Virginia hates women. And doctors. And modernity.

Virginia hates women. And doctors. And modernity. February 17, 2012

Go read Dahlia Lithwick, “Virginia’s Proposed Ultrasound Law Is an Abomination“:

This week, the Virginia state Legislature passed a bill that would require women to have an ultrasound before they may have an abortion. Because the great majority of abortions occur during the first 12 weeks, that means most women will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure, in which a probe is inserted into the vagina, and then moved around until an ultrasound image is produced. Since a proposed amendment to the bill—a provision that would have had the patient consent to this bodily intrusion or allowed the physician to opt not to do the vaginal ultrasound—failed on 64-34 vote, 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.

… The physician is being commandeered by the state to perform a medically unnecessary procedure upon a woman, despite clear ethical directives to the contrary. (There is no evidence at all that the ultrasound is a medical necessity, and nobody attempted to defend it on those grounds.) As an editorial in the Virginian-Pilot put it recently, “Under any other circumstances, forcing an unwilling person to submit to a vaginal probing would be a violation beyond imagining. Requiring a doctor to commit such an act, especially when medically unnecessary, and to submit to an arbitrary waiting period, is to demand an abrogation of medical ethics, if not common decency.”

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. Don’t even bother asking whether this law would have passed had it involved physically penetrating a man instead of a woman without consent.

Go read the whole thing.

Virginia is to women what Alabama is to undocumented workers.

Right now, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, James Madison, Richmond, Old Dominion, George Mason, George Washington and dozens of other colleges and universities in the commonwealth are mailing letters to high school students all over the country. They needn’t have bothered sending half of those. Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and the Republicans of the General Assembly just made it clear that all female students should look elsewhere. The state has demonstrated its contempt for their dignity, safety and humanity.

See also:

(That last link is about Riyadh, not Richmond, but it’s getting harder to tell the difference.)



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  • Anonymous

    Talk about biblical ignorance…. There is not enough space to correct your terrible theology.

    There’s plenty of space. You just don’t want to admit that you can’t actually subscribe to a biblical view of abortion without at least acknowledging that the Bible has nothing against abortion.

  • If GOd knows us before conception, then he *knows which ones* (about a third) will naturally miscarry. He knows which ones will die in utero of massive genetic defects. He knows which ones will be aborted.

    He knows. You don’t. Your choices, based on what the bible says, is that life begins *BEFORE CONCEPTION* or that it begins at quickening. Nothing in the bible mentions conception. You are a liar for saying otherwise.

  • Anonymous

    When two men scuffle and deal a blow to a pregnant woman, so that her children abort-forth, but other harm does not occur, he is to be fined, yes, fined, as the woman’s spouse imposes for him, but he is to give it only according to the assessment. (Exodus 21:22, Everett Fox translation)

    Cause an abortion, the Bible says, and the worst you get is a fine, and that only if the presumed babydaddy thinks you should be fined. Explain that away.

  • You still haven’t explained how the position literally spelled out there in the text of the bible is so radically opposite of the position you insist is biblical. 

  • Anonymous

    someone who chooses to act sexually irresponsible

    So it’s all right to have an abortion if you’re sexually responsible, that is, already on the Pill or if the condom broke? Good to know.

    The verse is saying, abortion without the woman’s [husband’s] consent is illegal, but not nearly so bad it deserves the punishment being worse than a mere fine. The Bible says not a single word about abortion with the woman’s consent, which, since so much of the Bible is concerned with thou-shalt-nots, tells me that abortion with the woman’s consent is not a thou-shalt-not.

    Also, if I believed God exists, which I don’t, I’d be a hell of a lot more concerned with God asking me ‘Why didn’t you protect the least of these?’ if I were anti-keeping-abortion-legal instead of pro-. She’d be talking about the women.

  • I’m seeing the text that is actually there, which is inconvenient for you I know.  The text I see says that inducing a miscarriage without the mother’s consent is a crime, but not nearly so severe a crime as murder. A crime where the father is empowered to literally *waive* any punishment.

    The text I see says nothing about life beginning at conception. It says nothing about *conception*.  But it does make it 100% explciitly clear that inducing a miscarriage is *NOT MURDER* if the fetus is not “perfectly formed”.

    The disconnect here is that I’m seeing the words that are actually there. Not the words you really want to be there.

  • Wednesday

    Frank, all you have to do to refute me is to cite chapter and verse. I gave you many examples, which I would be happy to provide citations for (some people have already started to — thanks, Ross!). You’re the one who brought the bible into this, though, so the burden of proof is on you.

    And that Psalm you finally cited is about God _knowing_ people before they existed.  If he’s omniscient, that’s not really a surprise, and there’s no reason
    to infer from that that God takes any position on abortion.  It’s not a prohibition of anything, and the speaker isn’t even God, it’s someone praising how amazing God is.

     And if God knowing people before they are even conceived is your evidence that he opposes humans killing fetues, why would he require the slaughter of fetuses by his chosen people in a war? Didn’t he already know all of those fetuses before they were conceived? And why would he require that pregnant women suspected of adultery drink a potion that will kill the embryo or fetus if they are guilty? That’s not just God chosing to do things himself (which you say he can do and that’s totes different from what we can do), he’s requiring humans to get involved.

    Back in the days of the OT, God took the time to forbid a lot of things, from eating pork and shellfish to weaving clothes out of mixed fibers. If abortion really is murder, why didn’t he include that when he defined murder?

    Cite me a chapter and verse that makes it clear that God prohibits humans from terminating pregnancies (or at least from terminating pregnancies when he’s not demanding them to). Honestly, it can’t be that hard, of abortion really is against the bible.

    (PS. It’s cute how you accuse me of playing God, without even knowing my sex or, assuming I’m female, whether I’ve had an abortion, or would ever choose to have an abortion. Heck, you don’t even know whether I think abortion is morally wrong to any degree — just that I know the bible says zilch on the subject.)

  • Tricksterson

    Where does it say that?  Give actual book, chapter and verse please?

  • Matri

    Nothing to explain away. God said this.

    Standard Christianist response when they just realized that their Bible actually says the opposite of their position

  • cyllan

    Not that this isn’t a fascinating discussion, but it doesn’t really matter what the Bible says about abortion one way or another.  Despite a number of attempts to rewrite history, the law of the United States is based upon an entirely different set of documents. Other nations have different documents, but I am not aware of any that specifically point to the Christian Bible as a legal text.

    If a Christian believes she should not get an abortion because it violates the tenants of her religion, then she is free to not get an abortion.  My religion fairly firmly supports the right of a woman to terminate her pregnancy should she feel that it is in her best interests.   Neither of these two positions are relevant to the legality of abortion.

  • cyllan

    Also, I am in the middle of cooking two very tasty stews, and I successfully made homemade guacamole this afternoon.  I would offer to share the guacamole for it was very very good, but the cyllan-spouse and cyllan-child ate it all.

  • Consumer Unit 5012


    Are you saying that this verse gives you permission to kill an unborn human?

    Of course not.  That would be Psalms 137:9.

    Oh, wait, whoops.  That only gives permission to kill BORN babies, not fetuses.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Incidentally, this is why I don’t respect some libertarians. Some of them will swear up and down that being forced to file the 1040 every year is the worst slavery imaginable, but when something like this rolls around, you don’t hear a peep from them.

    We’ve got some here. Shall we hear from them about Ron Paul’s strong stance against this?

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Hey Frank, can I have your coat?

  • … The physician is being commandeered by the state to perform a
    medically unnecessary procedure upon a woman, despite clear ethical
    directives to the contrary.

    What, exactly, would stop a doctor from simply claiming he or she did the procedure when in fact no such thing occurred, because said doctor does not believe in intruding upon women’s bodies for the sake of making a few old men feel good about controlling 50% of the population?

    Unless they’re going to mandate security cameras inside every gyno’s office, there’s no way the law could realistically be enforced.

  • Tricksterson

    How does that apply to the question of abortion.

  • Tricksterson

    Enh, they probably don’t really care whether or not it’s enforced.  Like 99% of all lwas, bills, statutes etc the purpose isn’t actually to accomplish anything but to look like you really really care.

  • Wednesday

    Well, a patient or a patient’s partner/parent could report the gyno for violating the law. Or a co-worker could pull an Abby Johnson. Or the state, which has made it clear it loves to nose into women’s lives and bodies, could pass an additional law where it can ask patients if they were forcibly vaginally penetrated with the probe… and then arrest the doctor if they were not.

    (Yes, anti-legal-abortion individuals do get abortions or take their children to get abortions. See also

  • Lunch Meat

    Genesis 2:7 makes it perfectly clear that a soul/spirit enters someone, and they become a living being, when they take their first breath. Not when the body is first formed and looks like a human, even when it’s God’s hands literally doing the forming.

  • Lunch Meat

    Really? Then Psalm 139:13 is only talking about David, and not the rest of us.

  • P J Evans

     Nope. The Bible’s versions of Creation should not be, and were never intended to be, taken literally. There is nowhere IN the Bible that says it’s supposed to be taken literally. That’s a modern misinterpretation.

    Religion fail.

  • P J Evans

     Frank, you’re a poor excuse for a troll.
    Go improve your reading comprehension before you come back.

  • Lunch Meat

    If Genesis 2:7 only applies to Adam, why doesn’t Psalm 139:13 only apply to David? After all, no other person is literally mentioned.

    I’m still waiting for you to respond to my fallacy.

  • Lunch Meat

    I majored in Bible and I know Greek. Thanks.

  • P J Evans

     You’re the one who’s being obnoxious, troll.
    Why should your personal views be given precedence over those of the other 300 million people in the US? Who died and made you God?”

  • Lunch Meat

    I will when you tell me your credentials for reading God’s mind and not even having to explain your interpretations.

  • P J Evans

     The same ones that make you believe you have the right to tell everyone else what to do.
    Ignorant, bigoted troll.

  • Lunch Meat

    My point is that an unborn fetus isn’t a human, and my justification is that we are not human until we take our first breath. My direct scriptural citation is Genesis 2:7, showing that even though Adam had the form of a human, even though God shaped Adam with God’s own hands, he was not a living being until he breathed. Indirectly, breath is tied to spirit/soul throughout the Bible. Note that the Greek word pneuma means both spirit and breath. The Bible never talks about a heartbeat as proof of life. It’s the breath.

  • Lunch Meat

    And the fact that you still haven’t (and aren’t going to, troll) explained why Genesis 2:7 ONLY applies to the first humans but Psalm 139 DOESN’T only apply to David (the only person mentioned) tells me that you aren’t arguing seriously and have never had to defend a Biblical interpretation to someone who didn’t already agree in your life, much less write a 20-page exegesis paper.

  • (O_O)

  • Guest-again

    ‘It will never be anything else.’
    Well, except for all the times it won’t become a human – estimates based on various studies running between 66 and 80 or so percent of the time. In other words, the majority of fertilized eggs never even reach the stage of being identifiable as human when they are discharged, generally one or two months after having been fertilized.

    Stay up with how things work – it helps avoid making silly mistakes based on wrong information.

    And this is certainly interesting –
    ‘The Capitol ground rules say that we cannot assemble, hold signs,
    chant, yell or protest. We think silence in the face of this struggle
    and their unconstitutional rules presents the strongest response to
    their assault on women. Please come out and stand up for our rights and
    for the rights of all women in VA to choose the best reproductive route
    for themselves. These people are used to signs, yelling, chanting etc.
    It is not new. They are not used to silently being stared at and having
    to look us in the eye. It gives us the power.’

  • Lunch Meat

    Maybe I am not reading things correctly but what are you asking?

    Maybe? I would say definitely; your reading comprehension skills are seriously lacking.

    You said that Psalm 139:13 is a statement about all humans, despite only David being mentioned. The fact that David says God formed during pregnancy means that David was a human person with a soul during pregnancy, and therefore all fetuses are.

    I said that Genesis 2:7 is a statement about all humans, despite only Adam being mentioned. The fact that Adam was explicitly stated to be alive after God breathed the breath of life into him means that Adam was not spiritually/theologically alive until that point, despite having the form of a human, and therefore all fetuses are not people with souls until they are born and breathe.

    Notably, NEITHER verse mentions abortion or when it’s okay to kill someone. We are BOTH taking verses out of a poetical context and NEITHER literally says what we say it means. I think my argument is much better than yours.

    Regardless, I’m only arguing with you because you’re amusing, and I know you’re not going to be able to respond to this post because it requires a degree of understanding beyond “My pastor told me this is what the verse means, therefore it’s true.” I studied and thought about this myself. Can you do that?

  • You are engaging in sophistry trying to confuse the definition of “human” (a biological term) with the definition of “person” (a legal term).

    That is the last I will say to you on this topic.

  • Lunch Meat

    Lol. I’ve made my case, you haven’t responded to it. I’m going on to more productive conversations. See you.

  • I think now would be a good time to get a TFTM post in. This endless series of go-rounds on abortion with people who ride in on their high horse will, as the term implies, not end.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    /gets popcorn

  • Lori

    I think now would be a good time to get a TFTM post in. This endless series of go-rounds on abortion with people who ride in on their high horse will, as the term implies, not end.

    This troll certainly doesn’t rise to the level of being worth responding to. 

    Also, am I the only one who hates it when people don’t quote what they’re responding to? Using “reply” only identifies the name of the commenter and that’s fairly useless when the post was back in the thread or when there are multiple comments by the same person. It’s one thing when the thread is moving slowly so the reply is very close to the original comment, but when a thread picks up speed or someone is catching up on a thread that’s been going for a while it’s just confusing. 

    Combining the lack of context with Frank’s lack of anything worthwhile to say plus his wholly unjustified confidence in his own cleverness makes the whole conversation especially useless.

  • hapax


    So what reading of Gods word brings you to the position that it is ok to kill or support the killing of an unborn human?

    Well, if I had your infantile grasp of Scriptural interpretation, which I thank God I grew out of decades ago, I could go with, hmm, Psalm 137.9, or Ecclesiastes 4:1-3, or Hosea 9:11-16, or of course that old favorite, Hosea 13:16.

    (Note:  I originally had the text included in those citations, but stripped them out out of respect for those triggered by horrific descriptions of violence against women and children.  Do NOT look them up, if you are easily triggered.)

  • hapax

    No, Frank.

    The passages I cited *do* however, explicitly and unambiguously claim that God sanctions –or in some cases, actively participates in — the slaughter of infants and “unborn humans” (and the pregnant women, as well).

    Unlike the vague passages you cite, which require some fancy tapdancing to suggest the opposite.

    So, that leaves us with two choices: either God gleefully endorses the slaughter of innocent men, women, children, embryos, blastocysts, and also much cattle; or there are at least some passages in the Biblical scriptures that were interpolated by flawed human beings.

    I know which stand I take, Frank.  What’s yours?

  • Whoa, would you look at that Frank dude, folks?

  • Anonymous

    What we see here with Frank is a classic case of “cargo cult”* argument. Frank has seen that attacking an opponents education, and deriding their arguments as weak and unsupported are powerful rhetorical tactics that can be used to win arguments. However when he deploys them himself, it is without an understanding of their meaning, and so they become mere gestures, devoid of content. Note the complete inability to support any rhetorical move leading to a conversation that is, on his end, contextless stream of disconnected gambits.