Feminism: An Open Letter to Rick Perry

[Content Note: Transvaginal Ultrasound, Graphic Description of Rape, Medical Abuse, IVF, Swearing]

When I was sixteen, I had cysts on my ovaries.

We didn't know what they were when it happened, of course. Mom, bless her heart, was always one of those women who never seemed to have any trouble with her lady bits -- she didn't even get cramps during her periods. And for awhile, it seemed like maybe I would take after her, since I didn't really get cramps much either. But when I was sixteen, a sharp stabbing pain in my abdomen left me gasping for breath in the middle of a hot summer church revival meeting, and the next thing I remember was my father speeding to the hospital, with me writhing in pain on the back seat.

I remember that detail, because that was when the police car pulled us over and gave us a ticket. Dad didn't think it'd do any good to argue, so he took the ticket, said goodbye, and drove the speed limit the rest of the way to the emergency room. And then, because emergency rooms are expensive and because we weren't nearly as rich as you are, Rick Perry, we waited in the parking lot to see if it -- whatever it was -- would pass.

After awhile, I thought that it had. I was able to sit up weakly and take a little water. I remember the pain, not so much because I'm good remembering pain but because I still get cysts on my ovaries. I know what it feels like, and now I know I'm not dying. When I was younger, feeling them for the first time, I wasn't so sure.

Our doctor -- the one we scheduled to see later that week when he could work us in, rather than going in the emergency room -- decided I needed to go to the nearby affiliated hospital and get an ultrasound.

I knew what an ultrasound was. Mom had one when I was inside her, just like on the television. They put the cold blue gel on your stomach and spread it around to see babies. I didn't really understand why they wanted to give me an ultrasound since I wasn't pregnant, but we didn't argue with doctors. The doctor told us to show up at 9 in the morning, insurance card in hand, and having drunk 64 ounces of water at least an hour beforehand.

Now, my mother has a bladder the size of a lentil bean. Mine is only marginally bigger -- I can hold my soda, but I can't hold water for more than a few minutes. We were concerned about this requirement to drink so much water, and asked if I couldn't drink the water maybe when I showed up for the appointment? The doctor was insistent; one hour beforehand.

When we showed up at 8:30 in the morning, I was busting at the seams. We waited in the hospital waiting room; I fidgeted uncomfortably. The clock ticked and tocked and 9 am came and went with no relief. I squirmed. By 9:15, I was in a bad way; by 9:30, I ran to the restroom and very nearly avoided wetting myself before I was safely on the toilet. I simply hadn't been able to hold it.

I wasn't even out of the restroom before they called my name.

The ultrasound technician was a woman. That's all I can remember -- white, black, young, old, fat, skinny, I don't remember. It was dimly lit in the room, and she was angry at me for going to the bathroom. She insisted she wouldn't be able to get a good image without my having a full bladder; my mother pleaded with her to let me drink some water right there and then. She finally agreed.

I remember lying on the table. I was surprised that she hadn't exposed my tummy -- weren't we going to do an ultrasound? -- and then, with no warning whatsoever, she grabbed a hard plastic wand that looked as thick as my arm and shoved it up into my vagina.

In my mind, I can hear me howling with pain, but I can't remember if I really howled out loud or if I just whimpered. I must have said or done something, because I remember the technician giving me a surprised look and asking if I was a virgin. I nodded. I think I hissed yes. I think I sounded angry, but I just felt trapped and frightened. She gave me another funny look, but went back to rooting around inside me. I froze up and I don't think I said or did anything after that.

The next thing I remember was standing in the brightly-lit patient bathroom, scrubbing blood off my legs. I remember the lights. I remember my clothes on the floor, the clothes I was supposed to change into so I could leave, but instead I was scrubbing blood away.

No one ever asked me my sexual history. I was 16 years old. My doctor had been our family doctor since I was 8. The technician hadn't spoken a word to me about what she was going to do, or how it would feel. No one ever spoke to me about it afterward, either. The doctor told me I had cysts on my ovaries, and that they would fall off and go away forever. No medication was offered. No counseling. No advice that the cysts might be a recurring problem.

I've had transvaginal ultrasounds since then. I had probably half a dozen or more when I went through my two IVF treatments last year -- IVF treatments I went through willingly while my husband and I were trying to conceive a child. Because I am an adult, and because I speak articulately, and because I am white, and because I have the money and the privilege to "go elsewhere" for what was deemed a non-medically-necessary service, and because the IVF doctors and nurses involved were genuinely wonderful people, I was treated with the utmost kindness and respect. The technicians gently inserted the probe each time: "Are you ready? Here we go." "This might hurt a bit." "A little hardness here." "You're doing great, just a little more imaging to go."

Transvaginal ultrasounds can be medically necessary. They can be relatively painless. They can be administered by a trained and compassionate technician who can ease the unpleasantness of the experience.

They can also be rape.

Forcing a medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasound on a woman who wants an abortion and who is "consenting" to the procedure under duress -- If you don't want a baby, you have to let us stick this probe in your vagina! -- is rape. Saying that consented to transvaginal ultrasounds are not rape does not change the fact that unconsented to transvaginal ultrasounds are rape.  

Consent is precisely and essentially what makes rape rape. If I willingly and freely consent to my own penetration, it is not rape. If the law compels me to submit to penetration in order to receive a medical service I deem medically necessary, then I am being penetrated without my consent. I am being raped by my lawmakers.

Men who don't see themselves endangered by these "informed consent" laws like to pretend to the public that nothing traumatizing can happen in a neat, sterile hospital room. Technicians are always gentle, doctors are always compassionate, and the entirety of the medical industry is focused around the health care of the patient and her emotional well-being.

Women like me, who have to live in the real world, know that this isn't always the case. Humans are fallible and cultural assumptions and social prejudices aren't left at the hospital entrance. A woman ultrasound technician brutalized me at sixteen with a hard plastic probe; I was a virgin. A woman nurse told me at eighteen that it was "my fault for sleeping around" when she brought me the test results that said I had HPV lesions; my first serious boyfriend had held me down and raped me. I was lucky: he merely gave me the most common sexually transmitted disease in America, a disease that could give me cervical cancer. If I'd been unlucky and he'd gotten me pregnant... well, we already know that you'd have me raped a second time before you let me get my life back.

Not surprisingly, I'm a little bitter about that.

I know there are good doctors and nurses out there; this post isn't about them. This post is directed at every lawmaker, newsperson, blogger, or commenter out there who insists that the world we live in is one where every patient will be treated kindly and gently by the medical profession. This post is here to say that a young, pretty, white, wealthy, educated, virginal, Christian, ridiculously privileged woman has experienced multiple layers of prejudice from medical professionals, people who had absorbed cultural slut-shaming attitudes. I had every possible thing in my favor, and I was still treated badly, to the point where the memories -- years after the fact -- cause me tremendous pain.

This post is directed specifically at you, my governor Rick Perry, to whom I would like to say:

Keep your laws out of my goddamned vagina. Thank you very fucking much.

I live in Texas. I've been raped once in my life by an ultrasound technician. I don't want to repeat the experience.

Note: Comments advocating rape laws directed at men (i.e., "prostate exams for viagra prescriptions") will be deleted. This blog does not condone the state-sponsored rape of any person, regardless of their gender.


Samantha C said...

Thank you for writing this, Ana. It takes brutal, honest, true posts like this one to really open eyes, and it was brave of you to share.

Heqit said...

[I'm not sure whether this comment needs an additional TW or a Content Note, since it concerns my experiences that are similar to what Ana described in the OP. Ana, if you feel a warning is necessary on this, please add whatever you think is appropriate.]

YES to everything you wrote, Ana - thank you. I also had ovarian cysts as a teenager - they ruptured on vacation, and I spent an hour vomiting from pain on the bathroom floor of the Urgent Care center waiting for the triage nurse to see me, while my parents fumed in the waiting room - and had a transvaginal ultrasound as part of my diagnosis/treatment. I was a virgin as well, although since I'd already had a pap smear I didn't bleed from the ultrasound wand. I think. My memories, like yours, are very hazy. I can't even remember if I knew beforehand what kind of ultrasound I was getting - I don't think I did, but I'm not sure. I do know that the nurse showed me the wand before inserting it and explained things a bit, so it wasn't as traumatic as your (medically inexcusable) experience. I do remember vividly that the wand was uncomfortable to the point of pain, and that the procedure went on and on and ON - it felt like hours; it may have actually been as long as 45 minutes. (Apparently they "couldn't find" one of my ovaries.) I remember gritting my teeth and just setting myself to endure it silently - there was nothing I could say and nothing I could do. I got through it one moment at a time - I couldn't look forward to "only 5 minutes left" because I didn't have any idea how long it would go on or what they were doing, and at any rate it took all of my self-control just to endure the moment by itself, without looking forward. It was endless.

I've never really talked about it much - I was alone and a freshman in college, far from home at the time - but I also haven't really had a GYN appointment since, even though I know as an adult woman I should have regular pap smears. It's been 12 years. I'm still a virgin, in the having-sex-with-another-person true sense, not the have-you-been-penetrated-by-anything sense. I can't even put in a tampon without crying - I don't wear them. I haven't ever thought of my transvaginal ultrasound as rape or even abuse, but it was not good. And now I wonder just how much that experience has affected me, and if it's at least partially at the root of my other (lack of) vaginal experiences. All these years I just thought I was weird, lazy, antisocial, unsexy, and, well, incapable of dealing with hygiene issues like a "normal" adult woman. But now I wonder - well - maybe all the ways in which I'm different from normal aren't my fault. For varying values of "different," "normal," and "fault," that is. This is clearly something that I should take up in therapy, not in a blog comment. :)

But thank you, Ana - in addition to well-expressed righteous outrage, this post has provoked some thoughts and possibly healing in me, and it was also a great comfort to read of an experience similar to my own, and know that I am not alone.

Ana Mardoll said...

Sending you so many hugs.

Mary Kaye said...

I am so sorry this happened to you.

I have never had a TV ultrasound, but I had an ER visit once where the woman examining me got me up in stirrups so that I couldn't safely move, and then hurt me repeatedly while asking "Does this hurt? Is it a scratchy pain or a dull pain? Is it more painful over here?" until my husband wanted to assault her physically. No apologies, no concern for my state.

In retrospect I wish I had filed a complaint. I encourage anyone who has the spoons to do so to file complaints aggressively when such things happen, as they won't stop until we speak up. (But I understand that often this is not feasible. When you are vomiting from pain you are in no condition to be an effective advocate for yourself, and it is terrible that you should ever need to be.)

Anonymous said...

I had a similar experience. The cysts, the pain. But I wouldn't let them put the thing all the way inside me--this isn't stated as a "strong woman" thing, or victim-blaming you-should've-stopped-them thing; I'd been painfully penetrated by a medical instrument before, which left me both with scarring and a knowledge of how bad this could be. I tried really hard to let them in; they were nice about it, even giving me a few private minutes to masturbate, as only orgasm can open me up enough to slip even an OB tampon in, and then to finger myself--something I normally never do because of the pain, but I thought it might help. The nurse put hot compresses on my stomach to help relax me. She was incredibly nice, even if the doctor was brusque. All the same, it took them minutes to advance a centimeter, I was crying the whole time and apologizing, and even the doctor's finger palpations hurt like fuck. (Two big fingers of a big man? When a lubed-as-hell piece of smooth plastic won't fit? Seriously?) I think I told them a couple of times, "Stop," or "I can't," but I don't know how seriously they were supposed to take those comments. They definitely stopped early, which i appreciated.

When they left, to do whatever they were doing, and let my friend back in. I sobbed for minutes, she didn't know what to do.

This was both better and worse than my first medical/vaginal experience; there wasn't as much penetration the first time, but I was much younger, screaming for the person to stop from the beginning (not even an instant of consent), the person screaming back at me, telling me they'd have someone in to hold me down if I didn't cooperate, using an instrument meant for a grown woman, not for the prepubescent girl I was, and it turned out the penetration wasn't medically necessary--it was meant to deliver medication that they ended up delivering with a cream. Afterwards they asked me if I'd ever been sexually abused in the past--because apparently my unwillingness to be penetrated like that meant I must not be sexually normal!

I've had sex, but I don't ever have sexual vaginal penetration. Sometimes I use tampons--on the order of a tampon every several months, in order to swim. Anything more than a finger inside me leaves me sore for days; an attempt at penetration from a well-meaning partner, even if it doesn't get in, leaves my vulva psychosomatically sore and leaves me shaky. Anyone who doesn't understand how scarring and frightening even the most normal obstetric procedures can be...shouldn't be allowed to be a lawmaker.

Anonymous said...

Same as the anonymous an hour ago...after the first experience, I had trouble sleeping. When I went to bed, I would cross my legs twice and then put my hands between them...so nothing could get in my vulva. I would have a hard time falling asleep for fear of knitting needles or clotheshangers somehow getting inside of me.

hapax said...


I am so very SORRY Ana, Heqit, MaryKaye, other anonymous commentators. You should not have had those experiences. Thank you for being so brave.

But just so that everyone who has not had a TVU isn't scared off when one becomes medically necessary, let me reiterate that it doesn't have to be that way. I've had TVUs several times (once when pregnant, a couple of times for ovarian cysts) and the doctors and technicians were without exception respectful and considerate. I certainly wouldn't put it on my "fun way to spend an afternoon" list; and I am not belittling the the problems others are reporting.

As in most cases in life, when a medical procedure hurts you too much (physically or emotionally), you should be allowed to say "Stop!". And when you say "stop", the other person should STOP. No exceptions. Perhaps there will be a medical necessity that compels a physician to continue after your "no"*, but it should always be respected and discussed.

I do feel sorry for the women's health clinics in Texas and other similar states. The medical workers there are placed in a truly hideous position. Do they force this procedure on unwilling women, or deny them the health care they need? If they refuse to obey the law in order to protect the rights of some women, will they be shut down, and risk the lives of even more women? I wouldn't want to have to make a decision like that.

*I am thinking of one particular instance in my life when that was true, but the details aren't relevant. Suffice it to say that it was literally life-or-death, and I wasn't competent to provide consent. Still, the physician *did* stop, then said, "I am sorry, I understand what you are saying, but I must continue because of XYZ."

Ana Mardoll said...

General Thread Notice

The OP has already noted that some TVUs, for some women, as given by some doctors and technicians, are neither rape nor traumatic. The OP has also noted that this post is not about these things.

This post is about non-consensual TVUs, as well as painful and traumatic TVUs, and why state legislators should not be mandating medically unnecessary TVUs as a political hurdle for womens' health rights.

Because of the sensitive nature of this post, I ask that posts remain on this topic, and not include tales of consensual, non-painful TVUs. (Which would be the equivalent of a thread on rape derailing into a thread about consensual sex and people's varied experiences with it.)

Thank you.

Hyperio said...

I agree, Ana. The law shouldn't be used as a tool to oppress people. That politicians want to control vulnerable people with such despicable means is truly horrifying.

How can people vote for such people? I think I know the answer but I am still dumbstruck every time I see such news...

Ice said...

Ana, I want to thank you for writing this. I also had an ultrasound that was... not what I was expecting... and it was less than pleasant, to say the least.

And it seems to me that perhaps the medical providers should be a bit more clear about what to expect in this type of situation. Until reading this, I thought that I was the only one who was completely flabbergasted when the tech told me to take off my pants. I didn't really know what was happening until the wand was already in place, because I had never seen an ultrasound wand before, TV or for the belly. I feel like there is a point where saying "we're sending you to get an ultrasound" is just not enough explanation for what is about to happen.

That's legislation that I could get behind: make the medical providers be absolutely clear on what they are ordering...

DavidCheatham said...

This whole 'restrictions on abortion' reminds me, in a way, of poll tax laws after the 14th amendment.

After the courts say that, constitutionally, 'X can do Y', Americans are apparently required to spend the next 100 years debating whether or not every specific way that the government is stopping X from Y is allowed, eventually taking yet another constitutional amendment. (At which point we will start debating _that_.)

Of course, the poll tax laws never got quite this bad. That's not to say black people who attempted to vote were not treated horrifically, and often even killed, but that treatment was usually outside the law.

And even at this point in time, we _still_ have to fight poll taxes. Which means we will apparently be fighting abortion restrictions into the 22nd century.

Also, I am very glad people keep saying 'transvaginal ultrasound' instead of 'ultrasound' because men are probably less likely than women to know there are other ways to do an ultrasound, and that fact needs to keep getting out there. Not that the knowledge even seems that common among women. I think that people outside the medical profession generally just know medical stuff that happened to them and people close to them, and what they see on TV, and not much else...and transvaginal ultrasounds do not appear on TV.

Requiring an external ultrasound is just poll tax jerkitude, but requiring transvaginal ones...well, even some pro-life people are blinking at that one. In fact, there was a theory that the people who wrote this law did not understand what they were writing, that they were only aiming for external ultrasounds. This might be right, I don't know. However, they've had ample time to have this explained to them, to understand that at the time that most women get abortions a stomach ultrasound cannot see anything, so requiring an ultrasound that shows the baby requires a transvaginal one, and they have failed to fix this law.

I have to wonder how much of this is anti-women, and how much of this is just anti-facts. 'Lalala, I can't hear you when you say the baby of someone two months pregnant cannot be seen via external ultrasound. Everyone knows they're real babies at that point! You're just making this up!'

And people who propose satirical laws doing this to men are indeed in bad taste, but I've got a reasonable non-rape satirical law for you:

Everyone who wants to have any medical procedure done should have to watch a video of it being done first. And then have a mandatory waiting period where they can think about it. Any medical procedure at all. (And then we can have 'compromise' people argue that such a waiting period should be waived in the case of emergencies.)

I mean, if we're worried about people being 'informed'...I frankly have a better idea of how abortion, which is a medical procedure I will never have, works, than how surgeries _I've had on myself_ worked.

Are we in a universe where everyone can make 'informed decisions' except people getting abortions? Are legislators assuming that the group of people who get abortions are less mentally competent than people getting heart surgery? If so, what trait of this group makes them think this? What commonality requires that we treat people requiring abortion like they are completely uninformed about a medical procedure they seek done, but no one else?

Dav said...

Thank you for sharing your experiences, Ana. And everyone else.

TW: TV ultrasound
I wouldn't call my transvaginal ultrasound rape, but it definitely was in the borderlands of consent. I'd basically been having month-long periods, with heavy bleeding, and before the doc would prescribe anything or consider any options, she asked me to get an ultrasound. (That was all that was referred to, and like several other people, I assumed this meant external.)

The tech did mention in passing that there would be a transvaginal ultrasound after the external one, but after my clothes were off. I was totally unprepared, had no idea if it was necessary, and was afraid that if I cancelled, I wouldn't get further medical treatment.

Although I've never been raped, I found the experience really triggering - it brought up a lot of feelings of helplessness. I started crying uncontrollably in the middle, and simply couldn't stop. (Some of this was that the stress had triggered a blinding migraine.) When the tech noticed, she offered to pause, told me I could reschedule, and I chose to continue, because I couldn't imagine ever coming back voluntarily. I think the tech was legitimately concerned for me, and had assumed I'd been briefed by the ob-gyn, which I think was a reasonable expectation.

However, I'm re-evaluating my experience in the light of so much anecdata. Surprise!medical procedures is . . . not okay. At all. I'd sort of assumed that I was just out of the loop of received medical expectations. But apparently not so much. And I've never really heard much evidence of, oh, surprise root canals, which makes me suspicious that this is a Lady Part Thing.

But this has not really helped my extreme reluctance to go to the doctor except in cases of extreme emergency. (New thing that is not an extreme emergency: month-long periods.)

Silver Adept said...

Before getting into the reply, @Ana Mardoll - I think this is a fruitful line of inquiry about a lot of things, but I wonder if you think this will be a derail of the topic. If so, can we get this comment and @DavidCheatham 's moved into a new thread to deal with this particular issue?

Onward. TW for Legislative [1000Hz]ery, "pro-life" justifications of such, and possibly ableism, or at least disrespect for the truly mentally ill in service of that justification.

Are legislators assuming that the group of people who get abortions are less mentally competent than people getting heart surgery? If so, what trait of this group makes them think this? What commonality requires that we treat people requiring abortion like they are completely uninformed about a medical procedure they seek done, but no one else?

They are seeking an abortion. For that factor alone, the legislators believe that women can't be fully informed about what they are doing. To these "pro-life" legislators, any woman seeking an abortion must be either uninformed or insane to want to kill their unborn child (and to these "pro-life" legislators uniformly believe that a fetus at any stage of development is a child), and so they must be subjected to every possible method to inform them or convince them to change their course of action - because every mother's heart will melt when confronted with a picture of their child, and they'll want to carry the child to term, no matter how it was conceived or whether the child will survive.

At this point, because the "pro-life" movement hasn't convinced every woman to stop having abortions, now they have to escalate the issue up to the point where it becomes physically inconvenient for a woman to have an abortion - waiting periods, picketers, and now, trying to outlaw it with any way possible that's not directly in contravention to Roe, by making the law fit their personal beliefs.

You may have already known all of that. It's been around for a while now, but it's the current political climate that has driven the right so far rightward that we're seeing this as the "mainstream" Republican position. [End TW]

DavidCheatham said...

Silver Adept, you took my sarcastic rhetorical question a bit more seriously than I intended.

The answer I was leading people to was: The commonality is that all people seeking abortions are women. And the trait is that they are women who had sex.

Just the first alone is enough to make certain people believe they are mentally incompetent. The sex part clinches it. (Although a very very few legislators are willing to admit that rape does exist, and it's only voluntary sex that proves women are mentally incompetent. Or something.)

Which is the point of my hypothetical law. The pro-life movement has spent decades informing us of how abortion works, often quite graphically, and yet lawmakers seem to think that people need to be _more_ informed. So my question is: Does anyone know how a root canal works?

Compared to abortion (Which most happen in a a fairly manner.) I have no clue at all how it works. Shouldn't I have been forced to watch a root canal before having one, plus given some time to think about it? (And should the law should have given the dentist liability protection if I needed a root canal but he didn't want me to get one so lied to me?)

The answer is no for root canals, but yes for abortions, because abortion is the one medical procedure that women, and only women, have. And thus the only one we need to make sure people are 'informed', because women, apparently, wander around in a daze and have no idea what they are doing half the time. Half the women who drive across the state to the sole abortion clinic probably just wanted some ice cream.

DavidCheatham said...

To get back on topic (And feel free to delete my other posts if they are too far off topic.), part of this really sounds like a training issue. I've also run into this a bit, lack of consideration towards patients, although nowhere near as bad as the examples here.

Background: Due to a congenital heart defect, I had open heart surgery as a infant, and after that point needed a pacemaker. Luckily, I don't die without one, just end up with a heart rate of 40 or so. (And now I no longer need one.)

My pacemaker was, as a child, installed at my stomach. One day when I was 24 or so, it dies again, and I go to the hospital to get it replaced.

So I go into the operating room, and the first thing they want to do is take off my underwear and shave the pubic hair on my stomach. Which I did, and they did.

Now, this wasn't traumatic for me, but I can see how it could have been for other people. I had to wonder why they didn't just knock people out _then_ shave them. Or just have them shave themselves.

So that happens, then, suddenly, I'm faced with a decision from them: Do I want to replace the old pacemaker where it is, or do I want to put it at my shoulder, with new leads, two instead of one, which would work better?

Notice this question arose after I was already in the operating room, naked and (pointlessly) shaved. Instead of it arising at any time _before_ this, when I could have talked it over with anyone.

The entire thing was just handled so poorly, with so many things that could have caused issues. I suspect it's due to simply cutting as many costs as possible, so absolutely no one is in charge of the overall picture, or if they do exist, they cannot spend any time on it.

Silver Adept said...

Ah. Unfortunately, despite text and context being related, it can be difficult to obtain the latter from the former. I think you're a but too general in saying that women who have had sex are considered incompetent by these lawmakers, as there are plenty of acceptable sexual behaviors to the "pro-life" crowd, many of them in situations that strongly resemble the ones discussed in the original post. Its that they've had sex and are now going to abort that's the issue.

Anyway, , training will help make the procedure less painful, but the point of the OP is not "this is bad because the techs are bad at it.", it's "this it's bad because it's an unnecessary violation of or bodies done under duress and it's designed to cause us pain and mental anguish to satisfy the selfish, patriarchal attitude of men that believe they know what women are thinking and what's best floor them." So the proposed law you suggested might be helpful in some ways, but it doesn't fix the underlying problem.

DavidCheatham said...

I think you're a but too general in saying that women who have had sex are considered incompetent by these lawmakers, as there are plenty of acceptable sexual behaviors to the "pro-life" crowd, many of them in situations that strongly resemble the ones discussed in the original post.

I think you're giving too much credit to misogynists, but whatever.

it's "this it's bad because it's an unnecessary violation of or bodies done under duress and it's designed to cause us pain and mental anguish to satisfy the selfish, patriarchal attitude of men that believe they know what women are thinking and what's best floor them."

There actually is an issue that is somewhat comparable to this, strangely:

The unwillingness to actually do anything about prison rape.

I mean, we're talking about crimes that happens with a very small pool of suspects who have almost no rights. 'Hey, look, the victim is able to point out the rapist, and we can collect his DNA without a warrant.'

It really won't be that hard to stop them in the first place, either, but regardless of that, all of them should be near-instantly solved. However, we do not. Because people in prison deserve to be raped, you see. We even make jokes about it.

Just like women who want an abortion. They had sex, so they deserve to be punished with a baby. And if that's not workable, well, they deserve to be punished in some other way.

So the proposed law you suggested might be helpful in some ways, but it doesn't fix the underlying problem.

I think it highlights the absurdity that we trust adults (And even older teenagers) with their own medical decisions in every other sense. We trust that doctors will inform them of all they need to know to make an informed decision, the risk, the reason for the procedure, and any possible side effects. We even let people choose to reject care and die.

Except for one of the few procedures that's just done on women, at which point it becomes acceptable to talk about 'informing' them by force of law.

Saito said...

Two points of amazement here:

One, that "writhing in pain" wasn't recognized as "having a period." Sure, it feels like you're dying. That's just what they're like.

Two, that anyone did anything for you other than scream at you to shut up already, take some tylenol, and SHUT UP ALREADY.

These events are so far outside the limits of my experience that I can't even process them.

Dragoness Eclectic said...

Warning: slight derail

I find the issue of doctors and medical technicians not stopping to explain what they are doing to be problematic. My own experience has been mixed: when my elderly mother was in her final illness and surgeries, getting anyone to tell me what was going on with her and what to expect was like pulling teeth from paranoid cheetah--amazing how fast they could avoid my questions. I think it was because she was dying, and they knew it, and didn't want to admit it to me, for whatever reason. Pissed me off, because if I had known for sure, I wouldn't have tormented myself with so much false hope, or authorized medical procedures that just gave her more pain instead of saving her.

On the other hand, for myself, I always ask what is going on and want a full technical description of what is being done and why, how the drugs I'm being prescribed work and what is the reasoning behind them, and so on. More than one doctor or nurse has pegged me as an engineer or computer programmer without knowing anything else about me; apparently we're the only type of people who want logical and technical explanations of medical procedures. I got the impression from them that they believe that the "average" person doesn't actually want to know the details. Go figure.

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