Mike the Mad Biologist

Last week, I described how the Texas Republican party proposed legislation that would require a woman who wants to have an abortion to receive a vaginal exam (two actually). Well, the Texas Democrats at least fought back (which is more than the national Dems ever do):

Houston state representative Harold Dutton got the most coverage for repeatedly making the point that “pro-lifers” drop all pretense of caring about life the second it can’t be used to punish sexually active women. In rapid order, he introduced three amendments that were tabled by the majority, who really didn’t want to address the issue of the wellbeing of actual children when potential children matter so much more to them. All three amendments addressed what should happen if a woman looks at a sonogram and decides not to have abortion.  The first amendment would have required the state to pay for the child’s college tuition, the second required the state to pay for the child’s health care until age 18, and the third required the state to pay for the child’s health care until age six.

No one was surprised that the anti-choice coalition was able to successfully block these amendments, but Dutton’s point was amply made: anti-choice sentimentality about children is just a ruse to force childbirth to punish sexually active women, and they don’t care one whit about the care and feeding of actual children once they’re born and have served the woman-punishing purpose.

But this was really good:

Marquez chose to use her amendment to highlight the double standard of anti-choicers, who focus most to all of their attention on controlling the reproductive systems of women, and leave men—at least straight men—completely alone.

Her amendment deserves to be quoted directly:

Sec.A171.057.AAMANDATORY VASECTOMY. On an application under Section 171.056, a court shall order a man to undergo a vasectomy if it is shown that:

(1) the man is the father of the pregnant woman’s child outside of marriage; and

(2) previous to the date of application, the man was a father to two or more other children by two or more other women outside of marriage.

In other words, the law would allow women that are forced by the state to undergo paternalistic, condescending, invasive procedures would allow women so violated to deliver a similar violation to the men that impregnated them. Unsurprisingly, anti-choicers did not feel what was good for the goose was good for the gander, and the amendment was tabled.

The more I think about it, the more hideous this is. Imagine if you’re one of those awful people who believes in the 24 fantasy of effective torture. If you had a female prisoner, why wouldn’t you use this device? After all, it doesn’t leave long-term lasting damage–the Rumsfeld criterion. If it did, it wouldn’t be used in medicine. But, as one woman who has undergone the procedure notes, it is not pleasant:

I was being examined because there were indications that I might have cancer.

The technician was thoroughly respectful and did everything to make the process as free as stress and discomfort as possible.

Even under those circumstances it was uncomfortable.

It was, however, not demeaning or threatening because it was my choice. And I was told at every stage of the process that I had the right to cancel it.

I cannot imagine the horror of being forced to go through that procedure without a choice. Imagine, for example, a rape victim being forced to lie on her back and have someone put that probe into her.

This is nightmare fuel.

Though I suppose it’s better than an old fashioned belt buckle whipping.

We have one of the two major parties in complete thrall to fanatics who believe that intimidating women through government-mandaged vaginal penetration, discomfort and pain is an acceptable means of convincing women to not have abortions. How this is markedly different than a torture regime is unclear, except that it only targets women.

Anger is the appropriate emotion.

*It’s not really called that, though it should be.

Comments

  1. #1 mxh
    March 13, 2011

    This is the perfect response to have to these gross violations of personal liberty that the pro-lifers force on women. Show everyone that they don’t care about life.

    As an aside, I wonder what the Texas board of medicine thinks about this. If the doctors have any inkling of medical ethics in them, they would refuse to participate (but, unfortunately, I’m sure lots of them would have no problem with the law).

  2. #2 becca
    March 14, 2011

    As an aside, these procedures are reasonably safe, but not without any risk at all, to the *fetus* in question. Either 1) they are betting the saving of a few fetuses is more valuable than putting all of them at a slight risk or 2) they are just looking for a legal way to make sure those sluts have to consider the consequences of their actions. I’ll give you two guesses as to which it is.

  3. #3 Silent Service
    March 14, 2011

    This is nothing less than Government sactioned and sponsored mandatory rape.

  4. #4 H. E. Vincent
    March 14, 2011

    Well! No great surprise that you a-holes like to twist things around.
    No- we do not want to pay for some libtard’s bastard child’s education, or for anyone else’s little “mistake” either. And, no I am not cursing or using foul language. Look up the definition of “bastard child”. It is an accurate description of the situation. Tell your less than careful friends to keep their knees together and the pill taken daily and I’ll do the same for mine.
    They have the kids; let them take care of the kids. If they cannot, or are not capable, then let’s take the support for same from whatever earnings they have.
    No earnings you say? Sterilization would be a nice way to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
    I’ll bet anything and give 10-2-0 odds that the problem would be greatly reduced and virtually gone in one (1) generation.

  5. #5 Katharine
    March 14, 2011

    H.E. Vincent, o ye of little brain, sometimes women get raped and in that case they sure can’t exactly keep their knees together, can they.

  6. #6 Katharine
    March 14, 2011

    And sometimes contraception fails. Abortion should always be present as a last resort.

  7. #7 Ross
    March 14, 2011

    And sometimes, the doctor tells you that the baby you desperately wanted to have has developed a massive birth defect, and if carried to term, is 100% certain to die slowly and painfully, with a great likelihood of life-threatening complications for the mother.

    Slut-shamers can go fuck themselves.

  8. #8 Sarah in Huntsville
    March 14, 2011

    Don’t you know, contraception only fails if you’re a naughty, ungodly slut.

    As for the children, well, if they wanted an education or healthcare or, you know, food, they should have thought of that before they went and got born to someone who can’t afford any of that stuff. PERSONAL RESPONSIBLITY, people.

  9. #9 Ashley
    March 25, 2011

    Wow- I read this and I got so pissed off. I followed this from the “IRS Audits of Rape Survivors”… I worked for years as a Sexual Assault Survivor Advocate at a Rape Crisis Center. These two articles and the fact that they were actually said outloud, to other people, fucking sickens me. Have the Republicans, or males in general, ever had to sit helplessly while they held the hand of a rape victim on the exam table? Listen to her retell her story, in detail for some stranger with a badge? Have to submit all her clothes for evidence, even her shoes, so that she is left with nothing? Told she cannot shower until she has a Rape Kit exam, the longest one I was present for lasted 6 hours because of all the trauma. Listened to a 14 year old homeless girl talk about how her father and uncle raped her and she doesnt know who the father is?
    This is just disgusting and makes absolutely no sense. None. When it comes down to it, we are being punished for having a vagina?? Maybe we should just start withholding them. Switch teams.. oh wait- they hate gays too… so what are we as women going to be ‘ALLOWED” to do, besides be puppets? Damn I am so mad, I probably wasnt articulate here at all, but I HAD to say something :(

  10. #10 JessE
    April 26, 2011

    HE Vincent, the point is that if conservatives insist that abortions should be illegal because each life is so absolutely sacred, then why don’t they care enough *at all* about those precious babies once they are actually born to make sure that they have access to health care, food, and education? And how is it fair that women are the ones who are shamed and punished for getting pregnant — sure, having lots of kids without being able to take care of them isn’t good, but instead of making comments about how women should “keep their knees together” and “take the pill every day”, let’s remember that they didn’t get themselves pregnant; men are just as much to blame here. It is just as much a man’s responsibility to be wearing a condom every single time he has sex as it is for a woman to be taking the pill if he wants to prevent pregnancy.

    This bill — and attitudes towards reproductive rights and women in general — deeply upset me.

  11. #11 Sadrice
    June 16, 2011

    While I agree that the vaginal probing is pretty horrifying, the four bills mentioned seem patently stupid. Unless I’m misunderstanding, all I would need to do to get free healthcare/education for my child would be to say I want an abortion and then back out of it? How does that make any sense? And why is this particular child more deserving of free anything than any other child? Women who want abortions aren’t the only poor mothers in the world, and although it would be nice to help them, I don’t see what makes them so much more special.

    And apparently because the republicans want to abuse women, that totally justifies, nay, requires some human rights abuses in the other direction? Forced sterilization is Not Cool, no matter who it happens to.