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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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73 Responses

  1. auditorydamage
    auditorydamage February 16, 2012 at 8:20 pm |

    At this rate, are we going to have to establish offshore floating abortion/family planning clinics and underground railroads for women who wish to get abortions before the decade is done? I think an argument could be made that the latter is needed now (and for all I know may already exist).

    That is some seriously scary disdain for bodily autonomy, ironic and sickening given the screaming about “government getting between doctors and patients!” two-odd years ago.

  2. FashionablyEvil
    FashionablyEvil February 16, 2012 at 9:25 pm |

    I continue in my aspiration to be Dahlia Lithwick and in my disgust at the number of asshole legislators in this country.

  3. EG
    EG February 16, 2012 at 9:38 pm |

    I’m really glad that this issue is being made explicit. I posted about it on my blog a while back, but my blog is locked. It was surprising to me how many people really don’t understand what a first-trimester ultrasounds involves. My father, who has two daughters, didn’t. A friend of mine who had just completed a pregnancy hadn’t made the connection.

    But indeed, the fact that legislators can’t figure out the difference between having something put in my vagina by somebody whom I want to do so for a reason I have deemed worthwhile and the state forcing me to have something put in my vagina whether I like it or not tells you everything you need to know about the relationship between force birth, rape, and how little women’s desire and consent matter to these people.

  4. chingona
    chingona February 16, 2012 at 9:46 pm |

    So, when do doctors start demanding conscience clauses to not comply with these ridiculous laws?

  5. C
    C February 16, 2012 at 9:46 pm |

    This just reinforces the notion that women do not own their bodies. Sickening.

  6. Donna L
    Donna L February 16, 2012 at 9:48 pm |

    All these legislators deserve to be put in prison for inducing and abetting rape.

  7. chingona
    chingona February 16, 2012 at 9:48 pm |

    I do have a question, though. I had an ultrasound at 8 weeks with my first, and it was abdominal. Does the law explicitly state that it has to be transvaginal?

  8. auditorydamage
    auditorydamage February 16, 2012 at 9:53 pm |

    @7

    Re: the second and third links… uhhhh… one post down?

  9. EG
    EG February 16, 2012 at 9:57 pm |

    Don’t be silly, auditorydamage. There’s a dude here telling us what we should really be concerned about–don’t confuse the issue with facts!

  10. thinksnake
    thinksnake February 16, 2012 at 9:59 pm |

    @ 7
    One topic at a time, perhaps? Unless you’re meaning to say that the topic here isn’t worth talking about. In which case, bugger off.

  11. Seth Eag
    Seth Eag February 16, 2012 at 10:24 pm |

    I just don’t know what to say anymore. Can someone whose natural inclination is to believe a bill like this is okay ever be made to understand why it isn’t?

  12. LindaR
    LindaR February 16, 2012 at 10:55 pm |

    Isn’t it about time doctors weigh in and say they’re going to refuse to do an unnecessary, medically pointless procedure like this? Where are they?

  13. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable February 16, 2012 at 11:06 pm |

    Seriously, fuck off javier.

  14. Politicalguineapig
    Politicalguineapig February 16, 2012 at 11:19 pm |

    First Okalahoma and now Virginia. Once again, proof positive that Reconstruction was the biggest waste of money ever. Seriously, contraception and universal health care wouldn’t be issues at all if we had a lot less states.

  15. Ariel
    Ariel February 17, 2012 at 12:37 am |

    We all need to pitch in and buy a nice little out-of-U.S.-laws-reach island that is ruled by feminist values.
    That way stupid stuff like this ^ wont be allowed to happen.

  16. Chataya
    Chataya February 17, 2012 at 12:38 am |

    ….why not cover some of these….

    Believe it or not, it is possible to care about more than one thing at the same time. It’s a difficult concept, I know.

  17. PeggyLuWho
    PeggyLuWho February 17, 2012 at 2:08 am |

    auditorydamage, I’ve been saying ever since W was in office, and nominating folks to the Supreme Court that I’d participate in an underground railroad should Roe be overturned. Seriously, I have a futon here in Oakland, CA where there are no such laws, and if anyone from Virginia or any of these personhood states needs a place to crash while they take care of their medical needs, I hope they’ll get in touch.

  18. PeggyLuWho
    PeggyLuWho February 17, 2012 at 2:14 am |

    Also, I’ve had to have a couple of those transvaginal ultrasounds, and they’re awful. The first one I ever had, my mother came into the exam room with me, and when it was done, we were both white as sheets. She had two children, and is well into her sixties and had never had one, and she was mortified. She insisted on taking me out to a restaurant for a beer and a dessert afterwards, because it was all she could think to do to soothe me.

  19. matlun
    matlun February 17, 2012 at 4:18 am |

    I do have a question, though. I had an ultrasound at 8 weeks with my first, and it was abdominal. Does the law explicitly state that it has to be transvaginal?

    I am also curious about this. Since the ultrasound does not actually have any medical purpose, is there any reason for it not to be abdominal?

  20. Crys T
    Crys T February 17, 2012 at 6:39 am |

    I had to have a transvaginal ultrasound to diagnose my polycystic ovaries & that fucker was PAINFUL. Those a-holes who want to require women to have them ought to be subjected to something equally painful & stressful.

  21. Ruth
    Ruth February 17, 2012 at 6:53 am |

    You need to have an ultrasound before an abortion so that they can accurately date the pregnancy, as this determines which methods can be used. The insistence on transvaginal instead of abdominal, and the justification for it, is creepy. If this is another one of those “look, a foetus! You surely can’t actually really truly want to abort it, right?” things, that is also terrible. But ultrasounds are necessary before abortions for the health of the mother (though that’s obviously not the point of this bill).

  22. Past my expiration date
    Past my expiration date February 17, 2012 at 7:19 am |

    I had hundreds of transvaginal ultrasounds as part of infertility treatment, and for me they were generally ho-hum. So the procedure itself is not the problem with this bill, for me. The problem is — well, what Dahlia Lithwick said. (I aspire to be Dahlia Lithwick too.)

  23. Angie unduplicated
    Angie unduplicated February 17, 2012 at 8:23 am |

    Taking this from the top, the VA GOP and their minions, who claim government is too intrusive, just voted to seriously intrude on women’s private parts. The same gang of rich white privileged goons who squall about the deficit and swear that medicine should neve, ever be socialized, are mandating unnecessary procedures. We know that Tea Party signs can’t spell Liar, so we should do it for them. Repeat after me: Republicans cannot be trusted, I have proof. Now, go thou and teach all voters.

  24. KristinMH
    KristinMH February 17, 2012 at 8:39 am |

    I had a TV ultrasound early in my pregnancy. It wasn’t awful or anything, but it was medically indicated and I was willingly pregnant.

    I don’t think I’d feel the same way if it were medically unnecessary and I had been seeking an abortion. o_0

  25. ellie
    ellie February 17, 2012 at 9:06 am |

    They want to take away birth control. They want to stop paying for birth control. They want to put up cost barriers to abortion. They want to require rape-y medical procedures before abortions happen.

    I have no words for how violated I feel by the news every day lately. There are guys like this Santorum backer, who say women should just keep their legs closed. And then when he’s called out for a tasteless “joke”, Santorum never officially condemns the comment, but instead just says “The liberal media is out to get me, not fair.

    WHY THE FUCK ARE THESE PEOPLE SO CONCERNED WITH TELLING ME WHAT I’M ALLOWED TO PUT IN MY VAGINA AND WHAT I’M REQUIRED TO PUT IN IT.

    Seriously, I just want one day without vaginas in the news. One.

  26. Andie
    Andie February 17, 2012 at 9:21 am |

    Hmm.. can I assume, being the U.S. and all.. that these women will also be required to PAY out of pocket for their own violation?

    That, my friends, is fucked to the 87th degree. It’s complete and utter bullshit.

  27. TiG
    TiG February 17, 2012 at 9:40 am |

    I agree w previous posters…this is so depressing! Every day I look at the news there’s something ELSE about how womens rights are being eroded. What recourse do we have, because I’m feeling worse and worse every day and hopelessness is setting in.

  28. Partial Human
    Partial Human February 17, 2012 at 10:52 am |

    Thank FSM for Women on Waves.

  29. John
    John February 17, 2012 at 10:58 am |

    It’s simple, they hate women. I never really believed it before, but this is just sick. You need to organise against this in a way you haven’t before.
    Another thing – when these bigots are done reducing women to the status of non-citizens, they’ll come after everybody else they hate.

  30. Daisy
    Daisy February 17, 2012 at 11:53 am |

    The determination of whether an ultrasound is necessary or not before an abortion can be performed should be determined by a woman’s doctor, not the legislature. And this bill isn’t simply about performing the ultrasound (i.e. ensuring doctors do their due diligence -because that’s already happening) – it also requires that women are shown the ultrasound, which if a doctor is performing the ultrasound to determine age of the fetus (to determine if a medication can be used instead of a surgical procedure, for example) is not at all required.

    As has been said many times, this isn’t about “protecting women” as they at times try to paint it (just like they do with the TRAP laws here as well – makes me want to vomit). It is about shaming women and doing the whole: Look, a “baby”! And you’re going to “kill” it! dance.

  31. Anon21
    Anon21 February 17, 2012 at 11:56 am |

    Honestly, this seems like a time when civil disobedience is indicated. State law cannot repeal basic human ethics. Doctors should have women go into the ultrasound room, sit around for a few minutes, and then come out with an image of “their” fetus.

  32. Hippoplatypus
    Hippoplatypus February 17, 2012 at 12:27 pm |

    Angie Unduplicated, somehow I misread “VA GOP” as “VAG OP.” Oddly unfortunate…

  33. Emolee
    Emolee February 17, 2012 at 1:16 pm |

    I’m sick to my stomach over this, especially compiled with everything else surrounding reproductive (lack of) rights in the news recently.

    As EG said- a law like this

    tells you everything you need to know about the relationship between force birth, rape, and how little women’s desire and consent matter to these people.

    And I also like the sugestion above that doctors should be able to be conscientious objectors to this law. Why are exceptions only made for conservative Christians? (hypothetical question, obv.) Other people have values, too, and there are laws (like this one) that seriously violate those values all the time.

  34. auditorydamage
    auditorydamage February 17, 2012 at 1:21 pm |

    @33

    The next step will be to require a state-certified third party in the room to confirm that the shameless hussy viewed an ultrasound of the baby she’s about to heartlessly murder – maybe even require photographic or video evidence of the procedure, with penalties for failure to properly torture the irresponsible jezebel before she commits a sin against God.

    At this point, I would not put it past any state legislature to go that far.

  35. Kes
    Kes February 17, 2012 at 3:16 pm |

    I hate this and it is horrible, & etc. But I am confused: Whyhow is this different from Texas’ law mandating the exact same thing? That law was put on hold while courts held hearings, but a judge un-held it just last month. I’ve tried some minor Googling to figure out what the difference is, if anything, but haven’t gotten anywhere. Someone who knows, please explain!

    Cause if they’re the exact same thing, they’re both equally horrible, but the TX law has been on the books for some time now. Where was the outrage then?

  36. Rob in CT
    Rob in CT February 17, 2012 at 3:44 pm |

    I remember some outrage over the TX thing.

  37. Emolee
    Emolee February 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm |

    I remember outrage at the TX law, as well as other states that did/tried to enact these awful laws. I believe on this site, I brought up that there was a Democratic TX Rep. who brought a transvaginal ultrasound wand onto the TX House floor during a debate to try to show exactly what the law would mandate…

  38. An Ultrasound Isn’t Rape: Attacks on Virginia Abortion Law Go Over the Top « Commentary Magazine

    [...] – to be kind – totally absurd. But Salon’s not the only outlet engaging in this. Feministe is calling it the “Virginia Rape Law,” and Washington Monthly described it as the “Ritual Humiliation [...]

  39. valentifan69
    valentifan69 February 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm |

    I do have a question, though. I had an ultrasound at 8 weeks with my first, and it was abdominal. Does the law explicitly state that it has to be transvaginal?

    No. I have looked up the bill which is here http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?121+sum+SB484 and the version people are up in arms about which is here http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?121+ful+SB484S1

    The phrase used in the legislation in B is that the “ultrasound image shall be made pursuant to standard medical practice in the community”. People seem to be putting a lot of weight on this by insisting it means transvaginal, as you say there are plenty of abdominal ultrasounds before 12 weeks and that’s also standard medical practice.

    And this bill isn’t simply about performing the ultrasound (i.e. ensuring doctors do their due diligence -because that’s already happening) – it also requires that women are shown the ultrasound

    No it doesn’t. In C it says the “offer the woman an opportunity to view and receive a printed copy of the ultrasound image and hear auscultation of fetal heart tone”.

  40. Sydney
    Sydney February 17, 2012 at 6:37 pm |

    As a Virginian (whose two Democratic legislators gleefully hopped on board with this), I’m glad this is finally getting national attention. All this could be a moot point though, as we’re probably going to classify fertilized eggs as people soon, making all abortion and some forms of birth control illegal. Yay.

    And seriously, enough with the ‘we should never have let them rejoin the country’ shit.

  41. Jovan1984
    Jovan1984 February 17, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  42. Unicorns
    Unicorns February 18, 2012 at 12:43 am |

    I’m originally born/raised in VA, live in the Midwest for now. Most of my friends tease me for being a Southerner, and when that Mississippi madness happened a few months ago, the teasing was something like “just wait VA’s next!!!”. I defended my home state with vigor, and now I’ve got egg all over my face instead. Where next? :(

    I have been waffling in the past year or so over whether to get an IUD, and frankly this sort of scary culture war environment is forcing the issue. But, I should hope that once I get it in, they won’t *force* me to get it removed later because this shit gets signed into law…Jill you’re the legal expert, could that happen?

  43. Pro-abortion set cries rape « Don Surber

    [...] From Jill at Feministe: [...]

  44. Rangela66
    Rangela66 February 18, 2012 at 10:53 am |

    So what next? I refuse the procedure, can’t get the abortion…then what?…Lock me up and force feed me prenatal vitamins to keep the baby healthy? So in a life or death childbirth…who will the government protect…the mother or the child? Perhaps we women should only have sex when we want children as a new form of contraception…how will the law makers feel about that? Let their wives provide them with a jar of vaseline when they want sex and not children. See how long that law stays a law.

  45. Femifista rapes my vagina with stupid « babygiraffes

    [...] This post raped my vagina with stupid, and if I feel raped, it must be real. I’m a woman and therefore I ride the ultimate and unimpeachable moral highhorse. My weapons are smug self-righteousness in one hand and condescension in the other. [...]

  46. Angel H.
    Angel H. February 18, 2012 at 5:23 pm |

    Oh, go fuck yourself, Baby Giraffes.

  47. Argenti Aertheri
    Argenti Aertheri February 18, 2012 at 7:35 pm |

    Perhaps we women should only have sex when we want children as a new form of contraception…how will the law makers feel about that?

    I think that might be the goal….we’re um, sluts, otherwise, though I’m sure you’d heard that one already >.<

    This shit is making me wish I'd never moved out of CT, liberal new england still seems semi-safe…

  48. EG
    EG February 18, 2012 at 8:41 pm |

    This post raped my vagina with stupid, and if I feel raped, it must be real.

    I can’t account for anybody’s feelings, but I believe the point this post is making is that if you put something into a woman’s vagina whether she wants you to or not, then that is rape.

  49. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable February 18, 2012 at 8:46 pm |

    You know that endless hypothetical about whether a drunk girl can be raped by a drunk guy, given equal levels of intoxication? If you’re already a fucking idiot, what exactly can stupid do to you?

  50. Chiara
    Chiara February 19, 2012 at 4:52 pm |

    What’s your answer to that btw? Is it more likely that the guy has malicious intentions or whatever?

  51. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable February 19, 2012 at 5:29 pm |

    I don’t concern myself with hypotheticals for shits and giggles. If this is ever a reality (i.e. two people are equally blackout and both wake up feeling overwhelmingly violated), I’ll worry about it then. And actually, probably not even then unless I’m one of the two involved.

  52. Chiara
    Chiara February 19, 2012 at 6:09 pm |

    Btw do we believe that drunk people can simply never consent to sex and therefore any drunken sex is rape? I don’t think I believe that.

    Surely if that were true then we should also make it illegal for bars to sell more alcohol to drunk people, because the drunk people can’t be in their right minds to make financial decisions…

  53. Chiara
    Chiara February 19, 2012 at 6:10 pm |

    I mean I do a lot of whack shit when I’m drunk but I don’t do stuff that’s against my character. Why is a decision a drunk person makes less valid than that of a sober person? A sober person is just making decisions based on a difference balance of chemicals in there brain. It’s pretty relative.

  54. Argenti Aertheri
    Argenti Aertheri February 19, 2012 at 6:14 pm |

    Chiara, I don’t want to derail this, but my standard answer to that question is that if both parties are drunk, and it’s only rape because neither can consent while drunk — but neither party is saying it wasn’t consensual — it’s just never going to court, so why are we pondering this? Or that if both parties are drunk, and one’s saying it was rape, why would the victim lie? — I’m assuming you’re looking for a “good” answer to being asked a stupid question though.

    Back on topic:

    So, when do doctors start demanding conscience clauses to not comply with these ridiculous laws?

    That’d be an excellent idea of the idea of conscience clauses in medicine wasn’t generally badness. I keep going back and forth in my head on that one, whether it’d be the best use of that shit ever, or if they’re just shit.

    auditorydamage — it looks like they’re already “requir[ing] a state-certified third party in the room” though “only” to ensure the ultrasound happens, not that she views it — that’s a terrifying small half-step though. (1B of the full text

    The summary and full text links are here btw.

    I have been waffling in the past year or so over whether to get an IUD, and frankly this sort of scary culture war environment is forcing the issue.

    Unicorns, thank you, I was beginning to think I was just being paranoid thinking buying myself 5 years might be a good idea.

  55. Argenti Aertheri
    Argenti Aertheri February 19, 2012 at 6:25 pm |

    PrettyAmiable — “I don’t concern myself with hypotheticals for shits and giggles.” that might be my favorite pastime….I seem to have been typing while you were replying.

    Chiara — “Why is a decision a drunk person makes less valid than that of a sober person?” — if the question is why is drunk consent less valid than sober consent, the answer is because it’s much easier to talk a drunk person into doing something they don’t really want to do.

  56. Chiara
    Chiara February 19, 2012 at 6:34 pm |

    Yeah but that’s pretty relative. Like if everyone was drunk all the time and being sober was rare, people would be saying ‘fuck, peeps do total weird shit when they’re sober’

  57. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable February 19, 2012 at 6:36 pm |

    Argenti, you also seem to have taken the question in better faith than I did. I’ve become incredibly cynical in the last year.

  58. Chiara
    Chiara February 19, 2012 at 6:38 pm |

    Sorry I didn’t see your comment when I was writing mine. I’ll try not to derail.

    I think the right have some notion that a woman is going to see the fetus on the screen and be like ‘d’awww little babby!’ and then not abort.

  59. EG
    EG February 19, 2012 at 7:05 pm |

    if that were true then we should also make it illegal for bars to sell more alcohol to drunk people

    FYI, at least in New York, it already technically is illegal to sell alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person, or at least in my drinking days it was. Bars have signs up to that effect and everything. It’s just that nobody pays any attention to that law because it’s so obviously silly.

  60. The Left’s outrageous outrage at a proposal to require ultrasounds before abortion « Hot Air

    [...] to be kind – totally absurd. But [Slate's] not the only outlet engaging in this. Feministe is calling it the “Virginia Rape Law,” and Washington Monthly described it as the “Ritual Humiliation [...]

  61. Unicorns
    Unicorns February 19, 2012 at 11:25 pm |

    Unicorns, thank you, I was beginning to think I was just being paranoid thinking buying myself 5 years might be a good idea.

    Right??? Thank you too, Argenti Aertheri, now I know I’m not alone either =P But seriously. I was actually thinking the 10 yr version!

  62. Jjuliaava
    Jjuliaava February 20, 2012 at 3:35 pm |

    Cause if they’re the exact same thing, they’re both equally horrible, but the TX law has been on the books for some time now. Where was the outrage then?

    Righto and also this is the law in Missouri. The only outrage I know of is my own.

  63. Lauren
    Lauren February 20, 2012 at 4:46 pm |

    I can’t believe that this is real. The Virginia GOP have entered an Orwellian land where they can prod and probe women’s bodies, women have little to no control over their own lives, and sex is an evil act used only for domination. I blogged about how horrified I am about all of this.

    http://4thwavefeminism.blogspot.com/2012/02/really.html

  64. Hysterical Abortion Advocates Equate Ultrasounds To Rape

    [...] is spreading like wildfire around pro-abortion blogs, from RH Reality Check and Feministing, to Feministe and Pandagon. They’re all parroting the same absurd claim: that somehow, requiring a [...]

  65. Echo Zen
    Echo Zen February 20, 2012 at 7:57 pm |

    The trackbacks are proof positive that anti-choicers are utterly incapable of comprehending that penetrating a vagina against a woman’s will, no matter who that woman is, constitutes sexual assault. They’re almost making their misogyny too obvious — in the old days they at least pretended they wanted to protect vaginas from violation because they were so valuable. Oh wait, that only applies to virgins, since everyone knows women who’ve had sex are like used lollipops.

  66. Emolee
    Emolee February 21, 2012 at 3:07 pm |

    requir[ing] a state-certified third party in the room

    Jesus. That is terrifying. Please tell me this is not real.

    And this is the party that says it is against “government intrusion”?

  67. Katya
    Katya February 22, 2012 at 2:57 pm |

    I do have a question, though. I had an ultrasound at 8 weeks with my first, and it was abdominal. Does the law explicitly state that it has to be transvaginal?

    No, but it does require that the woman have the opportunity to hear the heartbeat, which I believe is only possible in early pregnancy using TV ultrasound. There’s really no medical reason to hear the heartbeat, so that little requirement is just to make sure that you get your maximum dose of shame and guilt.

  68. Barbara
    Barbara February 22, 2012 at 10:08 pm |

    Go against the right wingers and your dead meat a-what

  69. Hysterical Abortion Advocates Equate Ultrasounds To Rape | LifeNews.com

    [...] is spreading like wildfire around pro-abortion blogs, from RH Reality Check and Feministing, to Feministe and Pandagon. They’re all parroting the same absurd claim: that somehow, requiring a pre-abortion [...]

  70. Anecdotal
    Anecdotal February 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm |

    So, governor McDonnell is backing down on the transvaginal ultrasound requirement for abortions in Virginia. Good news, but I hope the bill fails altogether. It’s a pretty well known strategy that when negotiating you ask for more than what you really want. When you back down, the other side sees it as a victory, even though you’ve still scored some points. As I understand it, ultrasounds in general are not required for abortions in Virginia? I’m not sure, so please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. I think the ‘softer’ bill that is likely going to pass is still requiring ultrasounds where none were required before. According to a New York Times article today it sounds like the Democrats aren’t going to be duped so easily, but I hope that women’s rights advocates won’t be allayed by this. I know for me personally, my initial reaction was relief but after the high wore off I still hope that the final bill that passes doesn’t impose anti-abortion measures that were not in place before.

    Don’t get me wrong though, as a Virginia resident, I’m relieved to hear the governor is backing down on state mandated rape.

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