Getting a vaginal ultrasound is not a pleasant experience. They are invasive, scary and down right demeaning. They are necessary to diagnose multiple health problems. Doctors can't force a female patient to have one...well, until now in Oklahoma.
If reading about an invasive diagnostic medical procedure, that involves a vagina, makes you woozy, then skip this diary.
If you've never had a vaginal ultrasound and want to know more about them, read on. Or, if you are on the fence about the recent Oklahoma law that requires mandatory vaginal ultrasounds for women seeking abortions, read on.
This is what happens when a vaginal ultrasound is done with consent from the patient.
It all starts in the dressing room. The woman has to strip down and put on a hospital gown. She then lays down on a medical table in a dark room next to the technicians monitor. The technician is more than likely someone you don't know. It could be a male or a female. Every vaginal ultrasound I've ever had has been done by a male tech.
They explain what they are going to do. They show you the metal and plastic probe. It is long and attached to the machine next to the bed.
The patient is told to bend her knees. The tech puts a condom on the end of the probe, covered with lubricant, and then asks the patient to insert it into her vagina.
The probe is cold, hard and covered with latex. It is long.
The technician starts the procedure and moves the probe around inside the vagina. The probe goes from one side to the other and in circles.
After the procedure is done the patient has to wipe herself off.
It is humiliating.
What will happen when these ultrasounds are done without the consent of the patient?
Will the doctor and his/her staff have to hold the patient down before they insert the probe?
Will they have to pry her thighs apart before they insert the probe?
Will they be under such duress that they forget about talking the patient through it?
Let's look at the Oklahoma Rape Statute.
- Rape defined
A. Rape is an act of sexual intercourse involving vaginal or anal penetration accomplished with a male or female who is not the spouse of the perpetrator and who may be of the same or the opposite sex as the perpetrator under any of the following circumstances:
- Where the victim is under sixteen (16) years of age;
- Where the victim is incapable through mental illness or any other unsoundness of mind, whether temporary or permanent, of giving legal consent;
- Where force or violence is used or threatened, accompanied by apparent power of execution to the victim or to another person;
- Where the victim is intoxicated by a narcotic or anesthetic agent, administered by or with the privity of the accused as a means of forcing the victim to submit;
- Where the victim is at the time unconscious of the nature of the act and this fact is known to the accused;
- Where the victim submits to sexual intercourse under the belief that the person committing the act is a spouse, and this belief is induced by artifice, pretense, or concealment practiced by the accused or by the accused in collusion with the spouse with intent to induce that belief. In all cases of collusion between the accused and the spouse to accomplish such act, both the spouse and the accused, upon conviction, shall be deemed guilty of rape;
- Where the victim is under the legal custody or supervision of a state agency, a federal agency, a county, a municipality or a political subdivision and engages in sexual intercourse with a state, federal, county, municipal or political subdivision employee or an employee of a contractor of the state, the federal government, a county, a municipality or a political subdivision that exercises authority over the victim; or
- Where the victim is at least sixteen (16) years of age and is less than twenty (20) years of age and is a student, or under the legal custody or supervision of any public or private elementary or secondary school, junior high or high school, or public vocational school, and engages in sexual intercourse with a person who is eighteen (18) years of age or older and is an employee of the same school system.
B. Rape is an act of sexual intercourse accomplished with a male or female who is the spouse of the perpetrator if force or violence is used or threatened, accompanied by apparent power of execution to the victim or to another person.
A vaginal ultrasound is done via vaginal penetration.
The women seeking an abortion may not be giving consent to the vaginal penetration.
Force is being used. And, depending on the woman's perception, this could be construed as a violent act.
Forcing a female child or woman who is mentally incapacitated to have this procedure violates the statute.
Forcing a female child or woman who has been raped to undergo this procedure violates the statute.
Forcing any female child or woman to open her legs and thighs to insert a probe into her vagina, against her will, is nothing less than rape.
And it is now legal in Oklahoma.