Friday, July 19, 2013
"Forced Vaginal Ultrasounds:" A PR Coup for the Left
The phrase “forced vaginal ultrasounds” is a genius bit of spin on the part of the proabortion left. This little buzzword does the work of a hundred TV commercials. It takes ten seconds to say, and would take about ten minutes to refute. I first started hearing it about a year and a half ago, back during the “war on women” propaganda campaign. But I still see it plastered around, even on blogs: “Forced Vaginal Ultrasounds! Vote Republican!” I’d like to address the legitimacy of this little phrase, but first we have to back up a bit and talked about patient’s experience in our modern medical system. Doctors’ visits are never fun. All of us have been through things, in a medical context, that are uncomfortable and that, in any other context, would be really degrading. Ask any male patient. If we are considering major surgery, this becomes even more the case. Leading up to the surgery, we expect to go through any number of tests and procedures that might be really painful, though still less invasive than the surgery itself. For example, we might have our head shaved or have a bone marrow sample taken. These things are required in the sense that if we want to go through with the surgery, we have to have them done first. We accept this as part of modern medicine. It can be merely unpleasant, or it can be a real nightmare, depending on our state of mind and body, and on the attitudes of the medical personnel who are giving us care. I have never had an abortion. I have given birth three times. Childbearing is not surgery, but it is a major medical event. Leading up to this event, I had regular visits to the obstetrician. In my case, my ob was a man, a man I trusted and who had a great bedside manner. Nevertheless, I asked that a female nurse be in the room whenever he was examining me, and they were happy to comply. The first few ultrasounds were vaginal, then the baby got big enough that they could do abdominal ultrasounds. It’s always weird to be up on that table, but it was something I was willing to go through on my ob’s recommendation, in order to know the state of my unborn baby’s health. In the case of a woman contemplating an abortion, the purpose of the vaginal ultrasound would be to provide her with full information, so that she knows exactly what it is that she’s aborting, what is involved in the procedure, and what she stands to lose. The instrument for the vaginal ultrasound is small. Despite the weird, potentially degrading nature of the ultrasound, it’s not painful and is far less invasive than the original process of getting pregnant. It is also far less invasive than abortion itself, which often involves invasion by vacuums and knives, instruments of killing. (Abortionists have little tables in their offices too.) Requiring an ultrasound before an abortion is in harmony with how other major medical procedures are handled; namely, a series of tests before the main procedure to rule out potential problems. But abortion advocates have hit on the genius idea of calling this reasonable medical precaution a “forced vaginal ultrasound.” What a powerful buzzword. Anything with “forced” and “vaginal” in it can’t be good. (Although for women in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, ultrasounds are done on the abdomen.) Saying “forced” instead of “required” makes it sound like the woman is screaming on the table, being restrained by three or four people, being given the ultrasound by a male doctor who is probably laughing maniacally. (I ask: why not link this same scene to the abortion itself? The abortion is just as likely to be traumatic … in fact, more so.) And this rape-like scene can then be linked to “the Republicans” or any politician who thinks that women should be given full information about what is involved in abortion before they go through with it. This is nothing but pure propaganda, all packed into a little three-word phrase. A woman who decides to give birth to her baby can adopt him out after he is born. Abortion can’t be undone. It makes sense that women have full information before being asked to choose abortion. Ultrasounds can help give them that information.