To provide an update, SheKossack LeanneB shared this link with me. Apparently the challenges to these laws are stacking up already. If you're looking for a way to help, this blog may have useful resources that are local to Oklahoma. Here's more coverage. The Center for Reproductive Rights appears to be leading the charge.
So my state is now requiring women seeking a degree of control over their reproductive futures to undergo a hoop-jumping performance that guilts them, patronizes them, and compels them to get an unnecessary, dubious and intrusive ultrasound.
Of course I have some opinions, as does my wife (just as soon as I find a big enough spatula to scoop her from the ceiling), but before I do, I have a decision to make. Because I'm gonna write a diary now, and there are a lot of different ways I could go with it.
For starters, I could ask, "Do Oklahoma legislators ever want to have sex again?" I mean, it's a trade secret that most of our so-called representatives don't fuck and make babies the same way you and I do. It's kind of asexual and weird. Like "budding." Did you ever learn about that in high school bio? It's a messy process, and they tend to do it in dark, moist places. But that's how they've become so strong here.
I could point out how since most abortions are performed in the early part of the pregnancy, the thing that these women will be lawfully forced to look at will resemble a fleshy jellybean more than it would a human being. Now don't get me wrong. When you're about to become a dad, looking at that little wad of goo is all kinds of exciting. You give it a name and a set of emotions, even though you know you're anthropomorphizing things a tad early.
Still, my wife and I planned for that little cocktail shrimp-looking guy. These women probably didn't. And because there's no exemption for rape or incest victims, well, why would they ever want to see that particular jellybean? It's not bound to inspire many warm and kushy thoughts, is it? I imagine it would be horrifying. But then, I can only imagine.
I could spin a metaphor. That making a woman look at a fetus before getting an abortion is like:
A: Setting a firefighter on fire before he can rush into a burning building
B: Requiring a soldier to get shot before he is issued a firearm
C: Showing a man seeking a vasectomy his own vas deferens by sticking a camera in through his urethra.
I could mention how this is tantamount to emotional blackmail. And it's not even blackmail of a particularly subtle variety. It's insulting and demeaning and humiliating and patronizing all at once. I might ask why people think this level of shaming is necessary for women who merely want what the law says they are allowed to have.
Another point I could spell out would be the measure in this law that tells doctors they can't be sued for an "omission contributed to the mother not having obtained an abortion." What does this mean? Does it mean that a doctor can lie about the health of the fetus for fear that the woman would seek an abortion in the case of a birth defect?
I'm not sure what it could mean, but it sounds like it's creating an atmosphere where a doctor can mislead a woman into not having an abortion. When a woman is making a decision this difficult and this important, she is owed all the best and most complete information, and nothing less.
Since we've brought up already the unfortunate fact that rape and/or incest victims get no exemption from this most Draconian of abortion laws, I might also ask the law's proponents to tell me why you think a woman recovering from the psychic damage rape causes would ever want to have someone examining her body in such a personal way -- unless of course she did so under her own free will.
With this law, free will is out of the question. Both for the woman and for her doctor. The law would require the ultrasound to be administered via a device that goes through the tummy (laymen's terms) OR through the vagina — and I quote, "Whichever would display the embryo or fetus more clearly."
This is like one of my favorite phrases that you'll find on the inside of a taxi cab. "Whatever is greater." Whichever one shows the fetus more clearly. Whichever one enables us to shame you more. To more effectively scar you emotionally at an already difficult moment in your life.
I could get really graphic here. What we're talking about is a subtle form of rape. What else do you call a law that forces law-abiding women to allow a doctor to insert instruments into her body whether she wants to or not? I'm not being alarmist or inflammatory here. That's literally what the law requires.
I could go a lot of ways with this column. But instead, I will do two things.
I will state a simple fact. That I am an Oklahoman, and I believe that women are smart enough to make their own medical decisions. I believe that they and they alone should decide what goes into and what goes out of their bodies, and when and where.
Secondly, I will make a request of you, who is reading this. It's my opinion that Oklahoma has become some sort of testing ground for radical anti-abortion lawmaking. They're testing the waters to see what they can get away with legally and legislatively.
So please. Don't just say, "Those fucking Okies deserve what they get for electing Republicans." Don't just say, "If they want to live in the Stone Age, let them. It doesn't impact me." Because one day, it might.
Sure, we might get lucky again and have this law struck down, as we saw with the law that would have required personal information about women who get abortions to be made public. That very well may happen. Indeed, it seems like this may be the only imaginable conclusion for a law that appears to be unconstitutional on its very face.
But let us please not count on that. Laws like these should be resisted, by Oklahomans, by other Americans, by women and by men. If they are not, and this effort becomes a successful model for the anti-choice movement, who knows where else it could be applied?
Don't dismiss this. Take it seriously.