Shorter VA Governor: Women Should be Violated over Belly, not through Vagina

The overt is often more dangerous than the covert.

As many predicted, implementing the rape of women with ultrasounds and probes is not politically savvy. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who had initially promised to sign the bill requiring women to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound before terminating a pregnancy has had a change of heart. Today, in a statement, The Governor asks the General Assembly to amend the bill, so that only a transabdominal, or external, ultrasound would be required.

For this reason, I have recommended to the General Assembly a series of amendments to this bill. I am requesting that the General Assembly amend this bill to explicitly state that no woman in Virginia will have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound involuntarily. I am asking the General Assembly to state in this legislation that only a transabdominal, or external, ultrasound will be required to satisfy the requirements to determine gestational age.

While it’s great that McDonnell won’t sign the state rape law, the take away from this is let’s violate women in a kindler, gentler way, over the belly, not through the vagina, so it’s more palatable to and draws less opposition from voters. Forcing women to undergo any unnecessary procedures before being “allowed” to have an abortion, is a violation and either an attempt to prevent women from having an abortion or a way to punish them for making the decision to abort. It may be less painful and less icky over the belly. But we have to fight against it just the same.

Here is McDonnell’s complete statement.

I am pro-life. I believe deeply in the sanctity of innocent human life and believe governments have a duty to protect human life. The more our society embraces a culture of life for all people, the better country we will have. Over the course of my 20-year career in elected office, I have been glad to play a leading role in putting in place common-sense policies that protect and defend innocent human life in the Commonwealth. One of those bills was Virginia’s informed consent statute, of which I was the chief patron in the House of Delegates, finally seeing its passage in 2001. This session, the General Assembly is now considering amending this informed consent statute to include a requirement that any woman seeking an abortion receive an ultrasound in order to establish the gestational age for appropriate medical purposes, and to offer a woman the opportunity to voluntarily review that ultrasound prior to giving her legal informed consent to abortion.

Over the past days I have discussed the specific language of the proposed legislation with other governors, physicians, attorneys, legislators, advocacy groups, and citizens. It is apparent that several amendments to the proposed legislation are needed to address various medical and legal issues which have arisen. It is clear that in the majority of cases, a routine external, transabdominal ultrasound is sufficient to meet the bills stated purpose, that is, to determine gestational age. I have come to understand that the medical practice and standard of care currently guide physicians to use other procedures to find the gestational age of the child, when abdominal ultrasounds cannot do so. Determining gestational age is essential for legal reasons, to know the trimester of the pregnancy in order to comply with the law, and for medical reasons as well.

Thus, having looked at the current proposal, I believe there is no need to direct by statute that further invasive ultrasound procedures be done. Mandating an invasive procedure in order to give informed consent is not a proper role for the state. No person should be directed to undergo an invasive procedure by the state, without their consent, as a precondition to another medical procedure.

For this reason, I have recommended to the General Assembly a series of amendments to this bill. I am requesting that the General Assembly amend this bill to explicitly state that no woman in Virginia will have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound involuntarily. I am asking the General Assembly to state in this legislation that only a transabdominal, or external, ultrasound will be required to satisfy the requirements to determine gestational age. Should a doctor determine that another form of ultrasound may be necessary to provide the necessary images and information that will be an issue for the doctor and the patient. The government will have no role in that medical decision.

I have requested other amendments that help clarify the purposes of the bill and reflect a better understanding of prevailing medical practices. It is my hope that the members of the General Assembly will act favorably upon these recommendations from our office. We will await their action prior to making any further comments on this matter.

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5 Comments

  1. Posted February 22, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    This concerns me: “I am requesting that the General Assembly amend this bill to explicitly state that no woman in Virginia will have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound involuntarily… Should a doctor determine that another form of ultrasound may be necessary to provide the necessary images and information that will be an issue for the doctor and the patient. The government will have no role in that medical decision.”

    If doctors are required to prove gestational age prior to a first trimester abortion to satisfy the law and the only way to prove gestational age is with a transvaginal ultrasound and the patient refuses this medically unnecessary procedure, can the doctor proceed with the abortion or must he deny the patient his services because he is required to submit proof of gestational age? It seems to mean that the state of Virginia is reaching for political cover and succeeding in denying women abortion services.

  2. Posted February 22, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    It may be less painful and less icky over the belly. But we have to fight against it just the same.

    Just the same?

    Except this can’t be just the same, because as a group we’ve chosen to fight this bill using the rhetoric that vaginal ultrasounds are rape. While that tactic has undoubtedly mustered a further degree of opposition against the bill, it leaves us vulnerable when the battleground shifts.

    Now we need to either completely change our approach and say that the *real* issue is forcing unwanted medical procedures on people, or we need to continue to equivocate and make the spurious claim that all unwanted medical procedures infringe on bodily integrity, and therefore are equivalent to rape.

  3. Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    I think you meant:
    The covert is often more dangerous than the overt.

  4. Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Is there some other way to determine the age of the fetus, without Ultrasound?

    • Posted February 27, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      Date of last menses seems accurate enough for me. Bigger question: Why does the law care about when sperm met ova?

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