I don’t really know how to begin here.
I’ve been writing this blog post for three solid days. I’ve been researching this topic for so long I have a wealth of information to throw at this blog post, but I’ve been struggling on my composition. I don’t know where to begin because I don’t know why more people aren’t talking about this. I don’t know how to write about this in a way that makes sense, because it doesn’t make sense that these things are happening right now compelling me to write about them.
I have to write these things, however, because I haven’t seen my local TV or newspapers really give much light to this story. I have to write about these things because women need to know and most of them have no clue what’s going on right down the street in the General Assembly. Politicians in this state have religious beliefs that they’re confusing with their lawmaking jobs, and the liberties of all women are being threatened because a few people have decided that their religious beliefs trump any of our constitutional ones.
There is a real war on women’s rights. This is not some feminist agenda, or some political party loyalty mush. There is some scary shit happening in our state’s legislative branches, and it affects every single woman. All of it begging the question: just when the hell did the government start answering to the church?
The situation is dire in Virginia. Hear this ladies living in the Commonwealth: your state government is trying really hard to strip rights away from you, and will be voting on measures next week. The Personhood and Trans-Vaginal Probe bills have already passed the House and are waiting at the Senate.
1) The Personhood Amendment:
For the life of me, I can’t figure out how we’re here again with this Personhood bill. It even failed in Mississippi – a much more conservative state than Virginia. Yet, this bill is dangerously close to becoming a thing, so let’s talk about it.
“Personhood” as it’s being defined by legislators means guaranteeing legal status as citizen and person at every state of development. So, from conception onward, every embryo, fetus, baby, child, etc etc.
The Personhood Amendment is NOT about guaranteeing a right to life. Make no mistake about it, it is about contraception and abortion. If the Personhood Amendment passes then you can kiss your reproductive rights goodbye in the Commonwealth. The bill’s author – remember Bob Marshall from our other post? – has ended the bill with these special words: Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as affecting lawful assisted conception.
Dolls, “lawful assisted conception” should scare the hell out of you. The Personhood Amendment has been struck down in other states because of its open-to-interpretation wording – there are very real dangers to women’s rights lurking behind the words that are not written in this bill. Under Personhood, if you’re getting IVF treatments and some of your embryos die or are destroyed as a part of the selection process, you could be liable for murder. If your IUD creates a pregnancy that isn’t viable, you could be liable for murder. If your birth control pills create an ectopic pregnancy, or you simply have an ectopic pregnancy which HAS to end – you could be liable for murder. If you have a miscarriage – you could be liable for murder.
Let’s really sit and think about what we’re doing here. This bill is not about protecting lives, it’s about taking away a woman’s responsibility to make decisions for herself. And if we’re respecting all life here, shouldn’t we start respecting women’s rights?
2) Rape by Instrumentation
The VA House has passed legislature saying that women choosing to have an abortion must submit to a trans-vaginal ultrasound. Regardless of whether she want to or not – no probe, no abortion, no matter what her constitutional rights are. This goes for nonsurgical abortions, and surgical abortions. This bill is a Republican backed bill and I am not going to mince words and try to play bipartisan – it’s a disgusting display of power. It is rape with instruments. There is zero purpose for this procedure except to humiliate a woman seeking an abortion.
Virginia's legislative rape tool of choice.
Inserting an object into a person without their consent is rape. Obtaining consent under duress is also rape. These are facts.
Aside from being required of women who are exercising their constitutional rights on when and where they should have a baby – this rule goes for victims of rape and incest. Why? Because as one Republican put it “women already made the decision to be vaginally penetrated when they got pregnant”. I can’t make this up – these are real people making real decisions saying really stupid things.
This procedure is MEDICALLY UNNECESSARY. There is no reason, seriously absolutely zero reason, that it needs to occur prior to an abortion. It is NOT OKAY TO FORCE PEOPLE TO SUBMIT TO UNNECESSARY MEDICAL PROCEDURES.
If you are a doctor and it offends your religious beliefs to perform an abortion: get a new job. If you are considering becoming a physician, but feel that your religious beliefs cloud your ability to perform any task as a doctor: do not become a public servant. If you are a pharmacist and have a problem doling out prescriptions for contraception: do not work at CVS or Kroger, or any other openly public pharmacy, and oh yeah – GET A DIFFERENT JOB.
I’d really like to know which God says that it’s okay to invade someone else’s body against their will, for nothing else but the satisfaction of shaming someone?
There are things you can do.
On Monday, February 20th, there will be a silent protest: Speak Loudly With Silence for Virginia Women. The protest will be held on the grounds of the Capital Building. The protest will be silent because the Capitol prohibits chanting, signage, protesting, etc on its grounds – let your actions speak louder than your words! As of this posting, more than 1,800 people have signed up to attend.
If you can’t attend the protest, sign the Planned Parenthood petition, or the national petition – create your own petitions – get the word out and stand up for women’s rights.
Contact your local Senator – these people are elected officials and have sworn an oath of office to serve the communities they represent, your voice absolutely makes a difference. Find your local legislator here: http://conview.state.va.us/whosmy.nsf/main?openform
Talk about it.