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Mandatory Transvaginal Ultrasounds: Coming Soon to a State Near You

As my colleague Maya Dusenbery noted a few days ago, Virginia's new law requiring every woman to undergo an ultrasound before she can get an abortion is still terrible, even if women can opt-out of the transvaginal probe portion.

Most abortions take place within 12 weeks after a woman becomes pregnant. And if the woman has been pregnant for eight weeks or less, conducting an ultrasound generally requires the doctor to insert a probe in a woman's vagina in order to actually see or hear anything. Virginia is not alone in its desire to subject women to invasive probes before they are allowed to get an abortion, a legally protected medical procedure. Twenty states already have laws dictating rules for ultrasounds, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Here are seven other states that have advanced similar measures in the last year:

Alabama: State Sen. Clay Scofield offered his own ultrasound measure a few weeks ago, which included a penalty of up to 10 years in jail and a $15,000 fine if doctors don't carry out the procedure. But Schofieldbacked off component of the bill that would have required doctors to stick a probe in women's vaginas, instead offering that a woman could undergo the "method of ultrasound that she would be more comfortable with."

Idaho: State Sen. Chuck Winder (R-Boise) has introduced yet another bill requiring an ultrasound . . .

Source : Mother Jones : Read the rest of the story here:

Virginia’s Proposed Ultrasound Law Is an Abomination

Feb 20, 2012 - Tags:

Never mind that the evidence indicates that women forced to see ultrasound images opt to terminate anyhow. According to the American Independent, a new study by Tracy Weitz, assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco, shows that “viewing an ultrasound is not an indication that a woman will cancel her scheduled procedure, regardless of what emotional response the sonogram elicits.” Weitz summarized her findings in 2010 when she said that “women do not have abortions because they believe the fetus is not a human or because they don’t know the truth.”

Of course, the bill is unconstitutional. The whole point of the new abortion bans is to force the Supreme Court to reverse Roe v. Wade. It’s unconstitutional to place an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy, although it’s anyone’s guess what, precisely, that means. One would be inclined to suspect, however, that unwanted penetration with a medical device violates either the undue burden test or the right to bodily autonomy. But that’s the other catch in this bill. Proponents seem to be of the view that once a woman has allowed a man to penetrate her body once, her right to bodily autonomy has ended.

During the floor debate on Tuesday, Del. C. Todd Gilbert announced that “in the vast majority of these cases, these [abortions] are matters of lifestyle convenience.” (He has since apologized.) Virginia Democrat Del. David Englin, who opposes the bill, has said Gilbert’s statement “is in line with previous Republican comments on the issue,” recalling one conversation with a GOP lawmaker who told him that women had already made the decision to be "vaginally penetrated when they got pregnant." (I confirmed with Englin that this quote was accurate.)*

 

Source : Slate : Read the full story here :

Apple Hit With 250,000 Signatures Protesting Labor Conditions in China

Fair-labor organizers delivered 250,000 signatures to Apple stores in six cities around the world on Thursday in protest of the company’s working conditions in China.

Apple’s main factory, Foxconn, has faced numerous accusations of providing an inhumane work environment to Chinese workers.

“It’s hard to hear tales of people jumping off buildings and using their hands until they can’t anymore,” said senior organizer of Change.org William Winters, who delivered a stack of petitions to the San Francisco Apple store on Stockton Street. The rest of the 250,000 signatures were being delivered to Apple stores in five other cities in the U.S., the UK, Australia and India.

Foxconn has been accused of making laborers work long hours without breaks, use dangerous chemicals that have caused severe health problems and exposing workers to dangerous conditions. The repetitive work andspartan living conditions have also been to blame for suicides at the factory.

Source : Mashable : Read the whole story here:

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