Archive for ultrasounds

VIDEO: Texas state troopers caught on camera probing genitals of women at routine traffic stops

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welcome to texas

So you thought Gov. Bob "Ultrasound" McDonnell and the Republican party were the only ones who probed women against their will? Think again.

Did I say "probe"? No, more like rape. Forcible entry.

I nearly didn't write this post, because it was so disturbing that I wasn't sure I could bring myself to get past my anger and was momentarily frozen in disbelief, outrage, shock. I got over it. I'm writing about it. Women-- women who posed no threat to anyone-- have been systematically violated by state troopers, right out in the open on Texas roadsides.

This has become all too common, sadly. When will it become illegal to penetrate women's genitals, humiliate them, treat them as less than human? And publicly, without shame (!), both politically (in the case of forced trans-vaginal ultrasounds, which are proudly touted as "safety measures," but used as a deterrent to shame women who feel they need legal abortions) and physically (in both cases).

Just read and watch what's been going on during routine traffic stops:

extremumspiritum:

Jul 5, 2013: BRAZORIA COUNTY, Texas -- Two women subjected to body cavity searches on the side of Highway 288 have filed a Federal lawsuit against the officers involved.

David Schechter:

Published on Dec 18, 2012: First search occurs at 2:52

In a new lawsuit, Angel Dobbs and her niece Ashley Dobbs, of Irving Texas, say they were searched inside their underwear by female Texas Trooper, Kelley Helleson, after a routine traffic stop in Dallas in July.

The trooper who pulled them over, David Farrell, says on tape he saw them throw a cigarette butt out the window and smelled marijuana when he pulled them over. No drugs were found and they were released with a warning. The cousins say the trooper who performed the search used the same pair of gloves on both women. The cousins are now suing the Department of Public Safety.

Story on WFAA.com: http://bit.ly/TXZuNP
Lawsuit: http://bit.ly/UaSOPN

"Cavity searches," my ass. These women were assaulted.  Via The Daily News:

Multiple highway patrol officers in Texas have been captured by dash cams doing 'unconstitutional' cavity searches on women's genitals during traffic stops. Lawyers and civil rights advocates say the 'mind-boggling' searches are all too common.

The first video was graphic enough. Two women, as shown in a Texas state trooper’s dash cam recording, are probed in their vaginas and rectums by a glove-wearing female officer after a routine traffic stop near Dallas.

A few days later, a second video surfaced. It was an eerily similar scenario, but this time the traffic stop was just outside Houston, and with different troopers. Two women, pulled over for allegedly speeding, are subjected to body cavity searches by a female officer summoned to the scene by a male trooper... In both invasive incidents, the female troopers don't change gloves between probes, according to the horrified victims.

Standard practice: Check.

In full view of passing motorists: Check.

Unconstitutional: Check.

Unsanitary: Check.

Lawsuits filed: Check.

Trooper indicted for theft over missing bottle of Vicodin belonging to one of the women, suspended: Check.

Mind-boggling: Check.

They didn’t even search my socks or my shoes,” [Angel] Dobbs said. "I just couldn’t fathom how you could search someone’s butt and their vagina, and not search their socks or shoes... Until the news got involved, nothing happened.

In the other case cited, Officer Callous expresses his crass disdain as he passes the rape baton to Ms. Ogyny:

She is about to get up close and personal with some womanly parts,” Turner tells Hamilton. “She is going to search you, I ain’t, because I ain’t about to get up close and personal with your woman areas.”

How professional. What a gentleman.

Do you know how violated I feel?” Hamilton pleads.

WTF: Check.

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VIDEO: Senator does his best Bill O'Reilly impression. How WI GOP legislators "debate" women's reproductive rights.

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Wisconsin Senator Mike Ellis during abortion debate

Wisconsin GOP senators passed an abortion measure requiring transvaginal ultrasounds. Any woman seeking an abortion would be forced to have an unnecessary invasive procedure, just like Virginia GOP Governor Bob "Ultrasound" McDonnell wanted in his state.

Are you sensing a trend?

UPDATE: Walker Will Sign Abortion Ultrasound Bill

Via WiseEye.org:

On June 12, 2013, the Wisconsin State Senate reconvened to finish the vote on Senate Bill 206, relating to requirements to perform abortions, requiring an ultrasound before informed consent for an abortion, and providing a penalty.

In my post "No, no, I’m not really an OB-GYN, but I play one in Congress," I wrote about how the Wisconsin GOP is also working hard to shut down one of the last abortion clinics in the state.

See how the GOP is reaching out to women? Aren’t they the rebrandiest party ever? In my post I also said this:

It’s hard to overstate what a relief it is to see conservatives insisting that Big Government should stay out of our private lives. Imagine how intrusive pro-choice Democrats would be on women’s medical decisions about their own bodies if small-government Republicans like these weren’t in charge.

Good thing the GOP is keeping liberals in check.

Now take a look at how reachy-outy and small-governmenty they are while "debating" the issue (You can see the full video here):

Nick Nice:

The party of 'small government' intrudes upon women's rights once again. This is not about reducing abortions but about limiting a women's right to choose. If the GOP wanted to actually reduce abortions then improving Sex Ed & making birth control options more readily available would be a better approach.

This is not how a democracy should function as well. Despicable behavior by Mike Ellis.

Senator Mike Ellis reminded me of someone else with anger and intolerance issues:

H/t: @garagemahal65

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Ohio Senate stops "heartbeat" abortion bill because "law might have been found to be unconstitutional"

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One of my Twitter buddies Jodi Jacobson (@jljacobson), Editor in Chief at RH Reality Check, wrote a fascinating piece, "Life Begins At Conception. That's Not the Point." Here's an excerpt:

The question is not when life begins. That just obfuscates the real issues.

The fundamental issues are:

  • When does pregnancy begin?
  • Does personhood begin at conception? Is a fertilized egg, blastocyst, embryo, or fetus a person with rights that trump those of the woman upon whose body it depends?
  • Do women need "evidence" that if they are pregnant, odds are they are going to have a baby?
  • Do women have the moral agency and fundamental rights to decide whether or not to commit themselves not only to the development of a life within their own bodies, but to a lifelong tie to another human being once a child is born?

Pregnancy begins at implantation. Human life has to begin with conception, but conception is not the same thing as pregnancy, the latter of which reason, science, and medical evidence agree begins when a fertilized egg successfully implants in the uterus and develops into a healthy embryo. Fertilized eggs take between six to 12 days to implant in the uterine lining. There simply is no pregnancy until this happens, which is why any method that prevents fertilization or implantation can not cause an abortion.  [...]

Hormonal contraception, including emergency contraception, works to prevent fertilization in the first place. If you were really, really worried, therefore, about abortion at any stage, you would be a strong supporter of universal access to contraception, and to universal and easy access to emergency contraception, which needs to be taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse to prevent fertilization from taking place.

Interesting perspective, one I don't remember seeing communicated as clearly before.

Meanwhile, back in the anti-abortion state of Ohio, there's been a reprieve for women who would like the government to stay out of their uteri. The state Senate ended a bill that would have restricted women's reproductive rights more than anywhere else in the U.S.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) —  Senators don't plan to vote on the so-called "heartbeat bill" before the end of the legislative session next month, Republican Senate President Tom Niehaus said, citing concerns the resulting law might have been found to be unconstitutional.

The bill proposed banning abortions after the first fetal heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy. It had fiercely divided Ohio's anti-abortion community, while energizing abortion rights proponents who protested against it.

Backers hoped the stringent nature of the bill would provoke a legal challenge with the potential to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion up until viability, usually at 22 to 24 weeks.

The pro-forced-birthers actually called an in utero fetus "the state's youngest legislative witness." Did they get the fetus's testimony in writing, or was a mic forced up the woman's vagina?

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"Life begins at conception": Reducing complex reality to a slogan actually minimizes the personhood of women

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This is a must-read article by one of my Twitter pals Jodi Jacobson (@jljacobson), Editor in Chief at RH Reality Check. It's not a short piece, but substantive as hell, informative, and chock full o' something conservatives will have a tough time with: reality.

She correctly takes issue with the anti-choice phrase, "Life begins at conception" because "it confuses simple biological cell division both with actual pregnancy and with actual, legal personhood, which are all very different things."

Amen to that.

She also uses another phrase that I use here often: "Pro-forced birth."

Amen to that, too.

Here's an excerpt, but again, link over and read it all. She makes a whole lot of sense and *gasp!* educates and enlightens:

Preventing conception or having an abortion isn't just about getting through the "inconvenience" of a pregnancy, as the right often asserts, though in many situations pregnancy does in fact pose substantial risks to the health and lives of women... It is about whether or not a woman wants to and is able to make a lifelong emotional, financial, and physical commitment—often at substantial cost to herself and/or to her family—to the person who will exist if a pregnancy is successfully brought to term. In the case of a wanted pregnancy, or an unintended pregnancy a woman decides to carry to term this can be a joyous, hoped-for, and much anticipated event. Under other circumstances, and without recourse to safe abortion care, an unintended pregnancy is a forced pregnancy and a forced birth, and amounts to reproductive slavery. Only one person—the woman in question—has the right to decide whether, when, and under what circumstances to bring a new person into the world. And the vast majority of women who have an abortion know they are ending biological life that they can not or do not want to sustain because the commitment to an actual child is a moral commitment they are not able, willing, or ready to make, or can not make for reasons of health or life.

In the end, when you hear the phrase "life begins at conception," remember the implications. In debating the "personhood" of eggs, embryos, and fetuses prior to viability, we are also implicitly and explicity debating the personhood of women. Because if you have no choice and control over your body, you are less than an actual person in the eyes of the law. If the right is so worried about abortion the closer a pregnancy gets to viability, then anti-choicers would be making sure both contraception and early, safe abortion were widely available. That really is not their actual concern.

The development of a potential human life requires conception as a first step. But that is not the same as either pregnancy or personhood. You can't reduce complex reality to a slogan, and when you try to do so, you actually minimize the personhood of women.

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