Vaginal Probes: Possible Instruments Of Republican Governance

Yesterday, Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, signed yet another law that demonstrates how phony are the Republican demands for smaller government. 

Now in Texas women can’t get an abortion until they first undergo a sonogram. For God’s sake people, the government is forcing them to get a sonogram.  And if women don’t want to see the sonogram image or hear the “heartbeat,” their doctor must—that means the use of government force—describe the image, including the size of the embryo or fetus and whether it has organs or limbs.

All over the country, Republicans, who were elected to office promising smaller government and  jobs, jobs, jobs, have been using their large state legislative majorities in conjunction with their governorships to essentially overturn Roe V. Wade through unprecedented intrusions into doctor-patient relationships and through burdensome requirements.

And where is the outrage?  Especially from women, who value not only their reproductive rights, but their right not to be forced to undergo unwanted medical procedures?

To the right is a photo of Texas State Rep. Carol Alvarado, who opposed the law, as she displays a vaginal probe during a floor debate in March over the law Perry signed yesterday.  The vaginal probe, which is used to produce the clearest sonograms in the earlier stages of pregnancy, may now become an instrument of Republican governance.

Think about that.

And if that doesn’t outrage women—as well as men—then apparently nothing will.

The following is a description of the transvaginal procedure, which Texas women seeking or contemplating an abortion may be forced—by Texas Republicans in control of the government—to undergo:

You will lie down on a table with your knees bent and feet in holders called stirrups. The health care provider will place a probe, called a transducer, into the vagina. The probe is covered with a condom and a gel. The probe sends out sound waves, which reflect off body structures. A computer receives these waves and uses them to create a picture. The doctor can immediately see the picture on a nearby TV monitor.


  1. Perhaps we can get the supreme court to declare vaginal probes people which would make the forced use an act of rape. Especially since such a law would in effect amount to government sanctioned rape anyway. The republicans don’t want to take care of unwanted children now, so why do they work so hard to insure that we have more of them to not take care of?


    • hl,

      Your question implies that the Texas law is the result of rational thought, but it is not. The motive for the law is clearly religion, and that is not rational.



      • A lot of what’s coming out of Texas these days finds its way to the national stage. Religion might not be rational but it has clearly become national which is a major concern considering that about 76% of the nation claims to be Christians. Then add to that the fact that about 51% of Americans are pro-life, we find Texan Policies spilling over its borders. Then consider the Texas Textbook controversy.

        “As the leading buyer of textbooks, these decisions will prove to have a reach which spreads much further than just Texas schools, affecting students across the country.”

        It would be foolish for the left to turn their backs on the machinations of Texas republicans’. Entire forests can become cinders with a single match.


    • HLG,

      Nice one. And I don’t have an answer to your question, which, as Jim points out, is probably not possible to produce, since opposition to abortion rights is most clearly rooted in fundamentalist religious beliefs, albeit there are such things as anti-choice atheists out there.

      I do wonder how soon the case will be challenged in federal court. It seems to be to me clearly unconstitutional to force women to undergo a separate medical procedure in order to obtain a legal abortion, especially when that medical procedure is designed in this case to be used as a propaganda tool.

      I also find it odd that Republicans don’t want the government to force you to purchase health insurance but they don’t mind forcing women to get sonograms or doctors to say certain–and controversial–things to their patients.



  2. Angelfire

     /  May 21, 2011

    It’s Texas. They’re freaks.


  3. The repubicans have been voyeurizin’ since time immemorial. Also, they’re sure that only men are supposed to enjoy sex.

    My teeth hurt.

    And the next time Rick Perry talks about seceeding from the union, let’s do all we can to encourage that thought.


    • I’m with you. Have you ever been to West Texas? That part of the country has already seceded from civilization.



  4. I have always held the belief that the religious right is not really pro-life, they’re just anti-women. Gov. Perry fast-tracked this bill as an “emergency” measure. I guess there were too many Texas women running around out there who needed to be probed. Next thing you know, they’ll be attaching electrodes to them like in Abu Ghraib prison. The Texas Legislature meets every two years for 140 days. They should do us all a favor and meet every 140 years for two days.


    • Texas, I’ve never doubted it’s all about putting those uppity girls back in their place. Even the anti abortion movement, allowing that there are legions of ground troops for whom it’s a valid moral issue, is promoted and financed by powerful MEN who just don’t like thieir women giving them any lip.


      • Moe,

        You hit on a point that always strikes me as strange. The most adamant anti-choicers I have met have been men, for the most part. And when I was one of them I, too, was that way. Perhaps, as you suggest, there is something to the idea that it is a male-dominance issue.



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