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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

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Virginia's Transvaginal Ultrasound Bill

By Hannah Clause, GSEC
In the last year women’s health has been under serious attack. From trying to defund family pact to trying to pass personhood amendments, conservative politicians are stopping at nothing to take away women’s right to choice and health. This should not come as a surprise considering the amount of legislature that has been proposed to compromise women’s bodies, but this particular bill left me so outraged I felt sick. On Wednesday, February 15, the Virginia state House of Delegates passed the Transvaginal Ultrasound Bill with a 63 to 36 vote. This bill forces a woman seeking an abortion to have a vaginal probe inserted into her vagina, even if she and her doctor do not want it, in order to obtain an image of the fetus which will then be shown and described to her. This will be the first time the government has mandated that a physician perform an unnecessary medical procedure on a patient, even if it is against the physician’s recommendation or patient’s wishes. 
Here is an image of the vaginal probe and how far it must be inserted into the vagina, as well as the up down motion it needs to make, in order to obtain an image of the fetus:
As you can see this is an incredibly invasive and uncomfortable procedure. I want to say this again, even if the doctor and patient do not recommend or want this procedure, the will be forced to do so. Even if a woman is a victim of rape, she still must undergo this procedure in order to obtain a legal procedure of an abortion. The federal definition of rape is “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” With this said the transvaginal ultrasound bill will be a form of legalized rape. The woman has no choice but to be penetrated by an unnecessary transvaginal probe procedure if she wants to obtain a legal abortion. How is this possible? How is it possible we are making an unnecessary, raping, procedure law? How is it possible that we could do this to the women of Virginia?
                 State Delegate Todd Gilbert, one of the legislators of the bill, said that abortion was a ‘lifestyle convenience’. A lifestyle convenience is proper access to birth control, having a car, ability to higher education. An abortion is not. Having a baby is not. Republican mayor Bob McDonnell has said that he will sign the bill into law if it passes in the Senate.
Women of America we need to speak up. We need to take a stand. Let our representatives know we won’t be subjected to having our health and rights compromised. Tell your senators and House representative to stop playing politics with women's health. The link below is a petition started by Planned Parenthood to tell congress to leave our birth control alone.