The Personification of a Fetus [Blog Assignment #1]

Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood makes a compelling point concerning the GOP’s staunch War on Women when she illuminates the fact that, traditionally, the GOP does not support government involvement in the personal lives of US citizens–so why this sudden interest in women’s bodies? The GOP seems to be on a “moral” crusade of epicly disastrous proportions concerning abortion and their assertion of the “sanctity of human life.”

At the end of 2011, there were 1,100 abortion reproductive health and rights provisions, an increase from 950 in 2010. One of these provisions was the requirement of ultrasounds. As of August 1st, 2012, there are 21 states that regulate ultrasounds from abortion providers. More recently, Paul Ryan has cosponsored a bill that will “ensure that women seeking an abortion receive an ultrasound and the opportunity to review the ultrasound before giving informed consent to receive an abortion.”

From Guttmacher.Org

The principle of ensuring that women receive an ultrasound before an abortion is a severe and gross invasion of privacy, especially in the case of transvaginal ultrasounds.  The state is, firstly, emotionally manipulating a woman to see an image of a fetus in hopes of convincing the woman to change her mind and bring the fetus to full term (psychological complications are highly prevalent in relation to abortion). Ultrasounds are also expensive. If emotional damage doesn’t work, then financial damage certainly will!  Then, when the woman does not wish to have an ultrasound, whether she has been a victim of rape or has just decided she does not feel ready to care for a child, the state inserts itself inside the woman’s body.

“You just have to close your eyes.” -Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett

Thanks, Mr. Corbett. It’s good to know women still have control of their eye functions!

Forced ultrasounds before abortions is a singular problem in a boundless sea of anti-abortion provisions (which I find is a perfect way of illustrating the”governmentality” of society). Ehrenreich & English, in For Her Own Good, shows how, in the early 1900s, mostly male doctors insisted they had superior knowledge of obstetrics than midwives did when it was very much the opposite.  The doctors effectively removed the presence of women (midwives and patients alike), relegating all women to “employees, customers, or [simply] ‘material” in the medical system. The case of forced ultrasounds reduces women to “material” as well, because it is a patronizing notion. Women are fully aware of their decisions to have an abortion and there is no medical benefit  (which has been proven through extensive research) to the ultrasound. It is cruel and unnecessary.

There have been riots against forced ultrasounds and various online petitions against the practice. There has also been a labeling of forced ultrasounds as a “sex-crime.” In Febuary of 2012, Democrats spoke out against transvaginal ultrasounds by deeming it as object sexual penetration (OSP), which in a crime that results in five years of jail.

There will undoubtedly be more anti-abortion provisions in the future and society needs to understand that a woman’s body is not theirs to govern. Women are not material, and women can make their own decisions as they see fit.

EXTRA: Jon Stewart – “Punanny State – Virginia’s Transvaginal Ultrasound Bill.”


2 thoughts on “The Personification of a Fetus [Blog Assignment #1]

  1. vivma92 says:

    You bring into light a very interesting and increasingly popular topic, Sarah. I remember reading about all the different way abortions have been tried to be prevented by the state in a NY Times article and was surprised at the manipulation of the whole process.

    However, just to play devil’s advocate, do you think women who seek to have an abortion should be explained to the procedure and possible consequences, including possible psychological ones, from receiving an abortion? In other words, should the medical care community try to explain, at all, other solutions than abortions? Or should the medical care community practice laissez faire and just do as they are asked by the patient?

    • shatoum says:


      Thanks for your comment and question!

      I think that women who decide to have abortions know precisely what they are getting into. If they have even thought of having an abortion, then there is obviously some powerful issue that has pushed them to even /think/ of having the procedure.

      I mostly think the professional medical community should only give their guidance if asked. It is difficult to trust the professionals when all of these ridiculous state and prospective federal anti-abortion provisions are floating around. I know they are just doing their jobs, but they should serve their patient, not the state or the government. If women seeking abortions still have questions, I think they should speak to women who have experienced the procedure firsthand. That is the best guidance they could possibly get.

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