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The War Against Women is Far From Over

Updated on February 25, 2012

In the US, national attention is on contraceptives and abortion. Again. Still.

Now, however, the dialogue has become more personal. More invasive – with the Virginia legislature passing bills that declare a zygote a person, and require what amounts to government-sanctioned rape of women since it forces those seeking an abortion to have a transvaginal ultrasound.

Let’s be clear about what a transvaginal ultrasound is and isn’t. It isn’t an external abdominal ultrasound – which is a standard test in pregnancy that helps determine gestational age. Prior to twelve weeks, minimal details of a fetus are distinguishable through a standard ultrasound. It makes sense then, that legal abortion ‘age’ of the fetus can be determined by this non-invasive procedure because if it’s too early to see detail, it’s definitely within legal range.

What They Want Mandated

A transvaginal ultrasound is an internal, therefore invasive, procedure that requires a woman to meet not with her doctor, with whom one can assume she is comfortable, but with an ultrasound technician she is probably meeting for the first time. She must strip naked from the waist down, spread her legs wide and allow the technician – a complete stranger – to apply lubrication to her genitals then fully insert the transvaginal wand into her vagina, position it at a variety of angles and capture images of the developing zygote in her uterus.

Transvaginal Probe

Women, Doctors and Internal Exams

A transvaginal ultrasound is often used to detect possible cysts or tumors. Vaginal penetration during annual exams or routine pregnancy well-checks, are performed by a doctor - a person in which a woman places her trust and with whom she develops a comfortable doctor-patient relationship. Regardless of that relationship, and regardless of a woman’s age or medical necessity, an internal exam by her doctor is never a comfortable thing – emotionally or physically. To require a woman to endure the procedure when it is not medically necessary is an absolute overreach of government – by the party, I might add, who supposedly stands on ‘small government’.

When the forced vaginal penetration of women was debated by the Virginia Assembly – can you even believe such a debate was held? – Democrat Delegate David Englin said a woman should have to consent to vaginal penetration. According to Englin, a Republican colleague disagreed by saying, women already made the decision to be "vaginally penetrated when they got pregnant."

Proving Gestational Age or Manipulation

Bob McDonnell, Governor of Virginia, who vowed to sign into law the personhood amendment as well as the transvaginal requirement, has since backed down from that assertion and from the extreme misogynistic views of his party, He has, in fact, tabled his decision on the personhood amendment and suggested the Legislature remove the transvaginal requirement from consideration. His stated reason for switching positions is that he – suddenly? – believes government does not have the right to mandate invasive medical procedures.

"Mandating an invasive procedure in order to give informed consent is not a proper role for the state." - Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell

Of course, many anti-choice voices have countered his assertion and insisted the procedure should be required.

Understand this – the stated reasoning for required transvaginal ultrasounds was to determine gestational age since abortions are legal within a specific range. The external ultrasound determines that age – with later stage pregnancies showing more detail. So, less detail would determine an early stage, a gestational age within legal limits. Therefore, this additional – invasive, abusive – requirement is an unnecessary and perverted burden on women.

To show why it is perverted – and it is in every definition of the word – consider the argument of Olivia Gans, director of AVA, who believes that when a woman sees her ultrasound images, she may change her mind about having an abortion and that doctors “routinely” perform transvaginal ultrasounds for pregnancy (I can personally attest, they do NOT):

“That's their standard of medical practice. So this bill was doing nothing more than recognizing and making solid for the woman's sake the opportunity to guarantee that was being done.” - Olivia Gans

So, according to her, this bill was meant to change a woman’s mind by manipulating her emotions. It was meant to make sure doctors were living up to their ‘standard of medical practice’ for the ‘woman’s sake’.

Funny. I thought it was to determine gestational age.

I think Laura Meyers, a chief executive officer at Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, said it best:

"This has nothing to do with the health and safety of women. It has to do with increasing the barriers to abortion care for women, demeaning women and interfering with the patient-doctor relationship." - Laura Meyers

Unfortunately, though this particular element of the bill has been scrapped, the war against women is far from over.


Watch Del. David Englin on the Rachel Maddow Show

From Democrat Delegate David Englin's Website -

David appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show (yesterday) to discuss Governor Bob McDonnell’s new ultrasound mandate, which, instead of using vaginal penetration to bully women into not having abortions, bullies women with medically unnecessary waiting periods and ultrasound requirements.

Watch it HERE


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    • Lady Quill profile image

      Lady Quill 6 years ago

      You've said it perfectly, Credence2. "Subconscious misogyny". The thought process is so 'normal' for some - read that as "arrogant" - that they cannot fathom value in a vision other than their own. They exude a righteousness which blinds them to their hypocrisy. I think it is the job of those in opposition to continue a calm but continual exposure of this type of extremism. Until those who are easily swayed realize the truth for themselves, I fear the 'Right' will continue to limit our personal freedoms. Thanks so much for coming by and commenting. Always a pleasure to see what you have to say.

    • Credence2 profile image

      Credence2 6 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      "According to Englin, a Republican colleague disagreed by saying, women already made the decision to be "vaginally penetrated when they got pregnant."

      Lady Quill, this says it all, a certain amount of subconscious misogyny that comes up for the light of day. The Virginia debacle should makes us all shudder as to what is is the 'right' has in store for all of us. How much does all this mandated medical procedure cost the taxpayer? So much for smaller government. The right are just a bunch of pigs, they are not interested in containing costs as they are in controlling people in the most intimate parts of their lives. To that end, they will spare no expense... Great article, Cred2

    • Lady Quill profile image

      Lady Quill 6 years ago

      American Romance, thank you for sharing your opinion.

      This is not only about fairness, it's about the right to privacy and the right to block the government's entry into a woman's body - especially through such a manipulative and demeaning way as discussed in this hub.

      You suggested that women who seek abortions are naive, and that may well be true for some of them, but the majority of women have a full understanding of the process. That same majority has no doubt struggled with their decision about the zygote within their bodies that, if carried to term, may fully develop into a live human being. And many - most - do not make this decision lightly. We can never know the circumstances that create another's motivation.

      For the record, the only funds that pay for abortions through Planned Parenthood are those that are donated by people who believe a woman has the right of way over her own body. Taxpayer dollars help fund Planned Parenthood programs such as cancer screenings, contraceptives and STD testing/treatment. While that frees up cash for other procedures, it does not pay for them... and if government funding were stopped, the programs the funding pays for would also stop, with millions of dollars in private donations continuing to fund programs deemed most necessary.

    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 6 years ago from America

      If I am forced to pay for contraceptive and abortions as we are now through planned parenthood etc. Then I want the woman to know and understand she is killing a live human being before having an abortion! You liberals speak of fairness on a daily basis! I believe it is fair for the naive to understand what they are doing and get one last chance to understand they are about to murder an innocent child!

    • Lady Quill profile image

      Lady Quill 6 years ago

      ib Radmasters, I admire you for holding firm to your abortion-foe opinion while still agreeing this is government going too far.

      As someone who is for choice, I find it hard to understand how government can assume the role of moral dictator over women whose personal lives will never be fully known. Putting any restrictions on abortion beyond a specific gestational age is, in my opinion, overreach. Testing, forcing any type of emotional or physical manipulation or financial hardship is, again in my opinion, the undue burden specifically prohibited by the Supreme Court.

      Clearly, this fight will continue despite the belief of many that the government – especially supposed ‘limited government’ touted by the Republican Party – should stay out of American wombs.

      Just as an aside, there isn't, as you say “a real problem” with abortion being used as retroactive contraception. Statistics actually show that 1% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 have had more than one abortion. Many – I do not have the percentage – already have several children at home. We cannot know their circumstances and while even I don't like the idea of a woman having multiple abortions, it is not - and should not - be up to me to decide how many a woman can have... just as it isn't up to me or anyone else, how many children – or Big Macs, for that matter – a woman should have.

      If one percent have multiple abortions, that does not make restrictions necessary. That's like punishing an entire grade after one child misbehaves in class.

      I would never try to alter someone's view on abortion. Everyone is entitled to feel as they do. I feel, however, that entitlement should end with “feeling”. The “action” should be determined by a woman and her doctor. No one else.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 6 years ago from Southern California

      Lady Quill

      I understand and agree with your point on overreaching and invasive government in this and other areas, But there is a real problem with retroactive conception. Oops babies.

      You can't ignore the statics, especially when some women get abortion after abortion. There are a lot of stupid people in the world, so there needs to be some criteria. That criteria shouldn't include a technician, but it could include your own doctor.

      I would feel the same as you if the government forced colon exams.

      Again, I agree with your point, the rest was my view on abortions.

    • Lady Quill profile image

      Lady Quill 6 years ago

      Onusonus, the funny thing about your suggestion that women's clinics have a history of lying to patients about gestational age of a fetus - which is in itself a lie - is that this law would require those same clinics to subject patients seeking abortions to this ultrasound. Therefore, the information given to the patient would come from the same office as it had before. There wouldn't be a series of checks and balances. There simply is no justifiable argument for this overreach. Even Virginia's governor understands that fact.

    • Lady Quill profile image

      Lady Quill 6 years ago

      HSchneider you are so right. This constant pull to the right has left even moderate Republicans clawing their way toward the middle. And no, there is no way this could be considered limited government. They demand government get out of our lives then they try to micromanage who we can love, how we make love and in what way we should plan our families. Gross overreach, and yes, "neanderthal". Perfect word. Thanks for coming by.

    • Lady Quill profile image

      Lady Quill 6 years ago

      ChristinS, you summed up my opinion on this so beautifully. I couldn't agree more. Thank you.

    • Lady Quill profile image

      Lady Quill 6 years ago

      Anne, thank you so much. You're right, this is a sensitive and volatile topic, and I don't see that changing anytime soon. I keep hoping that by sharing information as unemotionally as I can - which is not easy - maybe one more person will see the extremist views of the anti-choice movement. Thanks again for your comment.

    • Onusonus profile image

      Onusonus 6 years ago from washington

      It seems to be just what it is called, "an invasive procedure". Perhaps if abortion clinics didn't have a history of lying to their victims about the stage of development of the child, this legislation would not be on the table.

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 6 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Excellent Hub, Lady Quill. I totally agree with you. The GOP has decided to embrace fully the Far Right Conservatives and thus abandon women. I do not understand this neanderthal view that they can dictate to women what they may do with their bodies. They talk about limited government. Is this limited government?

    • ChristinS profile image

      Christin Sander 6 years ago from Midwest

      I totally agree with this hub and am astounded and saddened by the recent attacks on women's rights. Medical choices and decisions should always be between a woman and her doctor - period. Anything else is a gross overreach and I would think should be found unconstitutional on appeal at the very least.

    • Anne Pettit profile image

      Anne Pettit 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Extremely well written hub. Keep writing. I believe you have addressed a sensitive and volatile topic with grace and respect. Not a quality the other side is very good at. Thank-you very much.

    • Lady Quill profile image

      Lady Quill 6 years ago

      Though the argument of retroactive contraception is often used, it's hard to imagine any women electing to submit to an invasive surgical procedure as a form of birth control. Reasons for abortion are varied and personal, which is why a decision whether to endure this medical procedure should remain between doctor and patient.

      In the case of a mandated invasive procedure like the transvaginal ultrasound, which is what's discussed in this piece, it shows a severe overreach of government. In this case, of a Republican controlled Virginia legislature.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 6 years ago from Southern California

      I heard that if an abortion fails the doctor can still kill the baby?

      Also I think that abortions shouldn't be used as retroactive contraception.

      Under the necessary circumstance where health, and death are at risk, I have no problem with Abortion, but not in the case of oops babies, and in cases of repeated abortions.