The Inconsistency of the Left and Required Virginia Ultrasounds

Okay, to be fair, I think this goes both way in American politics.  I’ve always said that everyone is a fiscal conservative until it is “their cause” that gets defunded, and everyone is a fiscal liberal until it is “their tax rate” that gets increased.

Nevertheless, some things ooze such inconsistency that it is almost laughable.  As many are aware, the Virginia state legislature recent passed a bill that requires a woman to have an ultrasound before they may have an abortion.  As you can imagine, the pro-abortion constituency is out in full force over such a perceived “injustice.”  Now, call me crazy, but it seems that such a requirement should at least implicitly be considered under “informed consent.”  And besides, if those on the pro-abortion side are so sure that the fetus growing inside the womb is really just a mass of tissue, then there should be nothing to worry about, right?  Let us not be fooled here – the objection to the ultrasound has nothing to do with the requirement itself – it has much more to do with the fear that this just may actually convince more women that the baby growing inside them actually is a life.

At any rate, an article appeared on Slate.com by Dahlia Lithwick last Thursday that would have had me falling off the couch in hysterics had it not been meant to be actually taken seriously.  It was a great example of how the line between laughter and tears is often fine indeed when reading liberal commentaries.

The first laughable/cry-able moment came when the author implied … no wait, she flat out said it … that such a requirement constitutes an act of rape:

[This] means most women will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure … the law provides that women seeking an abortion in Virginia will be forcibly penetrated for no medical reason. I am not the first person to note that under any other set of facts, that would constitute rape under state law.

Okay, now let’s first note that no-one is forcing any woman to have such an ultra sound; the law merely provides such an action as a pre-requisite for the abortion procedure.  Any woman could alway opt not to have the abortion, and consequently be spare the “violation” of the ultrasound.  The logic here is intellectually dishonest at best, and manipulative at worst.  Under the same logic, we could object to any medical pre-requisite.  Besides, and I am happy to be correct on this, in the event that the individual decides to proceed with the abortion, is not penetration inevitable?  In fact, one could argue that the ultrasound is not a separate procedure but rather the first step in the abortion.

The argument continued,

Evidently the right of conscience for doctors who oppose abortion are a matter of grave national concern. The ethical and professional obligations of physicians who would merely like to perform their jobs without physically violating their own patients are, however, immaterial.

So here we have it … the left refuses to admit that the recent HHS mandate is a violation of conscience for individual business owners and religious organizations, they often even want to eliminate a Catholic hospital’s right to refuse abortion services based on conscientious objections, but now all of a sudden conscience should be a part of the conversation.

Lithwick goes on,

Next month the U.S. Supreme Court will hear argument about the obscene government overreach that is the individual mandate in President Obama’s health care law. Yet physical intrusion by government into the [body] of a pregnant woman is so urgently needed that the woman herself should be forced to pay for the privilege.

Another inconsistency: the Virginia law is a clear overreach of government by requiring an individual to pay to a procedure to which they conscientiously object, yet the ability of the Catholic Church to opt out of paying for practices that they find morally incompatible with its faith is just plain silly.  Am I understanding this right?

Finally,

You can shame and violate women, while couching it in the language of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s gift that keeps on giving—his opinion in Gonzales v. Carhart. That opinion upheld Congress’ partial-birth abortion ban on the grounds that (although there was no real evidence to support this assumption) some women who have abortions will suffer “severe depression” and “regrets” if they aren’t made to understand the implications of what they have done.

And at the end of the article,

Abortion is still legal in America. Physically invading a woman’s body against her will still isn’t. Let’s not casually pass laws that upend both principles in the name of helping women make better choices.

So, as is commonly stated, nationally legalized abortion is the “law of the land,” so while it is okay for you to personally object to the practice, please don’t try to push that belief on others.  However, even thought the same Court has made the ability of the States to prevent partial-birth abortion the “law of the land” … well, in that case they were just plain wrong.

So which is it, my dear leftist friends?  Is conscientious objection important or isn’t it?  Should individuals be required to pay for procedures they find objectionable or shouldn’t they?  Does the “law of the land” matter or doesn’t it?  It seems to me that the answer depends greatly on the ideology at hand, which in this case is the perceived “right” to abortion on demand.  In other words, we must accept a priori the right to abortion, and then we use any and all arguments available to defend that decision, even if it means speaking out of both side of the mouth at times.

Now, in fairness, it could be asked whether the political right is being just as inconsistent in all three arguments.  Whether this is true or not I leave up to political commentators.  For my own part, I submit that the Catholic position has no such inconsistencies, and here is why.  First, we don’t ground our positions in the law of the land or conscience seen as an unfettered freedom to relieve one’s self from any and all acts.  Rather, we ground our positions in natural law and conscience seen as the freedom to pursue truth and goodness.  Forcing a doctor to perform an abortion is a clear violation of his or her right to act in a way consistent with a belief system.  The act itself is the violation – the Catholic finds the act objectively immoral.  It is not that a Catholic doctor wants to perform abortions in some cases and not in others, it is that he or she never wants to perform them. In requiring an ultrasound for a woman seeking abortions, what act is being found objectively immoral?  Correct me if I am wrong, but an ultrasound, whether external or internal, is a perfectly acceptable medical procedure by both the left and the right.

Second, from a Catholic position, the natural law it the governing principle, not the “law of the land.”  Natural law, inscribed on everyone’s heart, deeply suggests that the taking of a life is intrinsically immoral.  Science has shown over and over again that the “mass of tissue” in the womb of a mother is a life.  Even rudimentary philosophy says that it is a human life.  But returning to the matter of conscience, if we understand that freedom of conscience does not give an individual the right to abstain from any and all acts (for instance, it does not give and individual the ability to refrain from stopping a violent crime taking place before him), then we can see that freedom of conscience does have limits.  The question for the left is: in what do you ground the limits of freedom of conscience?  For Catholics, the answer is clear: natural law.  Therefore, it is a violation of conscience to require the taking of this life.  Yet in supporting the required ultrasound, rather than seeing it as violating conscience, we understand in the greater context of the right to life.

Third, if freedom of conscience is at the service of pursuing truth, then how does giving the doctor and patient more information violate this process?  In other words, if a doctor has the “right” to eliminate the ultrasound from this procedure, the same logic could be used to dismiss all informed consent laws form the books.

Finally, it is always amusing to hear the left decry government regulation in cases such as this.  Somehow the government not only has the right, but the duty, to regulate Wall Street and the Health Care industry in a way that destroys any rational notion of subsidiarity and was never envisioned by the founding fathers, yet when it comes to a required ultrasound before an abortion … well, clearly that is a government overreach.

16 Responses to The Inconsistency of the Left and Required Virginia Ultrasounds

  • So let’s see if I understand this. The godless liberal left says that a woman’s body must not be violated for an ultrasound prior to having an abortion, but her body may be so violated for that abortion. The left says a doctor may not be required to violate his conscience to perform said ultrasound, but he may be required to violate his conscience to perform said abortion.

    These people have go to be stopped.

  • Mary De Voe says:

    I have always thought that rape in the legal sense was the passing of the human seed and forcing the woman to bear the man’s child without her informed consent. Invasion of privacy is all the rest. A woman seeking an abortion has already consented to the invasion of privacy as you have said. Thank you, Jake Tawney, for the visible window into the hearts of the right and the left.

  • Meli says:

    I have had many ultrasounds – none of them was invasive. Everything takes place outside the woman’s body. I don’t know what Ms. Lithwick is talking about, but I don’t think it’s an ultrasound!

  • Jake Tawney says:

    There are two kinds of ultrasounds, and most pregnant couples experience the external kind. From my limited understanding, however, if the baby is too small and they are concerned about finding a heart beat, doctors will perform an internal ultrasound. I am, however, not an expert on this, so I cannot make claims to the original article about whether or not an internal one would be required under the Virginia State law. Maybe someone with a medical background can weigh in here.

  • Mary De Voe says:

    I also thought that penetrating a woman’s body and not passing the human seed was legally called assault and battery. What is important here is that no person can consent to a crime. NO PERSON CAN CONSENT TO A CRIME without becoming a criminal, whether it is assault and battery on himself or another person. Crime is against the law. The monstrosity going on in homosexual public displays in San Francisco are a horrendous example. A woman’s right to choose cannot include assault and battery on herself. Assault and battery on oneself in not a constitutionally protected freedom.

  • T. Shaw says:

    I’m watching the end of an episode of “Finding Bigfoot” on Animal Planet HD. Next up is a documentary on the Obama presidency, “Rattlesnake Republic.”

    All that is edifying compared to liberal tripe bombarding us 24/7.

  • Jenny says:

    I’m not a medical expert, but transvaginal ultrasound is generally done in the first trimester while the baby is quite small. I’ve had them with all my children to find the heartbeat and establish dates. The doctor likes them because the earlier you can measure the baby, the more accurate the pregnancy dates are. As the pregnancy continues, genetics play a larger role in the size of the baby. I did not have them for any particular reason and I knew my dates exactly, so I get the impression that they are standard procedure in these parts.

  • Sarah Kline says:

    The blatant misrepresentation of facts in this article is abhorrent. Does Jake Tawney not remember the 9th commandment?! “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.”

    I am as much against abortions and would hope that we are all working to reduce/eliminate them, but the “facts” offered up in this article are no better than propoganda.

    First, “Okay, now let’s first note that no-one is forcing any woman to have such an ultra sound; the law merely provides such an action as a pre-requisite for the abortion procedure. Any woman could alway opt not to have the abortion, and consequently be spare the “violation” of the ultrasound. The logic here is intellectually dishonest at best, and manipulative at worst. Under the same logic, we could object to any medical pre-requisite. Besides, and I am happy to be correct on this, in the event that the individual decides to proceed with the abortion, is not penetration inevitable? In fact, one could argue that the ultrasound is not a separate procedure but rather the first step in the abortion.”

    FACTS: Abortion does not make penetration inevitable … in fact, many abortions are performed via the abortion pill, in which there is no penetration. One could not “argue” that this was the first step in a medical procedure, unless one was a doctor. And as far as I understand, the Virginia legislature is not! Further, just because penetration might be inevitable, does not all of a sudden make sanctioned rape acceptable. Shall we then go a step further and say that if a woman is going to have an abortion, it is no longer a crime to rape her, because, after all, “penetration is inevitable” … THIS IS ABSURD!

    Next: “Another inconsistency: the Virginia law is a clear overreach of government by requiring an individual to pay to a procedure to which they conscientiously object, yet the ability of the Catholic Church to opt out of paying for practices that they find morally incompatible with its faith is just plain silly. Am I understanding this right?”

    FACTS: You are not understanding this right; the Catholic Church has never been mandated with paying for practices they find morally incompatible. However, they must provide health insurance to their employees, just like anyone else. They do not have to pay for that insurance (and when has providing insurance ever meant that they employer is paying for medical procedures? that is a plainly absurd jump in logic).

    “It is not that a Catholic doctor wants to perform abortions in some cases and not in others, it is that he or she never wants to perform them.”

    FACTS: There is no Catholic doctor anywhere who has ever been forced into performing an abortion. EVER. It is absolutely absurd to suggest that somehow our government is forcing doctors to do medical procedures they don’t want (I guess unless you are Virginia lawmakers). It is no business of anyone other than doctors and the medical industry to dictate which procedures they do and do not do.

    ” Therefore, it is a violation of conscience to require the taking of this life.”

    FACTS: There is absolutely no requirement anywhere, ever, suggested by anyone, that abortion should be required. In fact, that kind of thing happens in China, and will not happen here. To get people fired up by suggesting this is true is an agregious sin, the likes of which would have you banned from some churches. For SHAME!

  • Jake Tawney says:

    I sometimes wonder if these things are worth responding to, but then I always have trouble stopping myself.

    If you read correctly, I admitted that I was “happy to be corrected” on the inevitability on penetration in an abortion. I remain so, and if it true that most early term abortions are done by pill, then I stand corrected as I said I would. Regarding the insistence that this act constitutes rape, I can only ask that you re-read the original argument. No woman under the Virginia law is forced to have an ultrasound – only a woman who wants to go through with an abortion. It is now a medical pre-requisite for the abortion procedure. Medicine has all sorts of prerequisites for all sorts of procedures. What people seem to be upset about in this case is that it is not a doctor, but the legislature requiring it. Now, one could argue that the legislature does not have the medical expertise to make this call. But with all due respect, a medical profession that advocates for the right to kill a child has, at least in my mind, lost the right to make the call itself. And rest assured, in this particular case, we are dealing specifically with doctors who do in fact support such killing. To say that they have more of a right to make the call on a required procedure is like saying that a dishonest cheat has more or a right to make a call on business decisions just because he has a business background. Quite the contrary – he actually has less of a right to do so.

    Regarding FACT (2), you are highly mistaken. Under the HHS rule, Catholic employers are required to pay for contraception. First, a Catholic employer who is not a hospital or university does not fall anywhere in the “rule.” Thus, he/she must under penalty of law provide insurance that covers contraception. How is that not being required to purchase something that violates his/her conscience? Yet even for those religious organizations (churches, hospitals, etc.) that do fall under the “accommodation”, it is merely a shell game. They are still being required to purchase insurance plans, and the insurers are required to place coverage to contraception in there somehow. Unless you think that the insurance companies will simply eat this cost pro bono, it will in fact be the Catholic organizations that eventually foot the bill. But while we’re on this, why has it all of a sudden become normal to assume that everyone has the “right” to have an employer that provides medical coverage? What if an employer wants to substantially raise the salaries of his employees and then them decided for themselves if they want to purchase coverage? Where in the constitution does it say that people have a right to have their employer pay for medical insurance?

    Regarding Facts (3) and (4), and the SHAME that was leveled against me, take note that I never insinuated that this is currently a requirement. However, to not see that the left is pushing for this is simply not to be informed. There have been numerous suggestions by Democratic politicians and leftist writers that a hospital should be required to provide abortion services, and that doctors should not be able to refuse these services to individuals. I never said that this was a current requirement, but if we are not careful and if we tread lightly through issues like the HHS mandate, I assure you that we will find ourselves there sooner rather than later.

  • Foxfier says:

    I’ll echo Jenny, there are ultrasounds that are done with penetration– as she said, to establish fetal age or similar reasons. I had a c-section, and the doctor I went to first thought I was an idiot who couldn’t count*, so I had to have one for Duchess. I get the impression they’re very common in areas with high rates of lawsuits against doctors.

    After the first trimester, though, it’s much easier and cheaper to use the external one– heck, from memory both of my girls’ hearts were easily audible with the handheld thing they use during the monthly checkups.

    *(I didn’t go in for medical attention until I was three months along, although I knew to the day when Duchess was implanted– thus, he thought I was only one month along; in his defense, he serves mostly Catholic women, yet in 25 years had never heard of someone having a religious objection to being sterilized.)

    There is no Catholic doctor anywhere who has ever been forced into performing an abortion. EVER.

    The proper response to this claim is not allowed in this arena; I will steal Baxter Black’s, instead, and say: bull feces.
    Anyone that is irrational enough to make an expansive claim like this, in a world where the Chinese One Child policy exists, is too ignorant to warrant much of a response.
    As for your “nobody, anywhere wants to require abortion” statement…. Just a few winters back, there was a hospital that claimed to be Catholic yet performed an abortion, and there was a landslide of support for forcing the hospitals to allow them; I can remember various state-level requirements being considered for any hospital that offers maternity to also offer murder of the same children. Rather famously, a Nun went before the legislature (New York?) and informed them that, should such a law be passed, the hospital would be gone.

    In my own state, they’re cooking up a bill that will require that I pay for abortion coverage (for myself and my daughters, since they can be on our insurance until they’re past peak fertility) if we want maternity coverage.

    Oh, but that is somehow OK– forced to pay for it, but don’t worry, you won’t be forced to use it. (Unless you happen to be a gal that’s been declared mentally ill, and a judge orders it and it doesn’t make national news.)

    Kinda odd, Sarah Kline, how you focus on abortion rather than going into forced sterilization. Maybe you do enough about the history to know it went on into the 80s, and are avoiding a losing fight….

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