Jim DeMint Thinks Forced Ultrasounds Are an “Opportunity.”
Last Sunday on Meet the Press, Jim DeMint claimed that mandatory ultrasound laws present an “opportunity” for women to obtain free ultrasounds.
An opportunity, he said.
These are the very same ultrasounds which many states force upon women whether or not they are medically necessary, and — in those states requiring transvaginal ultrasounds — whether or not a woman wants to have a foreign object shoved into her lady-areas.
That’s not an opportunity. It’s a mandate. And in the states that require transvaginal ultrasounds, it’s state-sanctioned rape.
Ultrasound laws are one of the more popular fronts in the War on Women. These laws require doctors to perform medically unnecessary ultrasounds on a woman who wants to have an abortion. In some states, the doctor is also required to show the ultrasound image to the woman and describe it to her. You know – for maximum traumatic effect for women in what is oftentimes an already traumatic decision.
In other states, a woman is permitted to look away from the image because our tiny vagina government overlords are nothing if not benevolent. Recall that back in 2012, when Pennsylvania tried to ram its transvaginal ultrasound bill through the legislature, Governor Tom Corbett famously said that he wasn’t making anyone watch “because you just have to close your eyes.” (Thanks, bro.)
Jim DeMint, and the anti-choice movement writ large, cast mandatory ultrasounds as an “opportunity” because they believe that a pregnant woman cannot possibly make an informed choice about abortion (because she is too stupid to understand what it is she is doing when she decides to terminate a pregnancy) until she is forced to look at an ultrasound image and confront the life she so callously intends to snuff out.
Ultrasound laws usually are packaged as part of “informed consent” laws, titled “Women’s Right to Know” or “Women’s Right to Know and See” as if such pithy titles can mask the true intent of these laws: humiliation, shame, and punishment. While proponents of these laws claim to have women’s interest at heart, they don’t — not really. These laws attempt to force a maternal bond between woman and child, and serve no other purpose than to convince a woman that the image she sees on an ultrasound is a baby — her baby — and do you really want to kill your baby, selfish lady?
Understandably, such coercion leads to emotional trauma, like that which Carolyn Jones endured when she was forced to undergo a mandatory ultrasound and wait 24 hours before she could proceed with an abortion in Texas:
When she arrived at Planned Parenthood, the doctor who was to perform the abortion first performed an ultrasound, as ordered by law — despite the fact that it was Jones’ third ultrasound of the day. He also had to describe in detail her baby’s anatomy. “It felt barbaric to have to listen to a description of a baby I had so badly wanted,” says Jones, who is 35. “I could barely breathe.”
Doctors take the Hippocratic Oath, pledging to do no harm. Yet it’s tough to argue that forcing Jones to look at and listen to the description of a baby she would never rock or cuddle didn’t cause her psychological harm. The doctor must have known this; he apologized to Jones and tried to minimize her distress. “I am so sorry,” she says he told her, “but if I don’t do this, I could lose my license.” He did his best to make the ordeal easier. He spoke softly. The nurse turned up the radio. But still Jones heard him:
“Here I see a well-developed diaphragm and here I see four healthy chambers of the heart…”
I closed my eyes and waited for it to end, as one waits for the car to stop rolling at the end of a terrible accident.
Then Jones had to leave and return a day later — a mandatory 24-hour waiting period during which women who’ve decided for any reason that they can’t be mothers right now are supposed to reflect and, ideally, change their mind.
Jones didn’t change her mind. “You can imagine that having politicians muscling in on the most private and devastating personal situation I’ve ever been was terrible,” says Jones. “As devastating as this is, I feel at peace with the choice I made.”
Forced ultrasounds laws are a lot of things — state-sanctioned rape, medically unnecessary, emotionally traumatizing, and cruel — but an opportunity?
No. Not even close.
Imani Gandy (ABL)
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