As The Stranger's Traditional Rape Editor and newly-appointed Legislative Rape Editor, it is my duty to tell you that the Republicans in Indiana are hell-bent on mandating transvaginal rape as a way to deter and/or punish women seeking abortions.
This isn't a new concept—states like Virginia, Texas, and North Carolina already have such laws in place—but Indiana Republicans are taking a uniquely villainous approach. You see, a bill recently approved by an Indiana Senate committee would require women obtaining abortion-inducing drugs to undergo not one but two completely unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds:
What makes Indiana really stand out, though, is that this bill, SB 371, would require two ultrasounds—before and after the abortion. The bill would require physicians to "schedule a follow-up appointment" two weeks after RU-486 is administered. But that's not all. Under penalty of criminal and/or civil charges and fines, physicians must "make a reasonable effort to ensure that the pregnant woman returns for the follow-up appointment." And what constitutes a "reasonable effort"? The bill doesn't make that entirely clear, though it specifically mentions "recording in the pregnant woman's medical records the date, and time of the follow-up appointment, a brief description of the efforts by the physician and the physician's staff to ensure the woman's return, and the name of the individual who performed the efforts."
So what happens if a woman doesn't keep her scheduled post-abortion ultrasound appointment? Who decides whether her doctor has made sufficient enough effort to force her? Another doctor goes to jail? Loses his or her medical license? The clinic where the doctor practices is shut down? All because, according to state Sen. Travis Holdman, the bill's author, this will "ensure women's safety."
Transvaginal probes—aka sticking a lubed wand up the vagina to get a clearer picture of reproductive organs—have their medical uses: Identifying ectopic pregnancies and other abnormalities, and in the cases of early-stage abortions, locating the gestational sac.
But the procedure is uncomfortable-to-painful. And in the case of this bill and others proposed (and passed) throughout the country, transvaginal probes are being mandated when they aren't medically necessary as a way to shame, humiliate, and punish women for seeking a legal procedure.
Republicans argue that it's for women's own good. Our own good! Which we're too stupid to judge for ourselves because we're just silly little slut sacks bursting with eggs!
And because, as Daily Kos points out, Republicans know nothing makes women safer than being vaginally probed against their will by doctors whose careers are on the line to ensure those multiple probes are deep and thorough.