Pre-Abortion Ultrasound: Rape by Instrumentation?

| by Jill Stanek

Yesterday an OK judge Associated Press:

The law requires doctors to use a vaginal probe, which provides a clearer picture of the fetus than a regular ultrasound, and to describe the fetus in detail, including its dimensions, whether arms, legs and internal organs are visible and whether there is cardiac activity.

That's sloppy journalism, if not intentionally biased. The law actually requires either the abortionist or "certified technician" to "[p]erform an obstetric ultrasound on the pregnant woman, using either a vaginal transducer or an abdominal transducer, whichever would display the embryo or fetus more clearly...."

The "vaginal transducer" distinction is what drives this legislation further than others, making it critical to this conversation. It is different in probe placement than abdominal ultrasounds of which we're all aware:



Gov. Brad Henry originally vetoed the law (which was overridden) stating, according to the writes (in the best article on rape and abortion ever):

Abortion is not some magical surgery which turns back time to make a woman "un-pregnant." Instead, it is a real life event which is always very stressful and often traumatic....

[M]any women report that their abortions felt like a degrading and brutal form of medical rape. This association between abortion and rape is not hard to understand.

Abortion involves a painful examination of a woman's sexual organs by a masked stranger who is invading her body. Once she is on the operating table, she loses control over her body. If she protests and asks for the abortionist to stop, she will likely be ignored or told: "It's too late to change your mind. This is what you wanted. We have to finish now." And while she lies there tense and helpless, the life hidden within her is literally sucked out of her womb. The difference? In a sexual rape, a woman is robbed of her purity; in this medical rape she is robbed of her maternity.

This experiential association between abortion and sexual assault is very strong for many women. It is especially strong for women who have a prior history of sexual assault, whether or not she is presently pregnant as the result of an assault. This is just one reason why women with a history of sexual assault are likely to experience greater distress during and after an abortion than other women.

The difference, according to