| Not to be outdone by the troglodytes in the Texas legislature, Republicans in the Virginia and Iowa statehouses are pushing for women to be forced to receive a mandatory trans-vaginal sonogram before getting an abortion. It's no surprise to see the law being repeated in other states, given Republicans' national war on women. Furthermore, since efforts by the Center for Reproductive Rights to beat back the sonogram lawsuit in the courts have recently failed, anti-choice activists likely are trying to strike while the unwanted-mandatory-probing of women is hot.
Over at RH Reality Check, writer Andy Kopsa accurately terms the bills "state-sanctioned rape," since they force an unwanted object into the body of a woman even if she won't consent to the procedure. Kopsa asked the Virginia AG if the bill overturns the state's anti-rape statute, but has yet to receive a response. Arguably it's the State who fills the role of the rapist, since many doctors themselves do not want to perform the unnecessary procedure. The Virginia law has already passed the lower chamber and is headed for the Republican-controlled Senate, where it is also likely to pass. Kopsa reports that thankfully the Iowa State Senate is Democratic, and will likely kill the Iowa version of the bill, along with other anti-choice and anti-woman legislation up for consideration.
Meanwhile, as we previously reported here at BOR, Federal Judge Sam Sparks dismissed the lawsuit against the State's sonogram law, primarily due to a pending reversal from the 5th Circuit Court, where the rabidly anti-abortion Chief Judge Edith Jones already overturned Sparks' temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of the sonogram law. Sparks essentially said that while he could still side against the sonogram law on constitutional grounds, there was little hope of the plaintiffs prevailing when the State appealed. It goes without saying that conservative, anti-choice judges on our Circuit Courts appointed by Republican presidents are just waiting to uphold these mandatory sonogram laws.
The irony is that sonogram laws have not been proven to actually reduce the rate of abortion. The main challenges they present are economic and procedural. The 24-hour waiting period associated with the sonogram can cause logistical hurdles for women that must travel long distances or take days off from work in order to get to an abortion provider. In Texas, if women travel over 100 miles to get an abortion they can waive the 24 hour waiting period, but must still wait 2 hours, I suppose to "think it over." Most infuriatingly, women also must pony up the extra money for a sonogram they don't want and don't even have to look at once it's done. Abortions are already expensive, especially for low-income women. This just makes the financial hurdle even bigger.
At its core, the sonogram law is about embarrassing and shaming women for exercising their right to choose. It's about humiliating women and forcing them to submit to an unwanted vaginal probing before going through with a medical procedure that they've already thought about a great deal. These laws are fixated on making women feel bad about their choice, and allowing the state to literally and physically violate them for exercising their rights.
Republicans will never stop their insane intrusions into women's personal lives or women's bodies. Now they're trying to allow employers to restrict their employees' access to birth control on "moral grounds." Where does it end? The Republicans have literally forced their way into the vaginas of women in Texas via their mandatory sonograms, and soon those of women in Virginia as well. Even as their efforts to block birth control coverage, mandate sonograms, and chip away at every reproductive freedom women enjoy cause them to nose-dive in the polls, it seems that they just won't stop. Women literally have no business voting for candidates from the Republican party -- their sole priority seems to be taking away our reproductive rights and basic access to birth control.
The only way to keep Republicans out of our lady-business is to keep them out of office.
More on the Texas Sonogram Law on Burnt Orange Report: