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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

What It Says On the Tin

Depressing News in Women’s Healthcare, and Cute Animals to Get You Through It

Look, there are some things we think need mentioning. Dogtor Buttons is here to help.

First, a House Committee held a hearing today to oppose President Obama’s initiative to require employers to provide contraception free of copay to their female employes through their employee insurance providers, even though it has been expanded to allow religious institutions that proscribe contraception to leave it up to their employees to ask their insurance companies directly instead of involving them, a provision supported by not a few religious health organizations. The panel of experts brought together to debate whether the provision was a war on religious freedom or a welcome benefit to the lives of millions of women engaging in family planning was overwhelmingly male, and contained no one in favor of enacting the provision. The hearing’s chairman refused to allow a female law student in attendance to testify on the importance of birth control. Two Democratic senators, Eleanor Holmes Norton and Carolyn Maloney walked out in protest.

Quick! Look at this guinea pig!

He is wearing a sombrero.

Okay. Remember when Mississippi’s citizenry voted down a “personhood” amendment that would have legally defined a fertilized embryo as a person, outlawing abortion and most forms of birth control (including the pill, since most birth control prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in the lining of the uterus (the medical definition of the beginning of pregnancy) rather than preventing fertilization), and leaving possible legal means to investigate instances of miscarriage as manslaughter? Virginia’s House of Representatives just passed a similar amendment 66-32.

LOOK. Look at this cat wearing a hedgehog hat.

Just look at it for a bit.

All right. Virginia’s House of Representatives also just passed a bill 63-36 would require any woman who would like an abortion in Virginia to submit to a vaginal ultrasound and view the results before she is allowed to have the procedure. It is expected to also pass the Republican controlled Senate, and Governor Bob McDonnell has said he will sign the bill. One delegate has already apologized for referring to the majority of abortion cases as “matters of lifestyle convenience.”

Let me get a tiny bit personal for a moment. I’ve spent a while working in a law firm, working with lawyers and clients in the process of drafting Living Wills, also known as Advanced Directives, which allow people to make end of life decisions in a relatively stress free environment, in consultation with their friends and loved ones, and with full time to think it over. Then, they know that those decisions were made at a time when they had all their wits about them and were not suffering from undue deadlines or emotional stress; and also have those decisions respected if they become incapacitated. The point is, making your decisions when you are calm, before you get to the hospital, in an emotionally neutral environment, is the way to make sure you make choices that are good for you.

This is a vaginal ultrasound device:

According to this law, in order to receive her legal medical service, a woman in Virginia must submit to be internally probed and confronted with the emotionally tough results. This is not a aid to making rational decisions. The idea that women are so silly they do not comprehend what is going on in their own bodies before making the decision to have an abortion, and must be physically invaded in a practice that doctors do not consider at all medically necessary in order to emotionally manipulate them into a decision that aligns with those in favor of the bill, people who have no idea of a given woman’s financial situation or indeed whether the conception was consensual, is… is…

Okay, I need a video of a kitten and a baby doe cuddling and kissing.

Whew. Thank you.

(cute pictures via Animals Talking in All Caps, Cubicle Bot, and The Bird and the Bat.)


  • Jill Baker

    I’m just gonna leave this right here.

  • Kate Falanga

    The cute animals makes me feel slightly less murdery. Slightly. 

  • Anonymous

    If this bill is made law in Virginia, I surely hope that there is an exception made for women who were raped.  This procedure (as stressful as it already is) could possibly feel like they were being attacked again.

  • Kate T.

    It’s already a law in Texas. There is no provision for those raped, even in cases of incest. I guess Republicans just think those “whores” shouldn’t have been wearing such tempting clothing, you know? Still need to see the babby to make a “real” decision. Maybe throw in some prayer?

    I’ve seen this sort of law called “rape by state,” and I think that’s a perfect name for it. At least in the West, this country is so backwards when it comes to women’s rights; it’s shameful. 

  • Ashley Richard

    Even if that specific pregnancy was not a result of rape, there are plenty of women who have been raped or sexually assaulted previously and having to have an unnecessary vaginal probe could be triggering to them.  This shouldn’t even be up for a vote.

  • Anonymous

    In These Times had an interesting story putting this into a deeper, more terrible context: The War on Contraception Goes Mainstream linking it to a larger quest to bring back the “traditional” roles of women and men.


  • Christine Watson

    Coersion is not the same as consent. A law that would force women to permit that… device to be inserted into their bodies before being ‘allowed’ to have an abortion is so close to the definition of sexual assault and personal violation that I can barely frame coherent words to describe my horror at it.

  • Jean Marie Downing

    Perhaps the idea is to remind them that it’s not just their bodies, that there is another individual involved, with it’s own body, and unique DNA that speaks to that fact.

    I enjoy this sight, but I am pro-life, and the continual bias exhibited here against those who do not want to enjoy their freedoms at the expense of the unborn is making it difficult to continue enjoying the female nerd news, which is what drew me here in the first place.

    I don’t know that I would mind so much if it weren’t for the fact that there is absolutely no representation of the other side, like there was no argument to be made.  As if by merely being pro-life, a geek girl ceases to be a geek girl.

    Frankly, I’m thrilled that Susan G Koman is no longer supporting planned parenthood, as I would love to support the battle against breast cancer without funneling money to an organization so largely involved in the deaths of so many. 

    While I agree that it’s absurd that there were no women involved in the house committee hearing, I do think that requiring religious organizations to provide services contrary to their beliefs is an assault on religious freedoms.  It is not a denying any women contraceptives.  It is simply not forcing religious organizations to provide them.  Unless the rest of the world is suddenly deficient, then contraceptives are still available.  And there is no RIGHT to free contraception.

    I think women should need to view an ultrasound before getting an abortion.  Not immediately before, as yes, I agree that it is a highly emotional and vulnerable time, and not an ideal time to make said decisions, but on a first appointment?  Where they could then take a week, and come back once they’ve made their choice? I’m not sure I understand the harm there, except that some women might actually decide not to go through with it and might utilize some of the other choices available to them, like adoption. After all, from what I can tell, the tools utilized in many surgical abortions also require vaginal probing to reach the cervix in the first place, so I don’t see how this one is worse.

    I’m  really not trying to be inflammatory, but it feels like every day there’s yet another article telling me “hey this isn’t the site for you.  We want geek girls, but not you”.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t cover these things, or should avoid being political.  But it would be nice to acknowledge that there is another point of view out there.  Held by women, even.

  • Kelley Marie Mitchell

    doesn’t forced vaginal probe equal rape?

  • ZenPoseur

    So, do these dudes really believe that women don’t understand what pregnancy is, or are they just looking to “punish the sluts”, since they can’t outlaw abortion outright?

    It’s getting so hard to tell the difference between evil and stupid, in this country.

  • Anonymous

     And when I wrote my representatives to let them know how terrible I thought this was, I either got no response or responses “thanking” me for my “support.” I was livid. They don’t care what the people think.

  • Anonymous

     The organizations that are causing a tiff are only tangentially related to religion; they are not churches, mosques, or temples, for example, but schools and hospitals who employ people with a variety of beliefs. Religious organizations are free to their opinions (and religious institutions are free to exclude whomever they like), but employers SHOULD be required to conform to the requirements of the rule under which they are governed.

    In this case, they need to give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s… which means they should accept a provision to provide required health care to their employees.

  • Anonymous

    I think women should need to view an ultrasound before getting an abortion.  
    Good to know you support state-sanctioned sexual assaults on women.

    But it would be nice to acknowledge that there is another point of view out there.  Held by women, even.

    It is certainly possible for women to be sexist.  That is absolutely true.

  • Kate Falanga

    I respect your point of view (although don’t agree with it, which is ok). However, I would think you could be pro-life and still oppose laws created by men that take away the dignity of women.

    While this blog is about geek culture there is an tone of women empowerment as well. I don’t want to start a pro-life/pro-choice debate but do you feel that women should be driving the conversations and laws regarding reproduction?

  • Anonymous

     I totally agree.  I’m just scared because it seems more and more seem to be hell bent on getting these bills passed.

  • Anonymous

    However, I would think you could be pro-life and still oppose laws created by men that take away the dignity of women.

    I am personally unsure how someone could be anti-choice and support the idea that women have the same right to personal dignity that men do.  Forcing women to go through unwanted pregnancies is hardly dignified, nor is the likely plunge into poverty that the expenses of unwanted children creates.  I don’t know any anti-choicers that are terribly keen on increasing the social safety net to offset the negative consequences of unwanted children women can’t afford.  And there is *no* offset to balance going through an unwanted pregnancy — a 9-month long medical condition that is many times more dangerous than abortion.

    Wanting to restrict women’s choices and lives in the way U.S. anti-choicers do, at the least, is anti-woman and pro-controlling-women at it’s core.  There’s nothing inherently about a respect for lives in the U.S. movement.  And it vies for 1st place with racists in domestic terrorism.  There are assassinations of doctors who perform abortions, bombing of clinics, death threats, stalking, and assaults of people going into clinics pretty much every week.  That is not the actions of a group of people who care about lives.

  • Anonymous

    what a nightmare

  • Jean Marie Downing

    Well, I’ve already put up one wall of text so I’ll try to be briefer.

    I don’t want to say that I think women should be driving the conversation on reproduction, simply because I think that has a potential to diminish paternal rights, which I think is a contradistinction we can sometimes knee jerk to.  Not that there aren’t aspects that should be entirely women driven, and not that women shouldn’t absolutely be vocal and involved across the board.  Like I said, it’s absurd that there were no women involved in this hearing, although such political deafness is hardly new, it is disheartening.  So, yes it should be largely women driven, but not forgetting the other party?  Man I’m wordy today, but I’m aware that I’m potentially stepping on a number of landmines here, which is why I haven’t engaged on this subject here in the past.

  • Francesca M

    I.. Don’t even know where to begin.

  • Anonymous

    Wait… I’m confused… when female characters are sexually active in comics, it sets women back. When a female reporter says that seeing cute fluffy animals makes her feel okay with the implications of this article, that’s totally empowering and uplifting?

    If Batman had been holding a cuddly widdle wabbit, would his sex scene with Catwoman have then been “okay?”

  • Anonymous

    We must always be willing to listen and try to understand another person’s views.  I get where you’re coming from, though I do disagree.  I hope all people feel free to express themselves.

  • Jean Marie Downing

    Could you explain to me how the ultrasound machine is worse than the equipment actually used to perform the abortion?  Both vacuum aspiration and dilation and evacuation require equipment inserted into the vagina.

  • Anonymous

    i just don’t understand why it has to be a vaginal ultrasound.  aren’t there less invasive ways to preform an ultrasound?

  • Anonymous


  • Alana Beltzer

    I’m so frustrated with the hypocrisy of the people that are so for government staying out of their life but want it in other people’s lives.

    Over the past few days, I’ve seen several people post this
    quote, attributed to Ronald Regan: “Government’s first duty is to protect the
    people, not run their lives.” On face value, this is an admirable
    statement.  I feel, to be true to its
    author’s intent and the intent of the vast majority of those posting it, it
    really needs the disclaimer, “Offer only valid for wealthy, straight, white,
    Christian males.”

    If you want government out of your life, you should want it
    out of all of our lives. You should want the government out of all of our
    bodies, all of our bedrooms, and all of our places of worship, too. The final
    line of the Pledge of Allegiance is not “With liberty and justice for some,”
    “With liberty and justice for those just like me,” or “With liberty and justice
    for those with money enough to pay.” No, 
    it’s “With liberty and justice for ALL.”

  • ZenPoseur


  • Anonymous

    Not early on in the pregnancy, when the majority of abortions are performed.  Most every woman who needs an abortion in the states passing these laws will be victims of state-sanctioned sexual assault.

  • Anonymous

    So if I’m religiousy opposed to guns, I should be able to set up any medical insurance for my employees so it won’t cover any sort of gun or gunshot related injury? I’d be a lot more amenable to this provision for the church if they actually ran it like a church. They don’t, because it’s not really a church anymore, it’s big business. 1 in every 6 folks in the states who sees the inside of a hospital these days does so in a cathlic one. They’re big employers. But I guess it’s only an “assault on freedom” if it’s happening to catholics, amirite?

    It’s also worth considering that 98% of catholic women have, at some point in their lives, used this hormonal birth control they are apparently so against. Oh wait, nobody asked the women what they think.

  • Jill Baker

     I believe the law calls it rape with a foreign object.

  • AmyDamy

    Do you think women getting abortion don’t realize what a fetus is? Do you underestimate their intelligence that much? I would guess most women who get an abortion have already  put a lot of thought in to the decision before they got to the doctors office and don’t need to be violated and shamed. I have the same freedom of religion that you do so I don’t need your religious views determining what goes on between me and my doctor.

    So do you think a business owner who is Jeohavah’s Witness should not have to provide insurance for any treatment that included blood transfusions since  it violates their religious beliefs ?

  • Sarah

    I don’t want to play D&D with you.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t want to say that I think women should be driving the
    conversation on reproduction, simply because I think that has a
    potential to diminish paternal rights…


    If you think a discussion of b/c and unwanted pregnancy/abortion is a place where paternal rights even ought to exist…holy shit.

  • Kate Falanga

    Besides the rights of women I am also interested in free speech. That means allowing people to have and voice opinions different than ours as long as they do so in a civil manner. 

    I agree with your opinions but wanted to allow Jean an opportunity to further elaborate in a safe space. 

    I may be coming across as overly preachy and I apologize for that. I just wanted to explain myself further. 

  • Jean Marie Downing

    So the equipment itself is no worse then?  Got it.

  • Kate Falanga

    Thank you. I appreciate your response.

  • Jean Marie Downing

    I confess I’m a little confused on that point as well.  It feels like there should be.

  • Anonymous

     Don’t put things in people who don’t want it.
    Don’t coerce, mandate, or require someone to have something put inside themselves they do not want.

    Is there a  part of that you are finding disagreeable or controversial?

    No one is requiring religious organizations to sell, handle, or directly provide anything. An insurance provider is not allowed to pick and chose which medical resources are acceptable to them. If an organization has an issue with a medicine, or medical procedure being accessible, maybe they should not be in the insurance business.

    This is completely irrelevant, but do you know that there are people with more than one set of dna in the cells in their bodies? Chimerism ( ) is a condition where 2 zygotes grow into one human body, with a mix of the two genetic makeups. There’s also a whole bunch of people with organ transplants, or blood or marrow transfusions who also have more than one set of dna inside their bodies. So “unique Dna” really doesn’t speak to there being a separate person at all, but again it’s not relevant because the presence of a separate person doesn’t erase the humanity of the host body.

    No one’s saying you can’t think abortion is terrible and should never happen, but you don’t get to make that decision for /everyone/. If you feel personally put upon, or like your freedoms are infringed upon by people expressing and endorsing viewpoints opposing your own, you ought to put some thought into how a person in need of a medical procedure might feel in that situation.

  • Anonymous

    *headdesk*  That obviously went right over your head…

  • AmyDamy

    You know what I had a longer reply typed out but your response is really the only point that matters.

  • Jean Marie Downing

    Right, God forbid a man not want his child killed.  Yes, I do think paternal rights should exist.  The sex act involves two parties.

  • AmyDamy

    Anything anyone puts in my body with out my permission via coercion or force is a violation. The ultrasound wand could be the size of a string and it wouldn’t matter it would still be a violation. The speculum at my OBGYN is uncomfortable and the pap smear hurts , but it’s not a violation because it’s something I want my doctor to do. If she did it with out my permission it would be just as wrong as forcing the ultrasound. 

  • Anonymous

    Pregnancy does not involve two parties.  You’re implying here that those dirty sluts ought to keep their legs closed if they don’t want to risk being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term due to b/c failure or broken condom.  Your ideology is inherently violent.

    If anyone else suggested that I should be forced to submit my body against my will to nine months of potential discomfort and pain, followed by an act that might include the skin and muscle between my vagina and anus being torn open, I don’t think we’d mince
    words about whether they were using violent rhetoric.

  • Clare Harshey

    I feel similarly to a few other commenters–although I usually really relate to the authors of this blog, I really differ here. Is there to be absolutely no discussion on whether or not the personhood bills have any scientific basis? I think there is absolutely room for discussion there, and I’d love to see some of those opinions at least argued here. Every time a post like this is written, it makes me feel slighted as a woman who has reasoned through the issue of abortion very thoroughly and come to a conclusion that places her in the pro-life camp. 

    That said, I don’t think that allowing various methods of birth control or sterilization should be made absolutely free in this plan–any other (even life-saving!) routine would absolutely have, at the very least, some sort of copay. 

    Furthermore, the institutions that are absolutely begging for a conscience clause are just as religious as the churches already included. Religious hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and other socially important institutions do not have to only employ clergymen to be considered fully religious. And simply taking the institution itself out of the decision-making process does not mean the guilt is no longer on their shoulders.

    You’d have to understand that, in the Catholic Church (as one instance, since a few other denominations are objecting as well), there is guilt in being indirectly involved in a crime against humanity as well as being directly involved. Allowing someone to kill a human person, even in the form of a zygote, with its own DNA and its own soul even indirectly is absolutely a sin. 

    Oh, and one more thing. Telling women they have to at least pay for *some* of their own birth control is not the same as denying women control over their bodies. It’s just called not forcing private institutions to do something their conscience cannot accept. The religious objecting to this  mandate are not asking that The Pill be outlawed. They are asking that they not have to pay for it.

  • ZenPoseur

    I’ll make a deal with you: On the day that an embryo can be noninvasively teleported from the mother into an artificial uterus implanted in the father, I will whole-heartedly support the paternal right to veto an abortion.

    Hell, I’ll even support mandatory maternal child support in such a scenario.

    Until then, men who believe they should have a say in what goes on inside my body can feel free to not have sex with me.

  • Jean Marie Downing

    If the woman is already consenting to vaginal probing, which she would be with all but the abortion drug, then why is this WORSE?  I’m serious here.  How does information on the development of the child in their uterus do anything but give the woman more information?

    I am not trying to slut shame, or whatever you think I’m doing.  But I do feel like it is a serious decision, that should be treated as such, and that there is an eagerness to gloss over the life being taken.  If there is shame associated, perhaps that’s because they feel the action of getting the abortion is shameful.

  • Anonymous

    You’ve been slut-shaming in a number of places.  Rape culture is so rife with instances of slut-shaming it doesn’t surprise me you’re not even aware of it. 
    A vaginal ultrasound is not a medically necessary part of the abortion procedure.  Implying that women who choose to have an abortion are not acutely aware of the decision they are making and need to have their bodily autonomy violated in order to present further information on what they already know is implying that women are too stupid or infantile to understand what pregnancy is and denying women the ability to make their own choices, with dignity and without duress.

  • Anonymous

    Even people absolutely opposed to abortion should find this nauseating and evil.

    (upsetting language comin’ up here)
    Is there an exception for women with in-viable pregnancies? Is this going to be enforced for women who wanted a son or daughter, then found out their fetus is not capable of surviving to infancy? Because it’s sounding like they would force a woman to look at her failing pregnancy before allowing her to end it. That is emotional torture.
    What about ectopic pregnancies? They just declared that collection of cells that can’t do anything but destroy the tissue and organs around it until it fails, a living human being. Does a woman need to have her doctor show her some snapshots of it before they can flush it out?

    I want to throw up, all over everyone involved.

  • Kate Falanga

    The difference is consent and choice. I know choice becomes a charged word in these discussions but it’s the right words to use.

    Nobody is forcing a women to have an abortion. However the government is forcing an unnecessary and invasive medical test that has nothing to do with the abortion procedure. From my understanding the cost of this test is also the responsibility of the women. This law was largely put into place at the objection of most of the women it would affect. 

    The best way to see the absurdity is to equate this (as someone did, I forget the details) with forcing a man to have a prostrate exam before being prescribed erectile disfunction medication.  

    It’s needless, invasive, expensive, and insensitive. 

    Additionally it will do nothing to prevent abortion. So there is no point. If you truly are opposed to abortion then do something to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Encourage real sex education, access to contraceptions and work on rape prevention. Fight the cause, don’t punish the result.

  • Kate Falanga

    I pay for a lot thing via my taxes that I don’t agree with and think are morally wrong.  However, that’s the price I pay to be part of this society.

    I’ve never really understood how religious institutions are somehow not apart of the society in which they serve. They get the benefits in the form of police protection, roads, ect but expect not to pay into any of that in the form of taxes and demand special treatment in instances such as this. 

    Either they are part of this society and shoulder the same burdens as everyone else or they don’t get the same protections and benefits as everyone else.


  • James Ernest

    Susan G Komen is still funding their planned parenthood grant.  They realized that cutting the funding was a stupid decision.
    As to your decisions, has it never occured to you that the most honest way of being “pro-life” (that is to say, fighting for the rights of those who cannot fight for themselves) isn’t to battle against reproductive rights, but rather to battle FOR aid to mothers who turn to abortion because they do not believe they can raise a child?  Why are you more interested in what’s in a woman’s pants than in helping women who didn’t opt for an abortion, in the face of terrible circumstances, or who would if they thought they could get the help they need to actually raise a child?

  • James Ernest

    Is it also your view that it is morally wrong to allow babies born with anencephally to die, as opposed to prolonging their lives through mechanical means?

  • Anonymous

    But if we don’t shrink the government, how else are we going to fit it in a vagina?

  • Amphigorey

    Not all abortions require such equipment. Plenty of abortions are nonsurgical. According to the Guttmacher Institute, over one quarter of all abortions in 2008 were done with medication.

    The state requiring a vaginal ultrasound for any abortion is ridiculous, because it should be the doctor and the woman who make that call, but requiring it for an early abortion that doesn’t require surgery is even more ridiculous. Why would you even do that?

    Also, Planned Parenthood has prevented more abortions than any other organization out there because they provide contraception and family planning help. If you truly care about reducing the number of abortions, then the best thing you can do is support comprehensive sex education and free access to birth control. Abortion services account for about 3% of what Planned Parenthood does.

    Contraception prevents abortion. That’s the bottom line, and Planned Parenthood pretty much rocks at contraception.

    Dilation and evacuation, by the way, is mostly performed on later abortions, those done after 16 weeks after the woman’s last period. According to Guttmacher, abortions later than 16 weeks account for just over 5% of all abortions. They’re very rare, and those that do happen are almost always because there’s something wrong with the fetus, not because the mother elects to have an abortion. True late-term abortions, those done after 21 weeks, are even rarer, and account for 1.5% of all abortions.

    This, by the way, is why it’s absolutely crucial that late-term abortions remain legal. It’s a horrifying prospect to force a woman to carry to term a baby who has no head, or whose organs are developing outside its body. The merciful thing to do in these tragic cases is to abort, not force her to give birth to a baby who cannot live.

  • Amphigorey

    Does that mean you think a man can force a woman to continue a pregnancy she doesn’t want by exercising his paternal rights?

    I totally just saw a statistic on Guttmacher about how many women’s partners support their choice to have an abortion and now I can’t find it. Argh, sorry about that!

  • AmyDamy

    No one is saying you can’t be pro-life and have your own opinions on abortions it’s just that your beliefs don’t out wiegh my rights . And that is all this does is infringe on people’s rights.

  • Lux

    If you don’t believe in abortion, that’s fine, you’re completely entitled to that belief.

    However, you have no right to make that decision for another woman. The extremely personal and life-changing decision of whether or not to be pregnant is her call to make.

  • Clare Harshey

    It’s your right to have free birth control if you work for a Catholic institution? I don’t see that anywhere in the constitution, and no one is forcing you to work at any particular institution. 

  • Clare Harshey

    Well, yes. From birth ’til death, humans have dignity, and there is no one who can say that a life might not be saved this way.

  • Anonymous

    I can only echo the sentiment that this is a nightmare.

    We declare wars that cause deaths. Not just death, but horror and agony. Sometimes families are destroyed, economies are destroyed, and many, many living, breathing, feeling people suffer greatly. And we sometimes do this because we say we have to. It’s a necessary choice to prevent greater suffering and destruction to the world. We make these decisions, or more likely, empower our government to make these decisions, about things that are mostly happening very far away from us, and often don’t effect us directly.

    And yet when a woman, in almost all cases, tries to make an informed, difficult, and deeply personal decision about a lump of likely not-yet-sentient cells inside her own body, we think that that is such an abomination that we feel it is our right and duty to protect that lump of cells from the woman who it is a part of, no matter the weight of the consequences for her. We don’t want to allow her dominion over her body, the agency to say ‘This is a decision I need to make, the one that will cause the least suffering for all involved.’ We think our government has more of a right to fling bombs all over other peoples’ countries than a woman has the right to determine what happens inside of her own body.

  • Clare Harshey

    It’s not that they aren’t a part of society. But no one is demanding special treatment–only treatment outlined by the constitution. Freedom of religion is not only freedom of worship, but freedom of conscience. Even the founding fathers, some of whom were deists at best, agreed. For example, Thomas Jefferson said:

    “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” -1777
    It really puts into perspective that not only has the lack of a proper conscience clause gone too far, but the government delving into matters of healthcare will necessarily lead to unconstitutional results that will always leave someone upset and truly wronged.

  • K. Traylor

    The man provides exactly one cell to the equation. The woman provides the other cell, plus ALL of the food and energy and physical changes that go into growing two cells into a fetus. Saying that both parents should have equal rights is like saying… okay, in non offensive terms, if I give you a tomato seed and you grow it into a plant, I do not have any rights to that plant. Elle Woods already told us that sperm do not count as children.

  • JennaC

    Seriously, Holy shit.

  • JennaC

    I imagine the people that wrote the bill wanted the  clearest picture on the ultrasound and that is provided by this type of ultrasound.  The other kind would be possible, but not as effective at making out pictures of the baby. I imagine the intent is to traumatize the woman by showing a clear picture of the fetus and get her to change her mind under duress.  That’s some missed up tactics.  Thank goodness, I’m gay.   Oh except, that if I ever became pregnant and had complications where the baby would kill me, I would have to be raped and given a guilt trip before being able to not die.  This crap effects every woman out there no matter what life circumstance or belief.  Can people really say that they would want their own daughter to go through this?  What if she was married, but the pregnancy would kill her?  If you can say you’d rather have your daughter die in childbirth when the death was preventable than safely abort and be able to try again with life intact, then I’m glad I’m not you.  

  • JennaC

    Of course not you directly, patientetherizd, lol.  The collective “you” of the people on this comment list that think this law was a good idea.

  • JennaC

    In most situations suffering would just be prolonged.  That is cruel.  And science and experience tells us what conditions are mortal and should not be artificially because to do so causes pain in someone who cannot understand why they are suffering.  Quite different than an adult that states they want anything medical necessary to live.  There’s consent in that. 

  • Anonymous

    Wanted to add: I would respect anti-abortionists more if they didn’t try to turn their beliefs into laws, to coerce women. Try to persuade women to make the choice to not have an abortion, without getting the legal system involved? Try to help women in any way you can to make the decision you wish they’d make, without expecting the government to control her? More power to you. More power to you. Have your beliefs, and preach them.

    What if the government made the consumption of meat illegal? There are plenty of animal rights advocates who feel just as strongly about the lives and well-being of animals as pro-lifers feel about the rights of unborn fetuses. It makes them angry that animals suffer to serve us. What if they had their way, and the government made the killing of animals illegal? It’s someone’s belief that they need to protect something innocent vs. the general population’s belief that it has the right to do what it wants, sometimes for survival but mostly for pleasure. The reasons that meat-eating will never be illegal are, by and large, far more self-serving and dismissive of the sacredness of the life of another sentient being than the reasons why women choose to have abortions. Yet animal rights advocates, as strongly as they feel about their cause, have to accept that they live in a world where other people feel they have the right to eat other animals. They can do everything in their power to try to convert people to their way of seeing things, but they don’t have the power to force their beliefs on other people through law. Anti-abortionists should see and accept the same.

  • JennaC

    Yeah, I thought about ectopic pregnancies, too.  How repugnant.  I’ll puke with you.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve had one of these ultrasounds. It was medically necessary for diagnosing what was wrong with me, I knew what I was getting into, and I was happy to be having it since it meant I was moving forward toward health (having been ill for 18 months without health insurance had gotten very tiresome). It was still invasive as all get out, not to mention awkward as hell while the technician wiggled the thing around, staring at the screen and asking me about the weather in my hometown. I can’t imagine how traumatizing it would be to have that forced on me. This bill makes me sick to my stomach.

  • Kelly Kobarda

    Free Sex Education to all!
    Free condoms to all!
    Free birth control to all!

    = less and less abortions everyday! = happy human beings all around :)

    That simple.

  • Angel Collins

    You know that Catholic guilt you’re speaking of?

    I’m pretty sure God will forgive you. So relax. Give the woman her damn birth control and be on your merry way.

    I feel guilty for having to even subject women to this kind of debate.

  • E S

    I lol’d.

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  • Anonymous

    Your wording about agreeing to getting one thing shoved inside, so that makes the other okay too sounds incredibly rapist, and unfortunately there’s more than enough folks who have tried to deny they were violating another based on the fact that A was agreed to, so B (and C and D and E and etc.) has been agreed to by proxy. That’s not how consent works.

  • Anonymous

    To all the people who say there are no paternal rights in pregnancy/abortion, from what I think should legally be the case, yes, I agree with you, but with a lot of protesting from my sense of equality and justice.

    An embryo, a fetus, a child – those are still the product of two people, and one of those is a man. Men are just as able as women to love their offspring and cannot help they can’t carry the potential new life instead of their partner. I am confident that the largest portion of the men worth their weight will agree with their women on abortion because abortion isn’t something you do because one Saturday you felt like it. But there will also always be a portion of men who will find themselves with a (ex)partner they can’t stop from aborting the child they had expected to get or would want to keep.

    I really wish some of you would speak with less militant tones about the role of fathers in the discussion on abortion. Not because I don’t agree with the logic, but because denying the fact abortion is a charged experience for multiple parties does not do anyone any good. 

  • Sabrina

     I also had one of those for medical reasons and you really need someone who’s careful with this thing cause it’s awkward as hell. I don’t want to imagine the horrors of having this procedure with someone who happens to be against abortions and just enjoys being a dick to you cause you choose to abort.

  • Anonymous

    This is so wrong!

    … fewer and fewer abortions! ;)

  • Amphigorey

    Until it’s born, the man has no call over what happens to the fetus. And he shouldn’t. Think what the alternative would be: It would be forcing women to carry and birth an unwanted baby.

    That’s nothing short of barbaric.

  • Cameron Rene Ramirez

    Does any one celebrate conception day? No.

  • Anonymous


  • Sophie

    God! I am so so sorry American ladies. This is just disgusting.
    I definitely think the cute animals are required. Maybe they should become a staple of bad news giving…I’ll write to the BBC.

  • Anonymous

     haha, no worries JennaC.  thanks for all your input everyone.  i still don’t agree with the law, but at least i “understand” the different ultrasounds now.

  • Jenny Hanniver

    I’m surprisingly willing to upset you in order to save women’s lives and personal sovereignty.

  • Kenneth C Pennington

    Wow. Just … wow. How could even these 13th-century-minded idiots think ANY of this is a good idea? 

    When did the GOP decide it was good politics to turn themselves into comic villains? The only way they could make themselves any more cartoony would be for Boehner and Cantor to grow long, thin ‘staches so they’ll have something to twirl as they cackle maniacally at the end of press conferences (just before they flourish their capes and flee the room).

  • Anna B

    Let’s make something clear, Jean. If we can have abortions without having something inserted into our vaginas, then THAT would be preferred, but now we’re being asked to put an extra, unnecessary equipment there, so how it’s different is that the equipment necessary to perform the abortion is just that–necessary. That ultrasound machine is not.

    By making it law to stick an ultrasound into my vagina before I can get my right to abortion is basically making rape legal.

  • Anna B

    I agree with you. Though I admit, I’ve gotten over-tired of having to read the same abortion arguments from conservative anti-choicers these last few days, and against my better judgement, it’s getting under my skin. I mean, seriously.  The GOP folks have been working on overdrive to set back women’s rights 50 years over the last week. 

    ::cries on your shoulder::

  • Anna B

    (upsetting language here, too)

    Oh, but how else are they gonna punish the sluts who get themselves pregnant because of their whorish ways?

    That’s the problem, I fear. Many women from the conservative right feel themselves apart from women who decide to get abortions, because in their minds, they will never been in a position to want/need an abortion, therefore, *those* women are not like them, thereby, there is no unity among women. It’s frustrating that this has become a conservative vs. liberal issue, when this should be an issue for all women and that all women should have a united front opposing it.

  • Greg Sanders

    And adoption isn’t considered because? Which is not to say this law is okay, because it’s wrong. But where is adoption being suggested? Proper information requires someone know all their options, but here it seems more and more it’s becoming the rage to throw abortion politics in everyone’s face. Contraceptives don’t always work, if they don’t, is abortion really the only way? Why can’t anyone adopt, or put up for adoption? You point the other way all the time, it’s either rape or problems with the fetus, but if the women has unprotected sex, with consent, not believing she could get pregnant, can you not put it up for adoption instead? RUN AN ADOPTION ARTICLE, please. You want to INFORM, then INFORM.

  • Anna B

    This is why it’s important that women are representing women’s health, because a man would never have this kind of first-hand knowledge to speak for or against it with authority. 

  • Mac Beauvais

    I read every single comment on this thread, and there isn’t one thing I can say that hasn’t already been said. Suffice to say then that I believe in a woman’s right to have control over her body and not be subjected to treatments that are unnecessary and costly.

    Lastly, I feel compelled to say that there is supposed to be a separation of church and state, and it seems lately like many folks are forgetting/choosing to ignore that.

  • Anonymous

     Dear Greg,
    We have articles about abortion here because to the best of my knowledge adoption is never under attack from the right wing or anti-abortion crowd. 
    Also this may come as a surprise to you but the majority of women KNOW about adoption.  We’re not as stupid as you seem to think.  If I want to carry something to term and have it ripped from my body then I will do so.  If I do not want to I will not. 
    Tell you what, you can carry as many children to term and put them all up for adoption if you want.
    Protected sex is not 100%.  I happen to work in the medical field that exposes me to radiation and poisonous gas (that has been proven to cause birth defects).  If something slips through the cracks and I haven’t been taking the safety precautions I need to I am not carrying that to term (jeopardizing my career and own health) just to throw it on the adoption market where it may or may not get adopted.

  • Anonymous

    Just to reiterate:
    Contraceptives don’t always work, if they don’t, is abortion really the
    only way? Why can’t anyone adopt, or put up for adoption?

    Adoption doesn’t solve the problem of an unwanted pregnancy, it solves the problem of an unwanted child.  Abortion is, in fact, the only way a person not wanting to be pregnant can end a pregnancy.  Being pregnant is dangerous.  For many women, it is life-threatening.  Forcing any person to go through the risks inherent in pregnancy when they don’t wish to is barbaric.

  • Amphigorey

    Is it your right to have a blood transfusion if your boss is a Jehovah’s Witness?

  • Anna B

    Fair enough. I agree that adoption is an option if you already birthed the child, or if the woman is willing to go through 9 months of pregnancy.

    In that sense, Sex Ed or Women’s Educational Rights in general falls under the same relative obscurity that adoption is falling in now as far as this issue is concerned.

    However, adoption is not relative in view of sticking an ultrasound device up one’s vagina. Nor is adoption a relevant issue in terms of contraception. I guess the short of it is: that information is about as useful at this point as staring at a fetus’s image via a sonogram between a woman’s legs.

    Besides, adoption hardly ever seems to be a point of contention.  Nobody actually disagrees with it. 

  • Amphigorey

    I don’t see how it applies here. Are you saying that you think the churches should get away with picking and choosing their employees’ health care, because if they don’t get to then that’s government interference?

    That’s a hell of a stretch.

  • Amphigorey

    If reactionary politicians weren’t hellbent on destroying women’s rights, then you wouldn’t be reading about abortion nearly so much. How about you talk to your local reps, and try to get this issue settled?

    It should be noted that adoption is MUCH harder, both emotionally and physically, than abortion. Carrying a pregnancy to term is risky and incredibly physically taxing, and then giving up the child you just delivered is very, very difficult.

    Having an abortion, on the other hand, is much safer.

    Also, this bit? ” but if the women has unprotected sex, with consent, not believing she could get pregnant…” Is really disturbing. You know what? It doesn’t matter how a woman gets pregnant. Not even a little. It is her body, and she has complete sovereign rights over her own body. No one else. Connecting the fact that she’s pregnant with the type of sex she’s had is really fucking squicky and paternalistic and I seriously wish you would stop it.

    Really, if you want to get “information” about adoption out there, you can go ahead and put up your own blog post. No one’s stopping you.

  • Anonymous

    Zie’s saying just the opposite.  Churches have become so ensconced in politics, particularly on the federal level, that it’s a travesty they aren’t taxed.

    EDIT: pronoun fail

  • Amphigorey

    Oh! My apologies for misreading. I didn’t get it.

  • Melissa Francis

    I agree that the father should have some consideration.  After the child is born the father can take custody if the mother for whatever reason can’t, however as it is largly something that would effect the woman it has to largly come back to what she is comfortable with.

     I also would not except under extreame circumstances have an abortion, but I beleive that women should still have a right to choose what is right for them or it will only negatively impact a child. especially if the parents never wanted it in the first place.

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t see it mentioned anywhere here –though I could have missed it– but it is my understanding that the woman has to pay for this unnecessary ultrasound, Is there any mention of how much it will cost in addition to the abortion itself?

    While I can see the argument on how the ultrasound can be traumatizing to someone getting an abortion as a result of rape, I can’t help thinking of women at the bottom rung of the ladder who can’t afford an unnecessary ultrasound any more than they can afford to raise a child. I guess this hits a bit too close to home because I’m determined to not have a child as I am very poor and it’s hard enough just trying to support myself.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    There’s a wide range of costs for an ultrasound.  They start at around $100 and can go up to more than $1,000.  Insurance companies generally will only reimburse the patient for the cost if it is deemed medically necessary.

  • Adam Whitley

    I was thinking the same thing everyone keeps having the same arguments over and over again trying to legislate the symptoms of prevailing problems in our society instead of going after the causes.

  • Blaine DeLancey

     Organizations, such as churches, haven’t got a conscience, as they are not people.  They have policies, and the policies of private institutions do not in any situation trump the law of the land, which is what the Catholic Lurch is requesting.  If the consciences of individual members of the Catholic hierarchy are truly this upset by the idea of obeying employment law, the solution is for them to stop employing people in the U.S. 

  • Anna B

    An ultrasound can cost between $200-$1000.  Even supposing that the woman has to pay the lowest price of $200, I still find that expensive. And since a good percentage of women seeking an abortion does so because they probably couldn’t afford it, it’s most likely that they don’t have the medical insurance to cover it.

    If we *really* want to think about it, for every person with good insurance coverage, insurance costs in general rise higher, so really, in the end, it’s the ones who can’t afford insurance that suffer even more.  It’s so Republican–that such laws as these that they seek to pass disregard both the rights of the women and have no consideration for the poor.

  • Adam Whitley

    This “personhood” amendment got me wondering is there an ideal point where one can  consider a developing fetus  a human with rights?

  • relmneiko

    You know men make that argument when they rape their girlfriends. “Oh she consented when we had sex last time so fucking her again isn’t any worse even though she didn’t want it.”

  • relmneiko

    Omigod, this, this this. If I got pregnant right now (b/c failure happens! It happened to my friend’s sister and I’ve been paranoid ever since) I would have to abort not because omg I’m a mean person, but because I’m a student with a job and I cannot support a child. I would have to drop out of university, get a second minimum-wage job to support myself, give up my plans of working overseas, move to a new place (which I can’t afford anyway). I’d end up eating at the food bank, I’d be unable to pay for childcare, stuck with piles of student loans and no good job to pay them off, I’d be FUCKED. It would ruin my life, education, career options. This is reality for many women! If it were possible for me to continue my life and have a kid? If I could get financial support of some kind and childcare options? Maybe I’d keep teh child. But I think if right now I were unable to get an abortion I would just kill myself.

  • relmneiko

    The hilarious thing is that lots of conservative women secretly get abortions and then walk right back to the picket lines. There’s a great article here from abortion clinic doctors talking about their patients’ hypocrisy: “The only moral abortion is my abortion”.

    It’s easy to be pro-life when you’re not the one with the unwanted pregnancy. It’s also easy to be a hypocrite.

  • Jasmine Zerbe-Moore

    Let me first make it clear that there’s no way you will agree with me.  I’m not trying to convince you, but to perhaps ease your utter bafflement.

    Anti-Choicers view a fertilized egg as a person, sometimes for religious reasons (the Bible, for example, as a number of verses that refer to an unborn fetus in a way that suggests person-hood, but I won’t get into that).  Being aware of that view, whether you agree with it or not, should help explain the horror and revulsion that anti-choicers feel at the thought of abortion.  It’s as if a mother took her 3-year-old to be euthanized because she felt it was her right – why should she be forced to feed or care for it?  From a pro-life viewpoint, there is practically no difference.  The right to kill doesn’t equate to the right to personal dignity.  Rather the opposite, I would think.
    As for the terrorists, I think we can agree that every group has it’s COMPLETE IDIOTS that make us embarrassed to associate ourselves with them.  Christians, Muslims (now, especially), whatever creed.  Even Occupy Wall Street has those people who crap on public buildings.  I would hope we’re all smart enough not to believe that a radical few represent the intentions and beliefs of the whole.

  • Jasmine Zerbe-Moore

    Should the baby be carried to term, would you expect a man to help support the mother/child, at least financially?  If the man has rights, he has responsibilities, and vice-versa.  I would hope that if an abortion was the decision the man would be held responsible for part of the cost. But you can’t have it both ways.  Taking the man out of the equation removes the responsibility from him and only hurts the rights of women.

  • Jasmine Zerbe-Moore

    For all I’m pro-life, I agree with you here, that ultrasound bullshit is totally unreal.  How stupid do they think we are?  And in the case of rape – I’m sorry, but you do not put ANYTHING in me without my consent, and those women have been through enough as it is.  The processing that has to take place after a rape is bad enough.  For all it will help the police catch the perpetrator and protect other women, after the trauma of a rape, many women can’t handle it.  That anyone would think it was ok to inflict more emotional distress and physical violation on these women is appalling.

  • Jasmine Zerbe-Moore

    As long as we’re treating pregnancy as a disease which should be treated, are there any other STDs whose treatment or prevention are provided for free?  I take birth control, and I’d be psyched if it were free (Yay, $20 every 3 months back in my pocket!), but I’m baffled by the belief that it’s a “right.”  Or that denying free birth control is denying her the right to control her body.  It’s a medicine designed alter the natural functions of the body.  Alter them awesomely, sure, but for free?

  • Jasmine Zerbe-Moore

    Abortion and religion aside, I am baffled by the idea that the pill is a right.  
    As long as we’re treating pregnancy as a disease which should be treated, are there any other STDs whose treatment or prevention are provided for free?  I take birth control, and I’d be psyched if it were free (Yay, $20 every 3 months back in my pocket!), but I’m baffled by the belief that it’s a “right.”  Or that denying free birth control is denying her the right to control her body.  It’s a medicine designed alter the natural functions of the body.  Alter them awesomely, sure, but for free?
    And like I say, I’m seriously baffled.  Can someone out there explain the thought process behind this?  Even if I don’t agree, I’d like to at least understand to some extent.

  • Anonymous

    Eleanor Holmes Norton is not a senator. She is not a member of Congress; she’s a delegate. Ever heard of DC’s “Taxation Without Representation” slogan? Her voting abilities are very limited. I would think someone at The Mary Sue would know this.