Supreme Court: If You Want An Abortion In Kentucky, You Have To Let A Doctor Sexually Assault You
Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled to let Kentucky's transvaginal ultrasound law stand. This means that anyone who wants an abortion in one of Kentucky's three remaining abortion clinics has to let a doctor shove a wand up their vaginas in order to show them an ultrasound of their fetus, in hopes that this will convince them not to have an abortion. This should be especially thrilling for recently traumatized rape victims.
Without any sort of dissent at all, the Court upheld the decision of the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals, that the law did not violate the First Amendment rights of doctors, thereby allowing the law to go into effect:
"As a First Amendment matter, there is nothing suspect with a State's requiring a doctor, before performing an abortion, to make truthful, non-misleading factual disclosures, relevant to informed consent, even if those disclosures relate to unborn life and have the effect of persuading the patient not to have an abortion," the appeals court held in its ruling.
Ok, but what about the rights of patients to say what sort of medical procedures they want performed on them? Shouldn't that be a consideration? I guess not!
Ironically, the State of Kentucky argued that the law was promoting "informed consent."
Kentucky argued the law is "simple and straightforward," calling it part of an "informed-consent process." The law, Kentucky said, "does nothing more than require that women who are considering an abortion be provided with information that is truthful, non-misleading and relevant to their decision of whether to have an abortion."
Information that, again, requires them to "consent" to having a wand shoved up their vaginas whether they want it there or not, in order to have a perfectly legal medical procedure. That is a sexual assault and coercion. If someone says "have sex with me or I'm going to kill your mother" and you have sex with them, that's still sexual assault because consent under duress is not true consent. If a woman would not agree to have said wand shoved up her vagina if it were not the only way she could obtain an abortion, then that is also a sexual assault. It's a terrible thing to do to both the patient and doctor.
As is the case with most abortion laws, this law is based in lies, wishful thinking, intimidation and the end goal of eroding the constitutional right to privacy between doctor and patient that is the cornerstone of Roe.
While forced birth enthusiasts cherish the idea that those who choose abortion haven't really thought things through and thus could be easily guilted into going through with a pregnancy they don't want, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that transvaginal ultrasounds cause anyone to change their minds about having an abortion. In fact, the two major studies that have been done on this, one in British Columbia in 2009 and another in Texas in 2012, showed that looking at an ultrasound had absolutely no impact on the decision to get an abortion.
Via University of Texas:
72% of the women chose to look at the ultrasound some or all of the time during the consultation. Before the consultation visit, 92% of women reported that they were sure of their decision or that abortion was a better choice for them. Following the consultation visit and ultrasound, the proportion reporting was unchanged (92%).
Laws like forced transvaginal ultrasounds and waiting periods are meant, essentially, to be a form of means reduction, fomenting the idea that the desire for an abortion is a transitory impulse that nefarious doctors take advantage of for the purpose of reeling in all those sweet, sweet abortion dollars. This would make a bit more sense were it not for the fact that abortion providers are not even in the top ten earners in the medical profession. The average abortion doctor makes $105,461 a year, compared with $156,000 for family physicians, $192,148 for pediatricians and $471,253 for radiologists. And those professions do not even include the risk of being murdered by a fanatic.
With something like suicide or murder, we know that any step put in between the idea and the act will reduce the likelihood of the person actually going through with it. But this is something that only works with something that is a potentially transitory impulse, which suicidal and/or homicidal thoughts often are. That's not the case with abortion. Anyone who is capable of getting pregnant has a pretty damn good idea of what they would do if they were in that situation! It's kind of something you have to think about if you have a uterus and are sexually active in a way that can get you pregnant.
All of this is to say that it doesn't actually matter to the anti-choice crowd that forced transvaginal ultrasounds do not actually convince anyone to not have an abortion. That's not the point. The point is simply to perpetuate the myth that they do. Just like the proposed laws requiring doctors to lie to patients and claim that medical abortions can be reversed — despite the fact that not only is it not true, but that it could kill them if they try —exist to perpetuate the narrative that abortion is a rash decision that patients will later regret. That, along with allowing the government to interfere in the doctor-patient relationship and eroding the idea that people ought to have control over what happens to their own bodies, is what is likely to form the basis of a successful challenge to Roe.
If abortion opponents truly wanted to limit the number of abortions, they wouldn't be pulling dumb shit like this or the recent bill in Ohio requiring the death penalty for arson-abortions and forcing doctors to do medical procedures that do not exist. They would be supporting sex education, plentiful and free contraception, Title X funding, Medicare for All, and funding for social programs to show they care about babies even after they exit the womb. That is what they would be doing. Those are things that would actually decrease abortions far more than even making them illegal would. But what they care about is controlling women, and this law is proof of that.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse