Inevitably, however, there is always that one issue that is such a hot button that it warrants addressing on the blog regardless of what I have to carve time from in order to do it. This is one of those issues.
What brought this issue to the top of my priority list was an amazing (and wisely anonymous) doctor who has started a movement advocating civil disobedience by doctors nationwide on behalf of their female patients who are seeking to terminate their pregnancies.
Here is the link to that story:
Roe V. World: A Doctor's Manifesto for Fighting Transvaginal Ultrasounds
Now, let me tell you that when I shared this story with some of my friends, I got a mixed reaction and it started a gaggle of responses not limited to this story in particular but to the whole anti-abortion/anti-choice issue in general.
No matter how often I say that I am anti-abortion and pro-choice, it seems there are people who just don't get it. You really can be totally repulsed by the idea of abortion (as I am) and at the same time still respect the fact that other people have the ultimate right to decide what does, and does not, stay inside of their bodies.
I have never been pregnant. Therefore, I can not say with certainty whether or not I would ever be able to have an abortion, regardless of how the pregnancy came about. However, I'm pretty sure I couldn't ever go through with it, even if it meant that the pregnancy would put my life in danger, as it probably would. (I've been told I probably wouldn't survive a pregnancy due to autoimmune issues, and probably would miscarry for the same reason.) Still, the very idea of abortion is so awful to me that I would likely risk all of that in order to avoid what would be a horrific idea for me to even consider and an even more horrific experience.
But let's just say, for the sake of argument, that my rheumatologist and cardiologist convinced me that terminating the pregnancy was my only option to ensure that my life was not put in jeopardy by a pregnancy. And let's just say, for the sake of argument, that the pregnancy came about as a result of a rape.
Under current legislation in many states, I would have to undergo a second rape before I would be legally allowed to terminate my pregnancy.
When I explained this to my anti-choice friends, they scoffed. "But it's just an ultrasound. It's not like it's invasive. How can you call that rape???"
This, my friends, is the perfect example of how arrogant ignorance lulls American citizens into complacency, which facilitates the passing of repugnant laws which even those signing the legislation into law likely do not fully understand.
Apparently, many people assume that there is only one kind of ultrasound... the kind they've seen on television where a happily pregnant woman has some slimy goo spread on her belly and there's a harmless-looking computer-mouse-like object being moved across her protruding stomach with the image of the developing fetus appearing on a monitor overhead. This is not the ultrasound you will have to undergo if you are ever raped and wish not to undergo the additional ordeal of carrying a pregnancy to term and enduring labor, which undoubtedly is a constant reminder to many women of the rape that impregnated them to begin with. (Yes, I know that some are able to overcome that, but that doesn't excuse the further traumatization of those who can not.)
The actual ultrasound you will be FORCED to undergo BY LAW if you should ever find yourself wanting to end a pregnancy in any state requiring it is a transvaginal ultrasound, and it is NOT DONE EXTERNALLY.
After being told I had a palpable cyst on my right ovary, I was scheduled for a transvaginal ultrasound. I had never heard of such a thing, but it was explained to me that a probe would be inserted vaginally in order to explore internal reproductive organs, and that would hopefully allow a determination of whether this cyst was something to be concerned about or not.
I have a horrible phobia of anything being inserted into my body of any kind, but especially something so intimate. You want to talk about something that goes "against nature", don't let me hear the word "homosexual" come out of your mouth. How about ramming an object up your twat and beaming pictures of your insides onto a television screen? Doesn't get more "against nature" than that. If there were a god or gods, I'm quite certain he/she/it/they never would have intended for their "special creatures" to experience such a humiliating and agonizing procedure.
What's so bad about it? How is it like rape?
Well, for me, it was something I did voluntarily. But even then, one must understand that any kind of penetration of a sexual orifice not done for pleasure or pro-creation is very unpleasant for many of us, and sometimes even painful. Imagine, then, that you are forced to undergo the following procedure NOT in order to diagnose a condition, but because some needle-dicked, sanctimonious prick who has no idea what a transvaginal ultrasound even INVOLVES signed something into law that says you can't have a medically-recommended abortion unless you undergo this VERY INVASIVE AND UNCOMFORTABLE procedure.
First, there's the fact that you're opening your legs to someone who isn't a lover. Some people are able to disconnect themselves enough that that doesn't bother them, but not everyone can.
Second, they take a probe, and they put a CONDOM on it. That's right, they put a CONDOM on the probe for hygiene purposes before they insert it into your vagina. COULD THERE POSSIBLY BE A MORE RAPE-LIKE SCENARIO AND MEMORY-TRIGGERING EXPERIENCE IN THE MIND OF THE PERSON UNDERGOING SUCH A PROCEDURE WHO HAS BEEN THROUGH A RAPE WHICH PROMPTED THEM TO SEEK AN ABORTION REQUIRING SUCH PROCEDURE IN THE FIRST PLACE?!?
Third, the probe, since it is made of rigid material and is NOT made of flexible organic material like a penis, does NOT conform to your shape AT ALL and is QUITE uncomfortable as it is being moved around inside of you to explore your internal organs.
Because I have severe anxiety issues in general, and medical anxiety issues specifically, and penetration anxiety issues even MORE specifically, I have to have a sedative before I can even think about such a procedure. And yet, even with a sedative, I can tell you that this was an unpleasant and painful experience, despite the fact that I knew and am very comfortable with the person performing it. I can only imagine that someone in a different situation undergoing the procedure for different reasons with someone they don't even know would be quite traumatized, and for what? Because other people think they have the right to influence the decision the patient is making?
You do NOT have the right to force ANYONE to consider YOUR point of view when they are making decisions about THEIR BODIES or THEIR HEALTH or THEIR LIVES. You. Just. Don't. But you ESPECIALLY do not have the right to do so in such a way that amounts to the legal definition of rape as described in the article I cited above and am quoting below:
"I do not feel that it is reactionary or even inaccurate to describe an unwanted, non-indicated transvaginal ultrasound as "rape". If I insert ANY object into ANY orifice without informed consent, it is rape. And coercion of any kind negates consent, informed or otherwise."
At one point during my procedure, the ultrasound wand made contact with my right ovary and the cyst of which it was attempting to transmit an image. It was obviously tender, and the contact was so painful that I remember struggling to get up. It was an instinctive reaction that caused even MORE pain since that caused jostling of the wand, still inside of me, as I panicked and tried to escape the pain. I don't know if the pain put me into shock or if I blacked out after that. I don't remember much after that except coming back to awareness and being glad that it was over. But I can tell you that if that was that painful for me, someone who is pregnant is likely going to experience similar "discomfort" as pain-minimizing doctors are prone to call it.
It is astonishing to me that the same people who expect everyone to butt out of THEIR lives regarding whom they marry, (so long as they marry someone of the opposite sex, of course, since the same anti-choice folks are usually also homophobic), where they live, their career of choice, how they educate or raise their children, and how they express their "spirituality" or what god or gods they worship seem to think so much of themselves that they think THEY should have the right to tell someone ELSE what to do with what is inside of their body.
There was another conversation among friends where someone attempted to derail the point by challenging everyone to explain when they thought life began, and mentioning that the scientific definition of life is that it begins at the moment of conception.
I do not disagree with that at all. Life definitely begins at the moment of conception.
However, it is important that we learn to have a more intelligent understanding of "life".
An amoeba is "alive". A couple of cells that have the potential to become an organism if they are allowed to develop could be considered "alive", but "alive" and "life" is not a valid benchmark by which to judge whether or not a living, breathing, consciously-aware woman with an already-developed brain should have her entire personhood invalidated in favor of a developing organism inside of her that is scientifically also defined as a parasite until it is fully-developed and delivered.
It is unintelligent to even CONSIDER that a developing organism is more important or even EQUALLY as important as the fully-developed human being inside of whom it is developing. I make no apology for pointing out the unintelligent nature of such a thought process, either. Unintelligent is as unintelligent does.
And, despite the fact that I am totally repulsed by even the IDEA of an abortion, I find that the attitude toward women, that they are nothing more than unimportant incubators the moment they become pregnant and are less important than the developing organism inside of them to the point where they must be subjected to rape-by-ultrasound before they are allowed to undergo an abortion which they, for whatever reason, believe to be necessary for their survival, either physically or psychologically or emotionally, to be even more repugnant than the idea of abortion itself.
If you are a man seeking Viagra because you can't get your penis hard anymore, I say that before you should be given a prescription you should be required to experience religious people protesting outside of your doctor's office and carrying signs saying that your god or gods do not want you having sex and that taking Viagra is a morally reprehensible crime against nature. Then, once inside the exam room, you should also be forced to undergo a trans-penile ultrasound showing you exactly which parts of your penis said Viagra is going to affect and how it is going to affect it, and for good measure, since Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs carry with them a risk of stroke, you should also be required to view stroke patients slobbering all over themselves as their family members wipe their asses for them... and then, if you decide that you still want to go ahead with your un-natural sexual activities in violation of "nature's" or "God's" wishes, then you may proceed.
We live in a world full of hypocrites who claim everything THEY do is NOBODY else's business, but if you dare do something THEY wouldn't do, they seem to have the opinion that they have the right to FORCE you to hear THEIR reasonings, and only after torturing you physically in order to get you to "see" their point of view, you may proceed with what they know is already your right to begin with, or it wouldn't be legal, with or without said torturous "medical procedures".
Most doctors I know are disgusted with politicians attempting to practice medicine and/or tell them how to practice medicine. I can understand their disgust. Twelve years or more of higher education and some sniveling, smug-faced politician with MAYBE a Master's degree is telling you what you MUST put your patient through, even in violation of the Hippocratic oath, which states "First, do no harm...", and presumably indicates no PSYCHOLOGICAL harm as well.
And they wonder why we hate politicians.
I'll say it one more time: Stay the HELL out of my VaJayJay. And everybody else's too, please.