) that the vaginal transducer would be used in almost every case, in order for the physician to be found fully compliant with the law! Which means that in order to obtain a fully legal medical procedure, many women will be forced to undergo a vaginal ultrasound. The State of Oklahoma believes it can mandate that something go into a woman’s vagina. Something that does not increase the safety or efficacy of the abortion procedure. And that is the problem with HB 2780. It isn't a matter of being prochoice or antichoice. It's about being pro-consent. It's about bodily autonomy. It's about doctors not being able to enter a woman's body without her explicit permission. And this bill takes that away when that woman wants an abortion.

Last I checked, someone forcing something into my vagina without regard to my consent was raping me. And you might say “Lyndsay. Using the term rape is a little harsh.” and I would say “Dear reader, penetrating my body without regard to my consent is rape, and is harsh, and is wrong.”

 Want an abortion? Then we get to put this inside you. It's the law!

I only hope the supreme court gets around to this quickly, for the sake of women and their families in Oklahoma.