Texas’ Forced Trans-Vaginal Sonogram Law Can Be Enforced While Challenged In Court, 5th Circuit Rules

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court Of Appeals is totally down with forcing doctors to tell women needless and harmful lies about consequences of abortion that don’t exist and have not been scientifically proven. They’ve ruled that Texas can enforce its forced trans-vaginal sonogram bill while it’s being challenged in court. (A similar law is being challenged in Oklahoma, but that state has not been allowed to enforce it while it winds its way through the court system.)

From the AP:

Earlier rulings have found that laws requiring doctors to give “truthful, nonmisleading and relevant” information are reasonable regulation, not ideological speech requiring strict scrutiny under the First Amendment,” the appeals court said.

“‘Relevant’ informed consent may entail not only the physical and psychological risks to the expectant mother facing this ‘difficult moral decision,’ but also the state’s legitimate interests in ‘protecting the potential life within her,’” Chief Judge Edith H. Jones wrote in the appeals’ decision.

Because ‘expectant mother’ and ‘protecting the potential life within her,’ are totally not shining examples of ideological speech, of course.

About andrea grimes

Andrea is a journalist living in Austin, TX. She has a master's degree in anthropology and did her thesis work on gender and stand-up comedy. Seriously. Also, she has a bunch of cats. Three of them. Is three a bunch? Discuss.
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12 Responses to Texas’ Forced Trans-Vaginal Sonogram Law Can Be Enforced While Challenged In Court, 5th Circuit Rules

  1. So, let me get this straight (forgive my ignorance). Say, a woman who has been raped & subsequently becomes pregnant seeks a termination. The state can then legally rape her again with medical equipment? Doctors will be forced into becoming state-sponsored-rapists? How are they trying to justify this? It’s the first time I have heard of it anywhere in the world. Are they forcing the women to look at ultrasounds? Again, sorry for the questions, can barely believe what I am reading!

    • In short, yes. They justify it, the same way they have for years, by saying “the Bible says…”

    • J says:

      Regarding rape, here is the cut and paste from the bill:

      “(6) I UNDERSTAND THAT I AM REQUIRED BY LAW TO
      HEAR AN EXPLANATION OF THE SONOGRAM IMAGES UNLESS I
      CERTIFY IN WRITING TO ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
      ___ I AM PREGNANT AS A RESULT OF A SEXUAL ASSAULT,
      INCEST, OR OTHER VIOLATION OF THE TEXAS PENAL CODE THAT
      HAS BEEN REPORTED TO LAW ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES OR
      THAT HAS NOT BEEN REPORTED BECAUSE I REASONABLY
      BELIEVE THAT DOING SO WOULD PUT ME AT RISK OF
      RETALIATION RESULTING IN SERIOUS BODILY INJURY.
      ___ I AM A MINOR AND OBTAINING AN ABORTION IN
      ACCORDANCE WITH JUDICIAL BYPASS PROCEDURES UNDER
      CHAPTER 33, TEXAS FAMILY CODE.
      ___ MY FETUS HAS AN IRREVERSIBLE MEDICAL
      CONDITION OR ABNORMALITY, AS IDENTIFIED BY RELIABLE
      DIAGNOSTIC PROCEDURES AND DOCUMENTED IN MY MEDICAL
      FILE.”

      Regarding “forcing” the woman to look at the ultrasounds, no, they do not. Again, the cut and paste:

      “ABORTION AND SONOGRAM ELECTION
      (1) THE INFORMATION AND PRINTED MATERIALS
      DESCRIBED BY SECTIONS 171.012(a)(1)-(3), TEXAS HEALTH
      AND SAFETY CODE, HAVE BEEN PROVIDED AND EXPLAINED TO
      ME.
      (2) I UNDERSTAND THE NATURE AND CONSEQUENCES OF
      AN ABORTION.
      (3) TEXAS LAW REQUIRES THAT I RECEIVE A SONOGRAM
      PRIOR TO RECEIVING AN ABORTION.
      (4) I UNDERSTAND THAT I HAVE THE OPTION TO VIEW
      THE SONOGRAM IMAGES.
      (5) I UNDERSTAND THAT I HAVE THE OPTION TO HEAR
      THE HEARTBEAT.

      • maiathebeegrrl says:

        I’m not sure if you mis-read the article, or just the comments. While the law has an exception for viewing/description of the sonogram, the trans-vaginal sonogram itself IS forced for ALL (regardless of its lack of medical necessity in most cases). That (the insertion of a medical instrument in a woman’s vagina without her consent, or with her forced “consent”) IS medical rape. The “forced” action being referred to here is the trans-vaginal sonogram itself, not the viewing of it. “Ms. Understand” did ASK about whether viewing was forced, but the primary point being made by him/her and the article is objection to the forced trans-vaginal sonogram. In addition, the only women who get the right to refuse are those willing to certify they are sexual violence survivors, minors, or pregnant with a fetus with a severe complication. How about if I’m just intelligent enough to understand what pregnancy is and don’t want to be subjected to an explanation of unnecessary medical testing?

  2. Thanks for the answers & for clarifying the points. I do, of course, think this is medical rape. How else could you descripe compulsory penetration? I am horrified.

    It isn’t especially relevent to this topic, but I read this story today & it makes me wonder whether humanity is forever doomed to live in the Dark Ages. Will this religious sexual/controlling obsession with female bodies never end?
    http://www.eurotopics.net/en/home/presseschau/archiv/aehnliche/archiv_article/ARTICLE98503-Spanish-bishop-legitimates-rape

  3. I also think it is torture, no less.

  4. Pingback: Meet The Anti-Choice Judge Behind Texas’ Forced Trans-Vaginal Ultrasound Decision | HAY LADIES!

  5. Miss Edee says:

    Hmmm…. Now that the FBI has updated its definition of rape to include insertion of objects…

    Seriously, though, I can tell you this: I had to have three of those done to monitor ovarian cysts. They are torture for those of us who have endured any kind of sexual abuse or assault.

  6. Sweet Marmot says:

    First of all, it’s not necessary to go into the vagina to do a sonogram. Most sonograms are done with a jelly like substance on the stomach, and a thing that picks up a picture being run over the stomach where the jelly like substance was spread. That picks up the picture of the baby just fine. No need to go up the mother’s vagina to get the sonogram. So no, the state is not demanding the woman be “raped.”
    Second of all, when an abortion is done, that’s when instruments are put up inside a woman’s vagina, her tightly closed cervix is forced open (at a time when nature intended it to be tightly closed), and up into the uterus, much deeper than most rapists go. Much more invasive because it goes deeper into the body.
    Third of all, when a woman sees the baby in her womb, she often decides NOT to abort. This is upsetting to the clinic staff because they lose a sale. If this happens with too many women, the clinic can lose a lot of money. No wonder you guys put out lies about sonograms only being done thru the vagina, and thereby raping the woman (while conveniently ignoring the trip up the vagina to get to the baby during the actually abortion process). You really don’t want women to learn anything that might make them refuse to abort.
    Oh, and if you really want to talk about rape; being raped in the past makes a woman a poor candidate for abortion, even if the rape happened decades ago. When the abortionist enters her vagina to get at the baby, it could trigger a traumatic flashback to the rape.
    I doubt this will stay on here. You people don’t like anyone disagreeing with you, or saying anything that makes abortion look less than glorious. But I can’t help but notice that you lied about the sonogram having to go thru the vagina, while ignoring the fact that the abortion tools absolutely have to.

    • browood says:

      “Second of all, when an abortion is done, that’s when instruments are put up inside a woman’s vagina, her tightly closed cervix is forced open (at a time when nature intended it to be tightly closed), and up into the uterus, much deeper than most rapists go. Much more invasive because it goes deeper into the body.”

      Actually, no. You are able to have a medical abortion up to eight weeks into the pregnancy. Here is the link –> http://www.fwhc.org/abortion/medical-ab.htm. Also, when a women is raped and has the inner strength and/or supportive friends/family who push her to notify her rape to the police three days after her rape, she can get the Morning After pill at the hospital.

      “second of all, when an abortion is done, that’s when instruments are put up inside a woman’s vagina, her tightly closed cervix is forced open (at a time when nature intended it to be tightly closed), and up into the uterus, much deeper than most rapists go. Much more invasive because it goes deeper into the body.”

      Secondly, unless you have actually experienced rape firsthand, do not use it as a comparison tool. That’s always a big no no. It’s true that the vacuum aspiration abortion uses a tool that enters the woman’s cervix but during this process she is medicated. I would also pick the “invasiveness” of this procedure than the “invasiveness” of a strangers penis into my vagina against my will. Many people fail to realize that forced sex hurts a lot. Also, the important aspect to take into account as well when a woman obtains an abortion is that it is a matter of CHOICE. A women doesn’t choose to be raped, but she can choose to abort a child or not.

      Now to my last point, the problem with the “Most sonograms are done with a jelly like substance on the stomach, and a thing that picks up a picture being run over the stomach where the jelly like substance was spread.” comment is that this isn’t always the case. These types of sonograms work best at later stages of pregnancy. In earlier pregnancies, (8-10 weeks) they are not as effective while the trans-vaginal ones are. So in order for some women to obtain medical abortions in Texas (which isn’t intrusive), a strange doctor is going to stick a trans-vaginal tool up her vagina (which is very very intrusive) against her will.

      I would write more, but I’m tired of researching the web for facts.

      However,

  7. Sarah says:

    I am really sad to hear this story. I live in the UK, and it is sobering to reflect how many freedoms we take for granted as very basic human rights. The right not to be penetrated at the whim of the state is one such.

  8. Pingback: Freedom for Me but not for Thee « Godless and Southern

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