Skip to main content

Some newspapers are refusing to publish a Doonesbury comic strip series that will run next week that addresses mandatory vaginal ultrasounds. A summary of the series shows that on one day the comic focuses on a woman arriving for her pre-abortion sonogram when she is told by a male state legislator to "take a seat in the shaming room," on another day, the comic is about a male legislator asking the woman if her parents know that she is a slut for using contraceptive services, and another day has a doctor telling the woman: "By the authority invested in me by the GOP base, I thee rape."

The reasons cited by newspapers banning Doonesbury are actually reasons why the comic strip series should not be banned. The Oregonian will not run the series because it goes "over the line of good taste and humor in penning a series on abortion using graphic language and images inappropriate for a comics page." The reality of the GOP trying to legalize rape of women is a lot more "inappropriate" than a cartoon series highlighting one aspect of the GOP War on Women. The Indianapolis Star will not run the series because it does not "want to be part of the personalization and debasement of political discourse." What about the reality of the depersonalization and debasement of women by these laws? If a comic series on the issue of harming women is so objectionable, then the reality of state-sanctioned rape of women, and the messy, awful facts of what is happening in our country in this GOP War on Women should be recognized as even more awful and good reason to not hide the horrors from the public.

Newspapers running the series include the Kansas City Star, Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Washington Post, Tulsa World and The Los Angeles Times, but some will run on the editorial page rather than the cartoon page.

The focus of the Doonesbury cartoon series is a Texas mandatory ultrasound law that essentially requires a vaginal probe. The face of the Texas law does not mention vaginal ultrasound. Instead, the Texas law requires an ultrasound, thus giving the impression that an external abdominal ultrasound may be performed. However, the Texas law requires that the ultrasound provide certain information to women and experts say that information can only be obtained by a vaginal probe:

Texas now requires women seeking an abortion get an ultrasound and be able to see the image and hear the fetal heartbeat. But to get a clear image and be able to pick up the heartbeat early in a pregnancy, experts say there is only one kind of ultrasound that can do that, requiring a wand-like probe inserted into the vagina.
It's not just Texas. Oklahoma and North Carolina also "passed laws requiring that the ultrasound screen face the woman and spelling out in detail what the doctor must describe, effectively requiring vaginal probes in most cases. The laws in Oklahoma and North Carolina remain blocked as federal courts consider whether they violate First Amendment rights."

The paternalistic BS rationale is that "placing the screen before the patient and requiring doctors to point out the physical features of the fetus does women a favor — giving them information they need without forcing them to agonize over whether they want it."

Yes, government knows best that women should be raped in order to provide partisan political propaganda to us.

This is rape with a condom-covered penile shaped probe:

While the legislation [in Virginia] did not specify what kind of ultrasound procedure should be used, transvaginal ultrasounds are often the primary means of detecting gestational age in the early stages of pregnancy. In carrying out a transvaginal ultrasound procedure:

The health care provider will place a probe, called a transducer, into the vagina. The probe is covered with a condom and a gel. The probe sends out sound waves, which reflect off body structures. A computer receives these waves and uses them to create a picture. The doctor can immediately see the picture on a nearby TV monitor. The health care provider will move the probe within the area to see the pelvic organs.

The Texas law sanctions state rape of women with the penetration of her vagina without her consent. The Texas Penal Code defines sexual assault as "intentionally or knowingly causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person's consent."  A sexual assault is without consent generally under various situations where the actor forces submission by the use or threat of use of physical force or violence. The absence of consent is also true when the "actor is a public servant who coerces the other person to submit or participate" or the "actor is a mental health services provider or a health care services provider who causes the other person, who is a patient or former patient of the actor, to submit or participate by exploiting the other person's emotional dependency on the actor."  Health care services provider is defined to include a physician. A victim's "effective consent" is a defense if the victim knew the "conduct was a risk of recognized medical treatment." Coercion includes compelling a person to agree and these laws force women to agree to the vaginal ultrasound in order to exercise their constitutional right.

The Texas law does not provide for free and voluntary consent by the woman. The law states that before the sonogram that is conducted prior to the abortion, the pregnant woman must sign a form that is called the "abortion and sonogram election," which includes the statements that "Texas law requires that I receive a sonogram prior to receiving an abortion," and that she is "making this election of my own free will and without coercion." How is this voluntary consent when the ultrasound is mandated by law?

The law essentially requires doctors to act as agents of the state, and thus raises Fourth Amendment issues of government agents conducting searches without probable cause of criminal activity. At least for now, abortion is lawful, constitutional activity under Roe v. Wade. A lawsuit filed against this law raised issues of First Amendment violations of the rights of both the doctor and the woman by mandating doctors provide "politically-motivated communications to women, regardless of their wishes.  The Center also argues that the law discriminates against women by subjecting them to paternalistic “protections” not imposed on men. “This law is patronizing to women in Texas. It is based on outdated stereotypes that women are too immature or too incompetent to make important decisions,” said Northup. “It’s as if the politician has charged into the doctor’s office and told the woman, ‘Honey, you just don’t understand what you are doing.  Let me explain it to you and tell you what to do.’”  The lawsuit ultimately failed in the courts
and so the law took effect.  The author of this law made it clear that the intent of the law is to coerce women into not having abortions, saying the law will "save 15,000 lives annually in Texas – if it stops one out in five abortions."

Rape by objects or instruments is not a new concept. Last January, the federal government announced that it is changing the definition of rape that it uses to compile national crime statistics because it was outdated, omitting many crimes that are prosecuted as rape under state laws. The old definition of rape was limited to vaginal penetration by a penis and did not include vaginal or anus penetration with objects, such as vaginal ultrasound probes:

The old definition — “the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will” — covered only forcible penetration of a woman’s vagina by a penis, and excluded many other kinds of sexual assaults that count as rape under more modern definitions.

For example, the outdated definition did not count forcible anal or oral penetration, the penetration of the vagina or anus with an object or other body part, the rape of a man, or the rape of a woman by another woman.

…The new definition, which was drafted with input from local and state law enforcement agencies based on more modernized rape laws, encompasses a broader range of such circumstances. Specifically, it covers the “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

Originally posted to Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Sat Mar 10, 2012 at 11:21 AM PST.

Also republished by J Town, Sluts, DKOMA, Pro Choice, and Abortion.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

JekyllnHyde, paradox, Angie in WA State, Sylv, nota bene, DeminNewJ, Trix, Bill in Portland Maine, Chi, filkertom, Radiowalla, itsbenj, True North, grollen, teacherken, TrueBlueMajority, NYmom, tiponeill, TechBob, musicalhair, Shockwave, Sherri in TX, Heather in SFBay, Wintermute, SanJoseLady, Stein, eeff, Mnemosyne, dsb, x, Sandy on Signal, Woody, WI Deadhead, frisco, Matilda, MarkInSanFran, Jerome a Paris, bookbear, hubcap, zeitshabba, Bugsby, rasbobbo, cinnamon68, tarminian, Gustogirl, opinionated, bronte17, missLotus, susans, annrose, susakinovember, whenwego, djMikulec, highacidity, Xapulin, gakke, moiv, xopher, farmerhunt, roses, JuliaAnn, ovals49, ivote2004, Fe, fumie, Iberian, splashy, Cedwyn, NMRed, Oke, dejavu, liz dexic, annan, danthrax, sockpuppet, CitizenOfEarth, kdrivel, exiledfromTN, cosette, Damnit Janet, texasmom, BMarshall, chrismorgan, mnguitar, QuoVadis, On The Bus, defluxion10, RebeccaG, riverlover, kismet, Democratic Hawk, bwintx, Diana in NoVa, zerelda, Sembtex, side pocket, Curt Matlock, Pola Halloween, TexasLefty, vacantlook, Blueiz, sawgrass727, sb, julifolo, davidincleveland, maybeeso in michigan, bloomer 101, Bluesee, radarlady, Ckntfld, subtropolis, Irons33, dogemperor, ChemBob, Kdoug, Brooke In Seattle, YucatanMan, Laurence Lewis, reflectionsv37, eru, majcmb1, SaraBeth, Pam from Calif, pasadena beggar, Sara R, where4art, Gordon20024, skyounkin, Ice Blue, blue jersey mom, Savvy813, Shotput8, Ginny in CO, FindingMyVoice, Pluto, turdraker, Rogneid, Ekaterin, JanF, xanthippe2, noweasels, xaxnar, Over the Edge, begone, reddbierd, forbodyandmind, Mother Mags, martini, esquimaux, Sanuk, snazzzybird, BachFan, irishwitch, tarheelblue, Keone Michaels, myboo, vigilant meerkat, Clytemnestra, Themistoclea, Kimball Cross, dopper0189, Yellow Canary, Hear Our Voices, kestrel9000, Naniboujou, Albatross, arlene, Son of a Cat, raincrow, luckydog, blueoasis, TalkieToaster, bubbanomics, Ooooh, Terminus, bleeding heart, Preston S, Unitary Moonbat, doinaheckuvanutjob, middleagedhousewife, anninla, SingerInTheChoir, bumbi, Cenobyte, thenekkidtruth, IL clb, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, BB10, fiddlingnero, Stripe, blueoregon, shaharazade, bstotts, RickBoston, Quicklund, Aaa T Tudeattack, NonnyO, AntKat, Thinking Fella, Sapere aude, FlamingoGrrl, donnamarie, Cronesense, Evil Genius, Loudoun County Dem, ninkasi23, moodyinsavannah, gloriana, linkage, edsbrooklyn, DvCM, LillithMc, la urracca, HeartlandLiberal, Matt Z, dclawyer06, certainot, burlydee, deepeco, joedemocrat, Strabo, bnasley, rantsposition, puzzled, Seneca Doane, jnhobbs, millwood, gchaucer2, uciguy30, skod, TexasTwister, Empower Ink, rogerdaddy, adrianrf, gundyj, mconvente, TX Freethinker, BobBlueMass, ChocolateChris, kimoconnor, mamamedusa, bythesea, elwior, Sharon Wraight, VL Baker, Therapy, monkeybrainpolitics, Lujane, CenFlaDem, Cassandra Waites, dewley notid, Jeff Y, catly, alnep, temptxan, glendaw271, Soldier Boy, petulans, elpacifico66, matching mole, Parthenia, Karl Rover, HarpboyAK, dmhlt 66, WearyIdealist, David Futurama, LaFeminista, Fiddlegirl, wv voice of reason, maggiejean, rubyclaire, DontTaseMeBro, lostinamerica, don mikulecky, Carol in San Antonio, Don Enrique, pvlb, h bridges, jennylind, earicicle, kravitz, MKSinSA, TheOpinionGuy, Denise Oliver Velez, kevinpdx, sfarkash, Andhakari, strangedemocracy, Dragon5616, astral66, jpmassar, citisven, porchdog1961, Words In Action, BlueOak, Railfan, Its the Supreme Court Stupid, commonmass, smileycreek, SquirmyRooter, mamamorgaine, The Distillery, roadbear, NJpeach, eXtina, estreya, Observerinvancouver, David Harris Gershon, jethrock, Crabby Abbey, angelajean, mjbleo, Dingodude, gulfgal98, shenderson, paradise50, Puddytat, rja, DrTerwilliker, elengul, Otteray Scribe, USHomeopath, Oh Mary Oh, ZedMont, soaglow, dot farmer, Onomastic, Jane Lew, annieli, princess Kes, mama jo, ozsea1, StateofEuphoria, bgblcklab1, Susipsych, Player to be named later, Bluerall, FarWestGirl, asterkitty, princesspat, boomerchick, mrsgoo, Majordomo, marleycat, zukesgirl64, thomask, dle2GA, BarackStarObama, KVoimakas, RfrancisR, Yogurt721, worldlotus, wintergreen8694, enhydra lutris, corvaire, Calvino Partigiani, Safina, gr8trtl, Caddis Fly, bluck, Tom Seaview, Rashaverak, ParkRanger, PrometheusUnbound, Thousandwatts, GenXangster, stormicats, gnostradamus, Cordyc, MNGlasnant, anodnhajo, Voiceless, cwsmoke, Aji, IndieGuy, Eric Nelson, tb92, a2nite, swampyankee, Trotskyrepublican, congenitalefty, Horace Boothroyd III, Mike RinRI, peachcreek, Tyler R, belinda ridgewood, the Don, qannabbos, sexgenderbody, arizonablue, Victim of Circumstance, Kinak, Glen The Plumber, George3, Marjmar, Melanie in IA, maf1029, Sue B, Captain Chaos, Jonathan Hoag, Chaddiwicker, nomandates, Panacea Paola, Thomasina, glorificus, Tim DeLaney, Setsuna Mudo, gypsytoo, Ree Zen, bwtsang

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site