Sunday, March 4, 2012

Politics and My Privates

March has arrived and like any other month lately it’s done so with unpredictable weather, longer days and glimpses that spring is still further away than we had hoped. However, March is also a month filled with anticipatory recognition of trailblazers past and present with Women’s History Month and Social Work Awareness Month.

While being proud of my womanhood and feeling inspired by the advances women like Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Jane Addams, Susan B. Anthony and others have made to the progression of women’s rights, family civil rights and the advancement of female entrepreneurship, I’m also feeling a little discouraged by the latest intrusive and regressive steps some state governments have taken this week with proposing and enacting legislation in mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds for women who plan to have abortions.

A transvaginal ultrasound is a procedure given to pregnant women to examine the age and dimensions of a fetus.The procedure includes an internal exam with a penile shaped plastic device that gets inserted into the vaginal opening. The corresponding monitor projects a view of the uterus and fetus and records pictures of the womb. In short, this would mean a woman would need to plan for more than one day off from work and possibly alternate childcare coverage. For poor women or women with children this could mean multiple financial risks and compounding stress.

Surprisingly, the practice of women having these invasive ultrasounds has been going on for more than a decade. In several states since the middle 1990’s many women may not have known that transvaginal ultrasounds were optional because various states used this practice regardless of a woman’s request for it. Some states even now will also offer to show the image and give the description of the woman’s fetus to her. These are all tactics that will hopefully reverse a woman’s decision to have an abortion. This type of legislation hopes to influence many levels of the same system between patients, doctors, healthcare plans and employers.

Does the passing of this legislation imply anything about a woman’s reasoning and capacity to be easily persuaded? Does this legislation give weight to the present perception that only women are impulsive, gullible and coerced into contradictory beliefs?

This issue affects the way a doctor engages with her/his patients and it allows for continual bullying in the medical system between providers and vulnerable people. Enacting pimp/ho policies that masquerade as egalitarian right to life ideology is another way for politicians, most whom have never seen the inside of an abortion clinic or physician’s office under these circumstances, to decide for women what’s in their best interest.

Click HERE to read the article from HuffPost about proposed legislation to enact a similar bill in Illinois. Then let us hear your thoughts on this matter. Subscribe to our blog and join in on the discussion!

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