Imagine that in order to get a vasectomy, you must agree to have a needle inserted into your testes to extract sperm, which is then photographed and shown to you. You may either view the photo or hear it described to you in detail.
You are told this is to empower you, because then you will have more information about the health of your reproductive system, which could be used to produce many children.
Now imagine that in addition to that, your doctor has the right to withhold information about anything he finds in the course of his exam, like a deadly STD. This is because if you knew you had a deadly STD, you’d be much less likely to want to reproduce.
It makes sense, doesn’t it? On the one hand, your doctor forces you to hear information you do not think you need to know. On the other hand, your doctor withholds information you would very much like to know. Welcome to America!
This is the closest analogy I could create for the absolutely horrific and contradictory bills that are being approved by state legislatures left and right. It was a full year ago that I began telling skeptic and secular audiences about the Religious Right’s War on Women, and I’m sad to say that all those awful bills I listed are actually passing. One of the worst has been the ultrasound bill, which back then was only on the table in Texas and has just today become a law in Virgina. The law forces women to have an ultrasound before she can have an abortion. Originally it had to be a wand shoved inside her vagina, but it was pointed out to Republicans that they would at last be quite literally approving State-mandated rape, so now women may choose to have an abdominal ultrasound instead. Here’s what Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell had to say about it (bolding mine):
Women have a right to know all the available medical and legal information surrounding the abortion decision before giving legally effective informed consent. Informed consent is already required prior to an abortion being performed in Virginia, based on the longstanding health care concept that complete information about a medical procedure must be given to a patient before she can freely consent to a procedure. As difficult as an abortion decision is, the information provided by ultrasounds, along with other information given by the doctor pursuant to current law and prevailing medical practice, can help the mother make a fully informed decision.
Meanwhile, the GOP in Arizona has just passed a bill (SB 1359) that gives doctors the right to withhold important medical information from a woman if he thinks that information might result in her wanting an abortion.
With rare exceptions, ectopic pregnancies are not viable anyway, but Republicans are allowing anti-abortion doctors to keep life threatening information from pregnant women all because they are obsessed with stopping any and all abortions. Women may not know they have a life threatening condition until they die on the emergency room table. And the doctor couldn’t be sued.
You know what other type of bill they’ve passed in Arizona? If you guessed “an informed consent about abortion” bill, give yourself a treat!
“Everyone deserves full and accurate information before undergoing any medical procedure,” said Deborah Sheasby, legal counsel for the Center for Arizona Policy. “These types of protections have been repeatedly upheld and are overwhelmingly supported by the public.
Guess what other bill the Center for Arizona Policy supported? If you guessed SB 1359, the one that lets doctors withhold full and accurate information from women, give yourself another treat! You deserve it.
I don’t yet see an official statement about the SB 1359 victory from the Center for Arizona Policy, so I’ll write one for them:
“Everyone deserves full and accurate information before undergoing any medical procedure, except for sluts! They’ll take whatever information we give them and like it,” said Deborah Sheasby of the Center for Arizona Policy, who then disappeared in a puff of sulphur and flames.
See how it all makes sense? More information is good. Less information is also good. Whatever does most to inhibit a woman’s ability to make decisions about her own body. This is piss-poor policy making that will result in more women dying, and why? Because the Religious Right insists that an embryo – a fertilized egg – has more rights than the woman whose body it is inhabiting.
EDIT: I almost forgot – HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY.
EDIT 2 (3/9): @IAmNidocking points out that the bill’s fourth section includes language that suggests doctors will not be protected if their action or omission is intentional or grossly negligent. Because the anti-choice lobby is pushing this bill hard, I’m not ready to relax yet. We’ve seen other attempts by anti-choicers to take a cue from the creationists’ wedge strategy, introducing language that will allow them to slowly push in the agenda they want.