Have you ever had a vaginal ultra sound? Well, I have, and while it didn’t come close to ranking number one on the top ten scale of painful-things-doctors-have-done–to-me, it was decidedly not a pleasant experience. For my purposes – letting the doctor double check on a possible tumor/ cyst- it worked great. I was thrilled to have the process available.
But the choice of whether or not to have this unpleasant, intrusive and vaguely embarrassing procedure is not one that should be dictated by a bunch of demagogic state legislators.
Of course, my Texas being the wingnut stronghold that it is, that’s exactly what our state legislators (between bouts of de-funding elementary education and cutting children’s services budgets) have dictated: that any woman seeking an abortion in the state of Texas has to submit to a sonagram and then wait 24 hours so that she might better contemplate the fetus that she proposes to abort.
Never let anyone say that our state doesn’t deserve the oh-so-brilliant Governor Perry.
Even more than the fact that this legislation demeans a woman’s ability to make a difficult decision competently, the use of fear and guilt as bludgeons at a delicate time in these women’s lives infuriates me.
It’s a version of “scared straight”. The goal is to psychologically turn what is a perfectly legal- albeit horribly sad and stressful – medical procedure into the mental equivalent of a criminal act.
I have doubts about the efficacy of this approach when it’s used to lecture teenagers on the horrors of prison, to illustrate the terrible consequences of unsafe driving or to provide graphic illustration of one’s brain on drugs.
This approach is used in an effort to make getting a legal abortion ever-more nerve-wracking. It’s ridiculous to even claim the pretence of informing or educating women; this may come as news to Republican lawmakers in Texas, but 99.99% of women already know where babies come from.
But, if we’re going to follow this “scared straight” philosophy, I would like to suggest the following items that the Texas legislature can work on implementing:
- · A law decreeing that any person serving on a death penalty jury has to watch footage of an execution gone wrong – the electric chair is always a winner for this purpose. For good measure, they should be forced to read a synopsis of all the convictions in Texas that have been overturned using DNA evidence.
- · Legislation forcing anyone who works for a defense contractor, any young person signing up for military service or anyone who wants to write a pro-war op-ed to view at least a day’s worth of graphic war footage from Vietnam and WW II.
- · Provisions requiring any legislator who votes to reduce funding for any children’s health program to spend a week volunteering in a pediatric cancer ward before their vote will count.
- · New soda/sugar sales controls which provide that any consumer with a BMI in the “obese” zone watch a video covering the dangers of diabetes and heart disease in detail prior to purchasing any sugar or high fructose corn syrup containing products.
Of course, pro-lifers will scoff at my suggestions. In their minds, abortion is murder. Almost any measure is allowable to stop a murder. Societal norms have so dictated for millennium; defense of self or other is a proven rationale for extreme action.
If we widen our scope beyond murder and branch out into other sin areas, we could also implement:
- · A requirement that any man who is not married and seeks to purchase condoms, KY jelly or sexy lingerie carry around one of those high school sex-ed dolls for at least a week first. After all, if a man is flirting with making a baby, shouldn’t he at least know how to diaper a baby?
- · An addition to mortgage and realty license requirements that the applicant go through a “mock” eviction where he or she will be forced onto the street for a period of time.
At least some of the Texas judiciary sees this new abortion law for what it is. Perhaps we’ll get someone with a cool judicial head to step in, apply the law and get rid of this insulting, ridiculous legislation.
If the courts don't step in, the freedom-loving Republican cadre in Texas will have succeeded in intruding –using a vaginal ultra sound probe – where they definitely don’t belong. They will have succeeded in treating Texas women like criminals. And they will have done absolutely nothing to help the children whom they claim to adore.
What’s the old saying? Texas’ Republican legislators are pro-life, at least until birth.