Keeping Up With the War on Choice and Contraception

By Rachel Walden — February 17, 2012

This past week has been an absolute whirlwind of “What the….?!?” with ongoing attempts by Republicans to push back against women’s access to contraception and choice. If you’re catching up now, here’s some good reading:

At ThinkProgress, Democratic Women Boycott House Contraception Hearing After Republicans Prevent Women From Testifying. Right, who needs women at a hearing about women’s health and access to medications?

The Democrats wanted to have one woman testify about the effects on women of lacking access to contraceptive coverage, but Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa refused to let her. You can view the intended testimony online.

Pelosi got it right when she asked in frustration: “Five men are testifying on women’s health. Where are the women? Imagine having a panel on women’s health and they don’t have any women on the panel. Duh?”

Santorum supporter Foster Friess told Andrea Mitchell that “back in (his) day,” women put an aspirin between their knees and that worked pretty well for contraception — the implication being that women could just keep their legs together (or feign a headache?). He’s since tried to say it was just a bad joke, but I think we know where that sentiment comes from — the insistence that women should not have sex if they don’t want to get pregnant (which also completely ignores the non-contraceptive uses for hormonal birth control).

At Slate, Virginia’s Proposed Ultrasound Law Is an Abomination. That state’s legislature passed a law requiring that women seeking an abortion undergo ultrasound imaging showing the fetal heartbeat and gestational age prior to the abortion. There is no medical purpose — just a shaming one. And since most abortions are done within the first trimester, the information required would necessitate a transvaginal ultrasound in which a condom-covered probe is inserted in the vagina. Thus, Virginia has mandated that women seeking abortions must be forced to have an object inserted in their vaginas for no medical reason.

RH Reality Check also covered this Virginia law, in State-Sanctioned Rape: Trans-Vaginal Ultrasound Laws in Virginia, Texas, and Iowa. I would just change this to “State-Mandated,” because I think it lets the legislature off too easy with “sanctioned” — they are explicitly demanding it. The story has a useful illustration of what it really means to get a transvaginal ultrasound.

Have other links we should read? Leave ’em in the comments.

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