Oklahoma lawmakers must loathe women. On Tuesday, April 27, the Oklahoma State Legislature overwhelmingly voted to override vetoes of two anti-abortion measures, one that essentially legalizes the sexual violation of any woman seeking an abortion and another that legalizes malpractice on the part of doctors hoping to prevent them. Those measures, though likely to face serious legal challenges, are now law.
The first bill requires all women who want abortions to undergo an intrusive vaginal ultrasound while a doctor or technician points to a screen and shows her the fetal organs and limbs in an attempt to dissuade her. No exceptions are made for victims of rape or incest.
Think of rape victims you know.
Or think of rapes that have made headlines in Boulder County. The woman in the ladybug costume who was gang raped while walking home from a Halloween party in 2007. The young woman who was brutally gangraped in a car while in Boulder County on a Kerouac-inspired journey across the country. The young woman who fell asleep at a house party and woke up while being raped.
Imagine that these incidents had occurred in Oklahoma, and not Colorado, and that any one of the victims had had the horrible misfortune of becoming pregnant by rape. The conscript fathers of the Sooner state would force her to endure a second rape — this one conducted by the state — by requiring her to spread her legs and have a transducer shoved inside her before she could rid herself of the rape-induced pregnancy.
This might come as news to the yokels in Oklahoma, but rape victims often have very negative associations with that part of their body after enduring the pain and violation of rape. Their emotional pain runs deep, and they need all the compassion society can muster.
Doctors in Oklahoma
can lie to women to trick them into incubating fetuses they wouldn’t
otherwise carry to term.
But the Oklahoma Legislature is fresh out of compassion where women are concerned. Here’s the choice a rape victim who gets pregnant will have now in Oklahoma: submit to an invasive, unnecessary violation of her person, or endure carrying and giving birth to a baby spawned by the man who raped her.
Why would lawmakers do this when an abdominal ultrasound — the kind of external ultrasound most women have while pregnant — is perfectly adequate if you want to point to fetal body parts in an attempt to guilt-trip the woman into not having an abortion?
Clearly, they chose this procedure precisely because it’s an added violation.
What the Oklahoma Legislature seems to be saying with this new law is that any female who is considering an abortion — even a 12-year-old who was raped by Daddy dearest — no longer has the right to say “no.” Perhaps they believe that any woman who’s trashy enough to get pregnant and choose abortion can’t be too picky about what gets shoved inside her.
The second bill that the Oklahoma Legislature passed protects doctors from lawsuits should
they decide to lie to their pregnant patients about the condition
of their fetuses in order to prevent them from having abortions. If
tests come back showing Down syndrome or even a non-viable fetal defect
like Trisomy-18, a doctor with a religious agenda can tell his patient
that her fetus is normal. When she gives birth to a dead Trisomy-18 baby
or a Down syndrome child she isn’t emotionally or financially prepared
to care for, she won’t be able to sue him for lying to her.
It’s as unbelievable as it
is despicable. Doctors in Oklahoma can now lie to women to trick them
into incubating fetuses they wouldn’t otherwise carry to term.
Apparently, pregnant women can’t possibly know what’s best for them and
aren’t even entitled to the truth about what’s happening inside them. If
it wastes nine months of her life and results in the heartbreak of
stillbirth, so what?
Let’s hope the American Medical Society and the American Congress
of Obstetricians and Gynecologists come up with career-ending penalties
for any doctor who tries to play Machiavellian games with his or her
these sound like laws drafted by the Taliban, they were written and
voted into law by Americans.
Yes, by those who purport to value small government,
civil liberty and freedom for all. Their twisted idea of “preserving
life” is guaranteed to multiply women’s suffering and grief many times
today for women in Oklahoma. While we wait for the courts to strike
these laws down, we ought to organize some kind of caravan to bring
women in need of abortions from Oklahoma to Colorado, where pregnant
women don’t have to endure state-sponsored sexual violation and lies.