Via Shakesville, a real-life story of the real-life effects of ultrasound laws that “give” women the “right to know” about abortion. First of all, the effects of the Catholic affiliation of many hospitals in the U.S.:
[B]efore I’d even known I was pregnant, a molecular flaw had determined that our son’s brain, spine and legs wouldn’t develop correctly. If he were to make it to term—something our doctor couldn’t guarantee—he’d need a lifetime of medical care. From the moment he was born, my doctor told us, our son would suffer greatly.
So, softly, haltingly, my husband asked about termination. The doctor shot me a glance that said: Are you okay to hear this now? I nodded, clenched my fists and focused on the cowboy boots beneath her scrubs.
She started with an apology, saying that despite being responsible for both my baby’s care and my own, she couldn’t take us to the final stop. The hospital with which she’s affiliated is Catholic and doesn’t allow abortion. It felt like a physical blow to hear that word, abortion, in the context of our much-wanted child. Abortion is a topic that never seemed relevant to me; it was something we read about in the news or talked about politically; it always remained at a safe distance. Yet now its ugly fist was hammering on my chest.
Then, the author’s experience as she was–as it turns out unnecessarily–subjected to Texas’s new ultrasound laws:
My counselor said that the law required me to have another ultrasound that day, and that I was legally obligated to hear a doctor describe my baby. I’d then have to wait 24 hours before coming back for the procedure. She said that I could either see the sonogram or listen to the baby’s heartbeat, adding weakly that this choice was mine.
“I don’t want to have to do this at all,” I told her. “I’m doing this to prevent my baby’s suffering. I don’t want another sonogram when I’ve already had two today. I don’t want to hear a description of the life I’m about to end. Please,” I said, “I can’t take any more pain.” I confess that I don’t know why I said that. I knew it was fait accompli. The counselor could no more change the government requirement than I could. Yet here was a superfluous layer of torment piled upon an already horrific day, and I wanted this woman to know it.
. . . . . .
“I’m so sorry that I have to do this,” the doctor told us, “but if I don’t, I can lose my license.” Before he could even start to describe our baby, I began to sob until I could barely breathe. Somewhere, a nurse cranked up the volume on a radio, allowing the inane pronouncements of a DJ to dull the doctor’s voice. Still, despite the noise, I heard him. His unwelcome words echoed off sterile walls while I, trapped on a bed, my feet in stirrups, twisted away from his voice.
“Here I see a well-developed diaphragm and here I see four healthy chambers of the heart…”
I closed my eyes and waited for it to end, as one waits for the car to stop rolling at the end of a terrible accident.
Why don’t legislators who back these kinds of intrusive laws just admit that in their view medical privacy and autonomy don’t apply to women? That they want the government out of your business unless your business is ladybusiness? It’s like nobody evern told them about the passage of the 19th Amendment, or the Griswold and Roe decisions.
Have you ever met a state legislator? They’re not–shall we say?–the brightest bulbs in the chandelier. I don’t know any who have serious Constitutional law credentials here in Colorado, or any serious intellecual accomplishments of any kind. They’re not physicians usually, nor are they people with any expertise outside of the business of for-profit health care. They’re usually small town small-time thinkers–you know, small business owners, Rotarians, and the like. So here’s my modest proposal: I think we should advocate laws mandating a reading of the Bill of Rights, the 19th Amendment, and the Griswold and Roe decisions in their entirety every time legislators contemplate passage of laws that apply only to women’s health care, in addition to a 24-hour waiting period before anyone can vote.
Plus mandatory medical rape for all of them–vaginally or anally, their choice. Turnabout is fair play, after all.
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