Following is the post of the day — maybe ever — by reader "Big Momma." She responded to a comment on our item about Sen. Jason Rapert's decision to remove mandated transvaginal probes of women seeking abortions in the earliest stage of pregnancy from his abortion ban bill. That's right. He amended a bill to take out something that he'd denied for two years his legislation required.
Big Momma responded to a question from a male reader who said "if a woman has an abortion, aren't all sorts of things stuck up in her to take the unborn scientific glob of human matter? What's one more thing?" She wrote:
Ok B-Rock, I'll bite.
First, let's work on terminology. I assume we're all adults here, right? These legislators are wanting to require a probe stuck in a woman's vagina. Vagina, vagina, vagina. I know men have a hard time saying the word, in spite of their endless fascination with the region, but if you can't say "vagina" then you probably ought not be legislating it.
Now, let's look at your logic. Since a woman having an abortion is having all sorts of sundry objects stuck "up in there," then what's one more, right? Your argument assumes that a woman's vagina is something akin to the Lincoln Tunnel. By your same rationale, then, a sexually active woman shouldn't really mind being raped, since if she's had one penis (or if you prefer, Mr. Peepee or a wee wee since "penis" may also be hard to say) stuck "up in there," then really, why not a few more?
Perhaps that's a bit extreme, so let's go real world. I am currently in my first trimester of a planned pregnancy. This is not my first rodeo, so I have other children at home who rely upon me every single day. I also have a husband who I think likes having me around. Soon, my OB will discuss with me some options for genetic testing that I can choose to have done in the next couple of weeks. There are some new tests with 99% accuracy in detecting genetic abnormalities, some of which mean certain death for an unborn child. Since I am now, at the ripe age of 35, of "advanced maternal age," that means that this time around, my child is slightly more likely to have some of these genetic issues.
Hypothetically speaking, were one of those tests to come back positive, naturally my husband and I would seek second, third and fourth opinions. We'd meet with specialists. And then we'd have to make some difficult decisions. Let me tell you plainly: The news would be devastating, but I know in my heart that I could not continue a pregnancy where I knew that this baby would die shortly after birth or would be born sleeping. I personally am not able, and I am not willing to risk my other children watching their mother go through a doomed pregnancy - and living the aftermath - if I have some other option.
So, back to these legislators. After all of this agony, they want me to jump through one final hoop: being violated by a cold metal probe to verify a heartbeat. After all, I've had any number of other tests done, blood drawn, objects in my vagina, so why not subject me to one more, right? I shouldn't mind. It shouldn't bother me to be violated one last time, to be shamed by my decision, made with sound medical advice, discussion with my husband and yes, even prayer. Why not one last probe?
Perhaps it is difficult for men to understand this because they cannot carry life, and understand what agony it must be for a woman to be forced to carry a pregnancy in which the tiny baby inside her kicks not because they have a working brain, but because they have a functional spinal column, and no brain to support life outside the womb. Knowing that the moment they push that life into the world will not be one of joy, but instead one of knowing that the child's life will be counted in minutes, or hours and not years. Or perhaps that there will be years, but those years will be spent in excruciating pain. Some women are brave enough for this, and I commend them for their strength. I am not, and I cannot sacrifice myself when my other children also deserve to have their mother.
Do people abuse the ability to get an abortion? Absolutely. Some get abortions for far less noble reasons. On the other hand, some people abuse their right to own a gun and go and kill their neighbors, and yet, as you aptly pointed out, the rights of responsible gun owners should not be infringed upon due to the bad acts of others. Likewise, should my right to make a responsible decision about my reproductive rights be infringed upon because some women are not responsible and abuse the ability to get an abortion as a means of birth control? Let's not be selective when we discuss constitutional rights - I'll stay out of your gun safe if you stay out of my vagina.
PS — I'm sure Big Momma understands this, but in the event there's any confusion, a reader suggests I elaborate. The debate here isn't so much about requiring a fetal hearbeat test. Such tests are medically unnecessary in seeking an abortion and have been required by the anti-abortion lobby in other states to discourage women from having an abortion. Here, the point of Rapert's bill is not to monitor hearbeats. The point is that, when a heartbeat IS detected, an abortion is prohibited.
So now he has fired not only Meyer, but also Huckabee?
You remind me eL, I meant to comment on your Rick Santorum link. About that…
Raising a glass up here in the hills! Great work Arkansas Public Law Center.