Does Oklahoma’s abortion law legalize rape?

Tenured Radical has a really interesting post up about the latest anti-choice law in Oklahoma that requires women to undergo an ultrasound before obtaining an abortion.

If, in order to obtain a perfectly legal abortion, a woman must permit herself to be penetrated by an ultrasound probe — in whatever way, or for however long, the technician and doctor wish to do so, that seems to me to be what statute 21-114 of the Oklahoma Criminal Code defines as rape by instrumentation. This act (putting an object in a vagina, anus or mouth against that person’s will) is explicitly defined as rape in the first or second degree.
Coercing a woman into being raped with an object, for whatever reason, is, in fact, rape: this was first established in State v. Rusk (1979), which transformed the legal and popular view of what counted as forced sex by defining as rape any unwanted sexual intercourse, even if a man believed that a woman ought to give it up in return for the drinks and dinner he had purchased earlier in the evening. And by the way? Although it has been technically invalidated by Lawrence v. Texas (2003), Oklahoma still has a sodomy statute on the books too.

What do you think?

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58 Comments

  1. genericjanedoe
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Yes, it seems that way to me for sure.
    Of course, they will argue that the abortion is elective and therefore the ultrasound is elective and not rape. But they’re the ones trying to subject women to this in the first place.

  2. Lilith Luffles
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure I’d be so willing to call that rape… that just seems like it would be on a slippery slope to saying that getting my cat’s temperature taken at the vet is beastiality. You could even say that I’m being raped every time I go to the OB/GYN office because I have to in order to get birth control pills. Of course I could be missing something.

  3. Sadie
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    While I think this law is garbage, ultra-sounds do not require anything to be inserted inside anyone.
    Maybe I’m mistaken?

  4. paperispatient
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    My impression is that ultrasounds before surgical abortions are standard practice – Dr. Susan Wicklund talks about it in her amazing book, This Common Secret. Ultrasounds help doctors confirm how far along the pregnancy is and help them anticipate any potential problems (i.e., you actually have an ectopic pregnancy, we’re going to need to handle this differently). It’s the fact that this law compels doctors to situate the monitor so women have to see it and to describe the fetsus’s development to the women that is the big problem here.

  5. yourwomanking
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure whether to identify it as rape in the classic sense or not, but it absolutely seems like some sort of abuse. Can you imagine the trauma for a woman who has been raped before, basically going through an extremely disempowering, penetrative experience again? It’s horrible…

  6. russell812
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    I agree that the law is a pathetic attempt to shame women, and I hope the people of Oklahoma will take action to repeal it. On the other hand, I am optimistic that the practical impact on women will not be as outrageous as is implied in your post.
    The doctors who provide abortion services (many of them are women, after all) will be sympathetic to patients requesting abortion and will not be acting in a way that would humiliate them.
    The law I read doesn’t require the use of a vaginal probe unless it would provide a better image. The doctor gets to choose. A sympathetic doctor will be allowed to decide that the image from a transabdominal probe is fine, and I would guess that a vaginal probe will rarely if ever be used in these patients.
    Using any procedure to humiliate a patient (even if that was the legislature’s intent) is unprofessional and contrary to the Hippocratic oath. I’m not saying there aren’t some anti-abortion doctors who might do it – but presumably the patient is going to be consulting in a clinic that provides abortion services.
    If a patient goes to any doctor and is treated in a humiliating manner, then she should complain to the state medical licensing board.

  7. dustxandxlight
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, but this is ridiculous. When a woman goes to the doctor after being pregnant, she also has the same procedure. Is this rape too? Just because it’s a procedure that she needs to have done?
    I know it’s not exactly the same and believe me, I hate this law, but I’m just not buying it.

  8. shimmoril
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    You’re missing consent. In the case of you going to the OB/GYN office to get BC pills, you consent to a pelvic exam in order to get your BC pills. Animals cannot consent, but we, as their humans, are expected to act in their best interests, so your vet example is irrelevant.
    For me, it comes down to the fact that for whatever reason, when a woman requires an abortion, legislation like this forces them into having an intrusive ultrasound, ie rapes them via object penetration.
    On the other hand, there is a certain amount of choice involved in obtaining BC pills (alternative methods of contraception etc), and I would hope that most, if not all doctors, are upfront about requiring a pelvic exam every 1-2 years for them to continue prescribing the medication. In this a woman can look at her options, weigh the pros and cons and either consent or not to an intrusive examination. This of course does not include asshole doctors who lie, mislead and ignore their patient’s wishes. Those doctors are also rapists.

  9. Jessica
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Well here’s the thing – going to the OB/GYN and getting a pap is necessary for the purposes of the visit (finding out about abnormal results, STD testing, etc) and you consent to said test. A vaginal ultrasound is unnecessary to obtaining an abortion and the patient isn’t given a right to refuse said ultrasound if she wants access to legal medical services – that’s not just bullshit, it’s nonconsensual penetration.

  10. Jessica
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    For the purposes of this law – that requires description of limbs, organs, etc, – a vaginal ultrasound is much more likely to be used because those things can’t be readily seen on an abdominal ultrasound.

  11. caitlynlacy
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    I’m an Oklahoma feminist. Oklahoma women NEED outside help. We’ve protested at the capitol, written letters to our governor and legislators, and have lobbied from the inside. They don’t listen to us. They aren’t going to start either.
    We need national news coverage. We need feminist blogs to keep talking about the draconian anti-choice laws here in Oklahoma and make some NOISE about it. We need help from national pro-choice organizations.
    We really really need your help.

  12. Mollie
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Disclaimer: I posted this when there were only 2 comments, but moveabletype hates me, so I’m reposting without reading the other comments.. Sooryyyyy!
    Well, I’m not a expert on this, but is any kind of ultrasound probe typically required for an abortion? (And here I was thinking that ultrasounds are just the squishy stuff and a wand on your belly….) If they’re implementing an object that isn’t critical to the MEDICAL procedure, and claiming it’s mandatory, that’s where the rape allegation comes in. This is all reminiscent of a curvature post about consent… http://bit.ly/b7BCae
    It sounds convincing to me.

  13. Lirazel
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    A similar law just passed the Senate today in Florida. Sigh.

  14. Steven
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    After seeing Juno, a crap load of other “Holy shit she is pregnant” movies and ultra sounds of expecting mothers and fathers that I know, they can see the stuff just fine.
    And besides any smart legislator would say the Doppler (gel and sensor on the belly) method is fine if it keeps the law constitutional.
    And besides, with ultra-sounds the real money shot is with the heart beat and the Doppler method picks that up within about eight weeks after gestation (according to my internet sources).

  15. Mollie
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Oh ok, Jessica said everything I was thinking, but better. tl;dr

  16. KerryAnn
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    During early first trimester you need a vaginal ultra sound to see anything.

  17. queenofbirds.wordpress.com
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Yes, you’re mistaken. In early pregnancy, the pregnancy can’t be detected using transabdominal ultrasound (the wand and the jelly on the belly that we all know from TV), so the only option is transvaginal ultrasound i.e.: an ulstrasound probe in your vagina – also known as the “dildo cam”. For a reason – they even put a condom on it.
    So if you’re 8 weeks pregnant in OK and you want an abortion, you can be vaginally penetrated with an instrument without your consent.

  18. sparks37
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    This idea of rape is focusing on the wrong part of the law. An ultrasound is normally done before a surgical abortion to age the fetus and confirm that there aren’t any problems going on that would complicate the procedure.
    The part of this law that is different than normal practice is requiring a woman to not only view the ultrasound, but listen to a detailed description of the fetus, even against her will.

  19. Lilith Luffles
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    This is a reply to all who have replied to me.
    In the case of animals, saying we are acting in their best interest as humans is the same to me as saying it is in the best interest of the woman. There is an element of “I know what is best for you” to both.
    As for consent at the OB/GYN, I don’t consent because I want it. I consent because I need it to get my birth control. That to me seems like the same as consenting to the ultrasound to get an abortion. “You want to not have a baby? You better spread you legs and let me stick this cold thing up there.” It could be said in both instances.
    Just clarifying my stance.

  20. shanaynay
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    In most cases, transvaginal is the method chosen, as it’s more accurate in early pregnancy. The point, as I see it, isn’t really the ultrasound — people are saying “you generally have an ultrasound before an abortion, so what’s the big deal?” The big deal is the show-and-tell “explanation” of what an abortion entails, to women who are seeking abortions but apparently have no idea what they are, what pregnancy entails, or what a fetus is.
    The OK legislature has stood up and said, loudly and clearly, that they are going to throw up roadblock after roadblock in front of women’s rights, that women are stupid and cannot be allowed to choose for themselves, and that if a doctor does an ultrasound procedure on a pregnant woman intending to carry to term and sees a problem that might lead the woman to consider termination, he or she cannot be held legally responsible for withholding that information in an effort to substitute his/her personal morality for the woman’s. (This has the pleasant side effect of giving the woman a surprise disabled child, because we all know that nobody would ever maybe want the chance to make some sort of mental, emotional, or logistical preparation for that.)
    All of which is pretty indescribably appalling. (If you’re not enraged, you’re not paying close enough attention.) The legislature apparently never tires of playing the “let’s see — can we abridge women’s rights THIS way?” game, so the women of Oklahoma are evidently going to be subjected to a neverending game of Reproductive Whac-A-Mole. Which is way, way less fun that it sounds.

  21. shanaynay
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t possibly agree more. There’s a reason that the OK legislature does this stuff — they feel comfortable doing so, because the political climate of the state favors it. They’ve been voted in by a huge Republican majority. Dems have no political recourse — even if every liberal in the state did everything in his or her power, it wouldn’t outweigh the people cheering these laws. (I find it an instructive bit of shorthand, when talking to outsiders, to mention what the Oklahoma Democratic Party’s website has front-and-center: assurances that they’re not scary crazy liberals, but nice, sane, friendly moderates. Because even though they call themselves Democrats, they’re not really Democrats, so there’s nothing to be scared of, y’all!) Those are the choices here — far-right and what is described as “moderate” by nimrods who would make such a “real Democrats are scary, amiriiite?” statement. There is no true left here, and no power of any kind for actual lefties. We can scream and cry and wail and gnash our teeth, but it won’t do a bit of good while the majority of Oklahomans have absolutely no problem with unadulterated crazy like this.
    I feel a bit guilty for having an advantage over most liberal Oklahoma women — I’m originally from New Hampshire (where there are some pretty outspoken, intractable people with awfully strong feelings about freedom), having spent the last decade here, but with most of my family ties still to the Northeast. I’m still in school, but as soon as I can, I’m out of here. It’s really unfortunate that liberal Oklahoma women who were born and raised here have to choose between their homes and their rights and sanity, and I’m glad that I’m not in the same boat. For women who value their reproductive rights, this state is not a friendly place, and I do not intend to remain here one day longer than absolutely necessary. Sometimes I feel like leaving is abandoning other women to their fate, but most of them (most puzzlingly) vote against reproductive freedom, so if they want to live in rights-free hell, I suppose that’s as much their choice as getting the heck out of Dodge is mine.
    Which stinks, because despite the overwhelmingly in-your-face religious culture and general lack of tolerance for evil socialist commies who are coming to take all your money and kill your babies, I like it here. But I cannot in good conscience stay and implicitly condone this sort of thing. My tax dollars and I will be leaving, and I will not be the kind of ambassador for Oklahoma that the state needs to shed it’s deserved, cultivated reputation for being the land of gun-totin’ tooth-pickin’ church-goin’ closed-mindedness.

  22. Brianna G
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Well, also that size, dating, and ectopic pregnancies can be detected with an abdominal ultrasound. They require a vaginal ultrasound because it provides a prettier, clearer image that appears more human-like (many women seeking abortions aren’t going to form an attachment to a blurry blob on a screen). So they’re requiring an invasive procedure when a non-invasive one would be more appropriate, purely to discourage abortion.

  23. IAmGopherrr
    Posted April 28, 2010 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    I saw Rachel Maddow cover it today (4/28). I do wish others would cover it as well. You dont have to live in Oklahoma to want it covered. Its also a warning to all of us to confront the antis or else we could be in the same predicament.

  24. sandra
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 2:29 am | Permalink

    As another Oklahoma feminist, I can attest to the fact that what Jessica says is true. We have been tracking the many incarnations of this bill, which has already been through a similar process of being passed, vetoed by Governor Henry, which was in turn overridden, and then found unconstitutional on the basis of “log-rolling” (the state Constitution prohibits two laws being passed through one bill). The language of the bill is intentionally vague; an ultrasound does not sound that insidious to the average citizen, but the law will call for the use of a vaginal transducer, and yes, that is rape by instrumentation.
    These tactics by the right are deliberate and calculated; they are, quite frankly, excellent organizers with what seems like endless resources on their side. Meanwhile, as the right continues to chip away at our rights one legislative session at a time, we only have two professional lobbyists working for women’s rights: one from Planned Parenthood and one from the ACLU. Both are absolutely brilliant and dedicated individuals, but to say that they’re both stretched thin is a gross understatement. Both wear multiple hats in their organizations and are also the only progressive-oriented professional lobbyists in the state, which means they’re tackling the NUMEROUS civil liberties issues that assault our state’s people on a daily basis.
    What Caitlyn said is absolutely true. Women and men in Oklahoma have been fighting these laws tirelessly while simultaneously working and/or going to school. It is NOT a matter of a lack of will among the people; the fact of the matter is, we simply do not have the resources to fight this relentless assault on our bodies legislative session after legislative session.
    We cannot attain reproductive justice in the United States unless we empower EVERY SINGLE person, including women from the red states. It is the responsibility of every single one of us to help each other, otherwise our rights will be systematically dismantled until there is nothing left.

  25. Synna
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    However – making prescription of BC contingent on a pap IS unnecessary and coercion. That makes consent for the pap invalid as it is not free.
    Medically there is no sound reason why you need a pap before getting the prescription. Yeah, getting checked for STI’s etc is probably a good idea but again, if we are to have control over our bodies, we need to be able to accept or decline those services free of coercion and conditions. (and from what I see on the web, the USA is one of only a few places that requires such a system for BC prescription. In Aus you get your pap and pill from the General Practitioner and one is not contingent on the other)

  26. Icy Bear
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    I find it pretty offensive to call this rape. Rape implies to me malice, a need to control and hurt another person. You could argue that the law itself exhibits that sentiment, but I highly doubt that all the doctors involved will. I don’t doubt that the experience could be incredibly harmful and traumatizing for women who have to go through it, particularly for women who have been raped before (as yourwomanking points out), but we also have to think that some of the doctors doing this may well be rape survivors themselves, or for whatever reason may desperately not want to comply with the law but are required to for their jobs.
    It strikes me as massively unfair to label a group of doctors rapists (which you have to do, if you will label this act as rape) just for doing what they have to do to keep their jobs in a time when new jobs are hard to find, even if they hate doing it and do everything in their power to make their patients comfortable and in a pleasant environment.
    Of course, that doesn’t mean it won’t be profoundly traumatizing. I’m just not sure what you would label it.

  27. JeSsMaNiA00
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    russel812: The problem here is this: “The doctor gets to choose. A sympathetic doctor will be allowed to decide that the image from a transabdominal probe is fine, and I would guess that a vaginal probe will rarely if ever be used in these patients.”
    If you don’t have a sympathetic doctor, then what? the whole point is that it is out of the woman’s hands, she is at the mercy of the doctor, and more importantly, the whole thing is medically irrelevant. The bottom line is that the law is subjecting a woman to an unnecessary medical procedure to attempt to coerce her. The added humiliation of having the power to just “dig around in there” is not just humiliating and insulting and unnecessary, its also a gross violation of basic rights.
    I thing the huge thing here is, IT IS NOT A NECESSARY procedure, especially BEFORE the abortion. To use a loose analogy, its like going to a psychiatrist, and getting your therapy with a mandated side of psychological abuse…

  28. MLEmac28
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    I find this very problematic. The law is horrible in so many ways, but I think calling this rape is only going to hurt our argument rather than bolster it.
    Someone mentioned earlier that there is a level of choice with BC. I have menstral cramps so bad that I throw up and pass out. I have no choice, I can either be bed ridden for a week once a month, or I can take hormonal BC, after getting a pelvic exam, and live my life. Before I was sexually active, I would really have liked to go without the pelvic exam. The first time, I started crying when the speculum was put in. My hymen was still intact, and it hurt like fucking hell. Since I was not having sex, there really wasn’t a need for a pap smear, given that I wasn’t going to be exposed to HPV.
    Yes it hurt, and I would have done without it if given the chance, but rape?
    I’m not saying that the law isn’t horrible on many different levels. Requiring women to view an ultrasound is only going to hurt women and probably do shit to actually convince a woman to “change her mind.” However, I think calling it rape is hyperbolic and going to diminish our credibility.

  29. nicole-anell
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    The language of the bill SPECIFICALLY mandates an ultrasound with a vaginal transducer if that would provide a “clearer” image of the embryo fetus. (Which it certainly would, especially in the first trimester.) That means one of these would be inserted: http://images.dotmed.com/cgi-bin/size.pl?t=2&a=3&i=549243.jpg

  30. nicole-anell
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Weird, it looks like my comment didn’t post. @Sadie, follow the link – the law does require something being inserted. The language specifically mandates a vaginal ultrasound in cases where that would provide a “clearer” picture than an abdominal one. Which it would.

  31. sugaredharpy
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    While some have said that it doesn’t require a vaginal ultrasound, let me be clear….it does. The reason is that women who are trying to obtain an abortion in the first trimester, the most common time, will need a vaginal ultrasound to see ANYTHING going on in the uterus. An abdominal ultrasound will not yield any results, or really terrible results.
    From recent experience, I can also tell you that the vaginal ultrasound is not done with a tiny probe. The transducer used is often unexpectedly large and fat. For a woman with any lack of consent like we see in this legislation, and especially for a woman who has undergone sexual trauma, this can be really horrifying. If she wasn’t assaulted before, she could easily feel assaulted after.
    In regular prenatal and well-woman care, I have had friends with way too many stories of male OBs making the large probe into a joke or using it roughly or without enough lubrication so it hurt them. My own former OB made a comment about this being “fun” while he is lubing up the probe and inserting it.

  32. lucierohan
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    It may not be rape, but it ain’t fucking right. Putting a patient through an invasive procedure that is not integral to her medical needs and that, in this case, is intended to discourage her from receiving the medical care? You don’t have to agree with defining it as rape to realize that it’s a horrible abuse of power.

  33. JLu
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    In early stages of a pregnancy, the ultrasound machine that they use on your stomach cannot get a read on such a small object in your uterus. Therefore, the doctor will use a long, say hot-dog shaped ultrasound wand that is inserted into your vagina. Its closer proximity to the fetus allows them to get a picture and to register the heartbeat.
    This was the kind of ultrasound I received when I was seven weeks along. I believe it’s standard practice for a good portion of the first trimester.

  34. beckyinshanghai
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    I agree with sparks37, the ultrasound itself is not the problem, but there is no reason for a woman to be forced to look and hear about the fetus if she doesn’t want to.
    Having said that, I looked at my (transabdominal) ultrasound when I had an abortion and found it reassuring, being able to look at it and still want the termination helped to confirm my decision for me. That’s just my experience though – this Oklahoma law is obviously wrong and ridiculous.

  35. paperispatient
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Ah, I see – their requirements basically force doctors to perform a certain kind of ultrasound (a more invasive one). Thanks for the info, besides an ultrasound on my thyroid a few years ago, I have no experience and little knowledge about them.

  36. shanaynay
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    I couldn’t possibly agree more. There’s a reason that the OK legislature does this stuff — they feel comfortable doing so, because the political climate of the state favors it. They’ve been voted in by a huge Republican majority. Dems have no political recourse — even if every liberal in the state did everything in his or her power, it wouldn’t outweigh the people cheering these laws. (I find it an instructive bit of shorthand, when talking to outsiders, to mention what the Oklahoma Democratic Party’s website has front-and-center: assurances that they’re not scary crazy liberals, but nice, sane, friendly moderates. Because even though they call themselves Democrats, they’re not really Democrats, so there’s nothing to be scared of, y’all!) Those are the choices here — far-right and what is described as “moderate” by nimrods who would make such a “real Democrats are scary, amiriiite?” statement. There is no true left here, and no power of any kind for actual lefties. We can scream and cry and wail and gnash our teeth, but it won’t do a bit of good while the majority of Oklahomans have absolutely no problem with unadulterated crazy like this.
    I feel a bit guilty for having an advantage over most liberal Oklahoma women — I’m originally from New Hampshire (where there are some pretty outspoken, intractable people with awfully strong feelings about freedom), having spent the last decade here, but with most of my family ties still to the Northeast. I’m still in school, but as soon as I can, I’m out of here. It’s really unfortunate that liberal Oklahoma women who were born and raised here have to choose between their homes and their rights and sanity, and I’m glad that I’m not in the same boat. For women who value their reproductive rights, this state is not a friendly place, and I do not intend to remain here one day longer than absolutely necessary. Sometimes I feel like leaving is abandoning other women to their fate, but most of them (most puzzlingly) vote against reproductive freedom, so if they want to live in rights-free hell, I suppose that’s as much their choice as getting the heck out of Dodge is mine.
    Which stinks, because despite the overwhelmingly in-your-face religious culture and general lack of tolerance for evil socialist commies who are coming to take all your money and kill your babies, I like it here. But I cannot in good conscience stay and implicitly condone this sort of thing. My tax dollars and I will be leaving, and I will not be the kind of ambassador for Oklahoma that the state needs to shed it’s deserved, cultivated reputation for being the land of gun-totin’ tooth-pickin’ church-goin’ closed-mindedness.

  37. sage
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I have to say, it fits very snugly into the definition of rape, and as some have already mentioned could be extremely traumatic and humiliating to many.
    Slightly off-topic, but given the discussions of required vaginal ultrasounds in general (such as for BC), I wanted to mention that my mom has had these a few times for various reasons. She told me that one of these times the doctor allowed her to hold the wand and move it herself. I think this is a potentially good option for all women to have whenever they need a vaginal ultrasound.
    Of course, in the case of this law, there seems to be no medical need for the vaginal ultrasound whatsoever so it is simply a load of crap.

  38. Dawn.
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    This law most definitely legalizes a form of rape. Unnecessary and compulsory penetrative procedure = rape by instrument. That is pretty black and white to me.

  39. shanaynay
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Yes. Big difference between doc doing ultrasound to check something for him/herself and doc turning screen so woman can see it, not to check anything, but to give her a presentation about the fetus, all “here’s the head, here are the feet,” etc. This isn’t being done for medical purposes, but for the purpose of shoehorning the majority’s moral/religious views into a ([theoretically] private) medical procedure, even if it’s totally legal and the woman doesn’t care to hear said views (and knows, by virtue of seeking an abortion, what one is and what it does). “Here’s your abortion” is a far cry from “here’s your abortion (*dangles abortion*), but first, let’s take a look at your baybeeee! No, you have to look! Don’t mind this thing I’m poking around inside you, or the fact that you don’t want this done to you, or the fact that this isn’t precisely constitutional. Hush now, honey, this is for the moral satisfaction of most of the voters of this here state and what they think is your own good.”
    That is not a “go.”

  40. sandra
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    How’s this for irony?
    Rebecca Hamilton, the author of the OK ultrasound bill also authored our states’ rape by instrumentation law.
    Attorney Brittany Novotny explains the legal implications of this law and rape by instrumentation. Novotny is also a candidate for the House and an openly transgendered woman (and a badass).
    http://www.okcfox.com/newsroom/top_stories/videos/kokh_vid_1448.shtml

  41. Megan
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    “After seeing Juno, a crap load of other “Holy shit she is pregnant” movies and ultra sounds of expecting mothers and fathers that I know, they can see the stuff just fine.”
    Just because it is in the movies does not mean it is real. Women in the movies also give birth to clean three month old babies. In the movies a woman’s water breaking rapidly throws her into the end stages of labor. In the movies babies come out with one or two pushes. I could go on but instead I will just say that cinematic depictions of pregnancy, labor, and hell women’s experiences in general are often not accurate.
    Because I have been raped my OB agreed to try trans-abdominal imaging with both my pregnancies and was not able to image anything that way until I was 22 weeks.
    I am not sure what you mean by the “money shot” but the law requires description of the limbs and development of the baby not just the heartbeat. A heartbeat can be found without any imaging.

  42. SuchGreatHeights
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    The argument though isn’t whether this parallels going to an ob/gyn for cancer screening and sti tests, but that it *precisely parallels* going to a doctor for birth control pills and being being told that *your ability to control your own reproductive choices* will be *denied* if you don’t consent to an unnecessary and unrelated invasive pelvic exam. There is simply no reason why doctors *must* require pelvic exams for BC pills – it is simply a way of coercing women into a screening test for a relatively rare cancer with a relatively high false positive rate (which is btw, great for doctors fees and represents an obvious conflict of interests).
    Its exactly the same as the blog post’s critique of the Oklahoma law = in both cases it is a choice between unwanted pregnancy and unwanted physical invasion. If one is rape than so is the other

  43. TabloidScully
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Oddly enough, when I first went on birth control, I was not required to have a pap smear. In fact, I could be wrong about this (it was almost a decade ago, now) but I got out of it because I wasn’t yet 18 and had received parental permission to go on the pill. Way to reward paternalism, I suppose!
    On the other hand, I did have to have an ultrasound before I had my abortion. And it was incredibly traumatic. I don’t know of any woman who particularly enjoys having cold, metal tubing shoved up her canal, but it’s only supercharged when you’re a victim of sexual violence, particularly if you had a rape kit done that was traumatic in its own right, as is the case with me.
    Even though I didn’t want to be in that clinic doing what I was doing, there was no way the outcome would have changed. All the ultrasound did was humiliate me further–like, “Since clearly you have no problem spreading your legs to get into this situation in the first place, you’re now going to be subjected to an invasive, traumatizing and totally unnecessary procedure to really beat the slut-shame into you.”
    No amount of emotional extortion like an ultrasound would have changed the outcome (and obviously, didn’t). It did, however, make me feel judged, victimized and fighting off body memories for weeks, complicated further by the very real physical trauma of an abortion anyway.
    That being said…has anyone addressed that an ultrasound is generally involved, in part, to determine how far along a fetus is? My understanding is that a chemical abortion can’t be safely performed after 10 weeks without potentially causing great harm to the woman, and an ultrasound is necessary to determine that.
    However, I think what distinguishes this legislation is that it leaves it open for doctors to not only be mandated to describe the image they are witnessing, but also force women to likewise look at the fetus as well in an effort to shame them into changing their minds.

  44. shanaynay
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Assuming that you reported him, did anything come of it? For a spectacularly unprofessional, sexually-harassy-of-patients kind of move, I certainly hope so.

  45. shanaynay
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Well, we’re calling it “rape” on a feminist site. I wouldn’t necessarily think it prudent strategy for the leaders of the big women’s rights orgs to lead with the r-word on the TV circuit, but I think it’s pretty safe to call a spade a spade here where nobody’s going to get all freaked out and distracted and start foaming and looking for the pitchforks or whatever.

  46. shanaynay
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    So the law mandates crappy treatment of women, but if you get a sympathetic doctor, he/she can try to make it as minimally crappy as possible? Pass. I don’t relish the idea of painting docs as rapists, especially since the very few abortion providers in a state like this are pretty excellent people, but I certainly don’t want to shy away from calling this spade a spade because I’d then have to call the unfortunate wielder a gardener, nor do I support a setup that says “if you’re lucky, maybe it won’t be so bad. Cross them fingers, girls!” As a pro-choice-without-qualification-or-exception nursing student, I’m quite sympathetic to the lot of the clinician…but I also know the culture of this state, and I find the idea of being at the mercy of the personal ideology of my healthcare provider utterly unacceptable. The law is here to protect our rights, not put us at the mercy of the whims of others, and I’d bet that there are very few places in the country where a woman seeking abortion is more likely to be viewed as a stupid, irresponsible, immoral slut not worthy of any particular care or gentleness than in the state of Oklahoma.

  47. MeghanR
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Here’s the thing:
    -pelvic exams for birth control are considered medically necessary, in that they help detect STIs and any other problems. Their stated purpose is not to shame women.
    -if an ultrasound is determined medically necessary, either to determine which sort of abortion to provide or to confirm a healthy pregnancy, that is one thing and presumably would involve a doctor/patient conversation and the patient’s eventual consent.
    -But to insist upon ultrasounds for political reasons, with the explicitly stated purpose being to discourage women from obtaining abortions, is something else entirely.

  48. TabloidScully
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    “In the case of animals, saying we are acting in their best interest as humans is the same to me as saying it is in the best interest of the woman. There is an element of “I know what is best for you” to both.”
    With all due respect, there is a fundamental difference between the cognitive ability of animals and that of women. Conflating them is very dangerous, and inherently justifies the kind of paternalistic rhetoric that motivates law like this. Routine procedures to monitor and react to the health of your pets is simply not comparable to a procedure that is unnecessary (i.e., describing the appearance of an embryo immediately before an abortion takes place) and designed to shame women.
    I actually don’t think it’s cool to require pap smears for women to access birth control pills. It’s prohibitive and invasive and smacks of the same kind of paternalism that engineers any anti-choice measure. I don’t see why the argument shouldn’t be made that that’s a violation. We don’t make men undergo testing for chlamydia before they purchase condoms, nor an exam to see if they have genital warts or herpes.

  49. https://me.yahoo.com/a/tK6pHU8XpM5ikzpVa0dW_VFVSuRn6745ag--#50713
    Posted April 29, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Thank God the Oklahoma legislature was able to override the veto from the pro-abortion Governor!
    The passing of this law is a positive step in the right direction and hopefully will save some babies from being murdered in Oklahoma.

  50. Icy Bear
    Posted April 30, 2010 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    I never said anywhere that this was right or okay, or that women getting an abortion should just wish for a nice doctor. I stated twice that this could be very traumatic for women, and believe me, I think this law is absolutely awful.
    I just also think there are some situations where labeling this rape could be pretty traumatic for the doctor. Imagine if there was a doctor who was a survivor of sexual assault, who decided to start doing abortions to help women – and then read on the internet one day that people think they are a rapist because they do what they have to do to keep providing access to abortion. If I was in that situation, I would probably lose it.
    This law is wrong in every possible way, it horrifies me. But saying it legalizes rape doesn’t seem fair or correct.

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