Transvaginal Ultrasound and the Fallacy of Control
When the brouhaha over mandated, pre-abortion ultrasound emerged earlier this year, I hadn't yet read the National Abortion Federation's (NAF) teaching text on abortion, Management of Unintended and Abnormal Pregnancy. After hearing pundits across the land describe the sonogram law in Texas and a similar proposal in Virginia as "state-sanctioned rape," you can imagine my surprise when I read that transvaginal ultrasound is standard protocol for early abortions. Quoting from the NAF text:
Nearly all US members of the National Abortion Federation have ultrasound machines on-site, and 91% perform dating ultrasounds routinely before first-trimester aspiration abortion. (138)
Ultrasound plays a major role in pregnancy diagnoses... The milestones described in this section will consistently be imaged earlier with a vaginal, rather than abdominal, transducer. (68)
A 5- to 10-MHz vaginal probe improves visualization of earlier pregnancies. (143)
Advances in pregnancy testing, ultrasonography, and medical and surgical abortion techniques have accelerated the trend toward earlier abortion care. (135)
Remarkably, the NAF gives no indication that transvaginal ultrasounds are akin to rape. They simply state that such procedures allow abortions to take place earlier in pregnancy than would otherwise be advisable. That's a far cry from the impression one gets from the mocking satire of Doonesbury or this week's video offering from Kate Beckinsale, Judy Greer, and Andrea Savage – a parody in which they pose as imbecilic Republican women begging the government to "Get in My Vagina."
The real question is, are the 91% of abortionists who are already performing pre-abortion ultrasounds "raping" those women whom they image transvaginally? No. And why not? Because by consenting to an abortion, a woman consents to all of the intrinsically intimate, unnatural and invasive procedures that are part of that abortion. Prominent late-term abortionist, Warren Hern, writes in Abortion Practice that "it is paradoxical to have a woman complain about the idea of an intrauterine device on the grounds that it requires the placement of an unnatural object in one of her body cavities, while she willingly submits to an abortion, requiring the placement of several unnatural objects into her body cavities." (89)
Despite all the rhetoric about "vaginal probes" and "shaming wands," the real issue has far less to do with the procedure itself than it does with the results of that procedure. Nine times out of ten, diagnostic ultrasound is going to take place anyway. What the laws in Texas and Virginia propose is that the real-time imagery from those ultrasounds be showed to the mother. Why are abortion-advocates so afraid of this? Because of that tiny little heart, beating rapidly there on the screen. Blobs of cells do not have beating hearts. Simply put, ultrasound imaging makes it much harder to maintain the illusion that abortion is anything less than the intentional destruction of the most helpless members of the human community.
The "Get in My Vagina" video trots out the tired old assertion that those who oppose abortion only care about controlling women's bodies. This absurdity is easily exposed by the fact that you never see people praying and counseling outside a dental office, begging women to not get a tooth pulled. Nor will you find such people outside a beauty salon, urging women to leave their hair and nails as they are. There is no such presence outside of the offices of plastic surgeons or at tattoo parlors, nor is there a campaign to get women to stop smoking or drinking (unless you count the Ad Council amongst Republican conspirators). Finally, I've never seen anyone with signs outside of McDonalds or Baskin Robbins, trying to dissuade women from going in.
No, the only arena in which we're trying to "control" women (if you want to call it that) is that of abortion, and the reason is simple. Abortion is an act of violence that kills an innocent human being. In the United states, it kills more than half a million women each year, and globally, the problem is even worse. It is no stretch to say that abortion represents the single greatest threat to women in all the world – which may be why 67% of Abort73's Facebook fans are female, as compared to 54% of Facebook users in general. Opposing abortion has nothing to do with controlling women; it has to do with protecting the weak and vulnerable from being wrongfully destroyed. And guess what. Around the world, the overwhelming majority of the weak and helpless who are destroyed by abortion happen to be female.
Michael Spielman is the founder and director of Abort73.com. His book, Love the Least (A Lot), is available as a free download. You can also find him on Facebook and Google+. Abort73 is part of Loxafamosity Ministries, a 501c3, Christian education corporation. If you have been helped by the information available at Abort73.com, please consider making a donation.