Ladies, how great was your most recent visit to the gyno? How relaxing was it? How lovely was the awkward small talk you might have engaged in with your doctor as he strapped you in the stirrups and went to town? That good, huh.
Here’s the thing about your annual gynecological visit… it’s a necessary evil. You kind of, sort of, have to grin and bear it. And even though I’ve been told by a plethora of doctors over the years that I don’t have to have a pap because I don’t get heteromantic, I have a brain and understand that as a woman, it’s of high medical importance.
It’s also a personal responsibility. I have a responsibility to myself and those who give a crap about me to take ownership of my individual health. I trust that my OB/GYN, a guy who actually gets that paps aren’t just for straight girls, isn’t probing my bits and pieces for shits and giggles. It’s preventive care, not politics.
Wait, what am I saying? This is 2012. Of course it’s political. How silly of me. Vaginal probing is the new black in Republican politics. Transvaginal ultrasound bills have been hotly debated in Virginia and Alabama with similar legislation coming up the ranks in Texas and Pennsylvania. On the surface, these bills are all about the culture wars, the anti-abortion movement staking a claim to the November election. But the dirt and grime underneath the surface is much more interesting. The underlying principle behind these measures is the propagation of feminine shame.
Now at the risk of repeating myself, think about your last adventure in stirrups; the appointment you made; the embarrassing forms you filled out; the physician you trusted; the experience you anticipated.
Imagine going through something similar after making one of the most difficult, intellectually exhausting, and emotionally challenging decisions of your life. After. It’s insulting.
I would be interested to see how many vasectomy patients would stand for having sample ultrasound videos shoved in their faces after choosing to undergo their snip snip. I’m guessing not many.
I would be curious to know if these transvaginal procedural rules stipulated that in cases of incest, the father had to watch the ultrasound monitor to witness the miracle he created. I’m thinking no.
I would love to find out whether the drafters of these bills put any thought into the long-term health ramifications of transvaginal probing. Don’t think so.
It is easy to make transvaginal ultrasounds a referendum on abortion. Too easy. I’m hardly what you would call a protesting feminist. Marching hurts my feet. I am; however, a fairly intelligent woman who takes her health and issues impacting her health very seriously. Yes, the term transvaginal probing does have a funny, alien abduction ring to it but we’re in the thick of 2012 GOP primary politics. There’s nothing funny ha ha about probing my who-ha.