May 13, 2010
TRIGGER WARNING This post and its links contain information about sexual assault and/or violence against women which may be triggering to survivors.
Let’s be clear: the Oklahoma legislature has instituted legal rape (though the law is temporarily suspended).
And, no, it is not OK because it’s common practice to receive a pap smear or other vaginal exam as part of medical care.
Don’t you think that there is a difference between giving someone an ultrasound/vaginal exam to promote good health and one that is done to punish women who want to access their legal right to abortion? Just like there is a difference between consensual sexual intercourse and having sex with someone because he won’t let you out of the car until you do?
The difference between your pap smear and the Oklahoma law just vetoed [passed] is that no one has passed a law requiring you to submit to your pap smear on pain of criminal prosecution. The problem is the coercive arm of the state, not the specific form of a given medical procedure.
A point of technical clarification: An ultrasound is done before every abortion in this country…an ultrasound through the abdomen, which is done to date the pregnancy and ensure it is within legal dates. Requiring an ultrasound through the vagina is an additional burden that serves no clinical purpose other than to harass women (nevermind the providing doctors) with an invasive, unnecessary procedure that can be doubly traumatic for those whose pregnancies resulted from penetration they did not consent to in the first place. The sanctimonious whining about “holocaust” and “murder” – that women would change their mind if they just saw that little baby first? Every women already gets an ultrasound first. Just not one by phallic probe up the vagina.
And, no, it’s not OK because it can be looked at as a take-it-or-leave-it package deal. A woman cannot refuse, and a doctor cannot choose to offer, an abortion option without it. The threat of force and the seriousness of pregnancy do not allow for genuine consent.
And, no, it’s not OK because you can “just” go to another state. Unreasonable demands undermine consent, amount to victim-blaming, and presuppose the legitimacy of the law.
And, no, it’s not OK because she might have something inserted into her vagina anyway to perform the desired abortion. Any amount of time that someone’s body is violated that is longer than they consent to (and, again, consent is impossible under this law) is too long.
And, no, it wouldn’t be OK if a provision was added exempting victims of rape or incest. The very act itself is rape. “Being raped once is “Oklahoma, OK”,…but being raped twice is an act to which the state cannot consent?”