OKAY, so, far be it from me to fart in the crowded elevator of delirious triumphalism rising amidst a temporary 5% reduction in the level of anti-abortion insanity in this country, but someone really should point out how defenders of reproductive freedom lost this battle four decades ago, how they continue to lose it today, and that celebrating small victories only makes sense if you're a ragtag band of insurgents or a hapless sports franchise.
So when the measure came up for a vote in the Senate on Jan. 31, Barker and Northam raised the issue during the floor debate — but delicately. They used the words “transvaginal” and “internal.” But they didn’t use startling terms such as “vaginal penetration” and “state-sponsored rape,” which eventually came to dominate the debate.
Mindful of the teenage Senate pages sitting in the chamber, Barker said, they wanted to be sensitive with their language….
On the Senate floor, Howell had not been explicit about the intrusive nature of the ultrasound. “I thought I was being brave by saying ‘digital rectal,’ ” she said.
But Howell came to understand that some of her Senate colleagues failed to grasp how much the type of ultrasound in question was like the probing she’d proposed for men.
“I don’t think they understood what kind of ultrasound they were talking about,” she said. “I think they thought it was a mini-massage and not something approaching rape. People are squeamish about using words like ‘vagina,’ but in this case, it was necessary for people to understand how invasive this bill is.”
What's the forced medical-fetishist invasion of thousands of Virgina vaginas when the delicate ears of some teenaged pages are at stake?
Th' fuck? How many times did wingnut Congressmen read "What Homosexuals Do" into the public record? (I grant you that many of them were a lot better informed about the average teenaged page's sexual sensitivities than you folks seem to be.)
When have the anti-rights crusaders shown the slightest inclination to reticence? When has a concern for tender young feelings stopped them?
This began forty years ago; it began when the same side which had fought for the only reasonable solution to the question--that reproductive health is a matter for the individual to decide, not for the Law--became deferential to the "ethical" concerns of others, shrank from criticizing the Catholic hierarchy, and allowed monstrous assaults on the English language such as "Right to Life" and "unborn child" to be perpetrated without push-back. ("Choice", children, entered the game quite late.) We are suffering Fools these days because the line was not drawn clearly then, because the extremism of self-appointed spokesmen--emphasis on the "men"--for dead Bronze Age carpenters was never pointed out, because there was a complacency about Constitutional law trumping the screaming mania of licensed beggars and tax-free pederasts everywhere.
It didn't work, it doesn't work today, yet the side with right on its side remains defensive. Chaste depictions of a device the size of a souvenir ball bat about to be shoved into some terrified rape victim is, somehow, all it takes to get people to notice what's what? Horseshit. That proposed Virginia law was hardly the first of its kind. I hope it's more a (puzzling) medical unfamiliarity than a lexical squeamishness that's kept this objection out of the public eye before now. "Partial Birth Abortion" laws rape women as surely as some electric womb bat. Running every clinic out of the Dakotas is just another version of forced penetration. Foxing the Catholic Church on contraceptive health care is a lot less impressive to me than telling the Catholic Church to tend to its own flock and leave governance to the government would be. I'm less concerned about Komen being forced to apologize than I am about why it felt booting Planned Parenthood was a good PR move in the first place. There is no goddam sense for this argument to have devolved to Cute Baby Ducks and Adorable Puppies vs. Evil Moneymaking Abortionplexes and Commielesbian Planned Parenthood. There's no reason on earth why it took until 2012 for people to realize that that real anti-abortion agenda is the anti-sex, anti-contraceptive, anti-human stance of Rick Santorum, not the faux-reasonableness of Bill Saletan.
But what should be understood, now, is that the years when the defenders of reproductive rights felt inclined to do so with a face of public reluctance have given its opponents free rein. And that that needs to be corrected, not outmaneuvered, if they're ever to go back to lecturing the like-minded, not shoving things into every woman from menarche to menopause.