The Cutline

Reporter undergoes ‘unnecessary’ transvaginal ultrasound to frame abortion debate

Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News
The Cutline

View photo

.

Protesters opposed to legislation in Boise, Idaho, March 21, 2012. (Jessie L. Bonner/AP)

Plenty of pundits on both sides of the ideological aisle have weighed in on the country's ongoing abortion debate and the transvaginal ultrasound mandates passed by several states—what some people argue is part of the GOP's so-called "war on women." But few have actually gone through the procedure—which is why Megan Carpentier, executive editor of the progressive news site Raw Story, decided to have a "completely unnecessary transvaginal ultrasound" and document the experience for readers.

"It was vigorously uncomfortable," Carpentier wrote, partly "because the technician has to press the wand directly against the areas she wants to get an image of—your uterus, Fallopian tubes and ovaries—so there's more movement and more direct contact with pressure-sensitive areas of your body."

Carpentier continued:

You're also not lying flat on your back to facilitate access to the upper reaches of your vagina; and you're being penetrated with a longer, rigid object than is used in a regular pelvic exam. In my case, as the technician explained after, my uterus is "high," or tilted toward my abdomen, so she had to tilt the wand accordingly—and because it was so uncomfortable, she halted the exam before fully exploring my Fallopian tubes or ovaries. If I had been pregnant (which I knew I was not), the exam might have lasted longer as she looked to rule out an ectopic pregnancy and locate the minuscule gestational sac.

It was not, however, like being raped, despite all the furor-generating headlines and "Doonesbury" cartoons that were printed. It was uncomfortable to the point of being painful, emotionally triggering (and undoubtedly is moreso for victims of rape or incest or any woman in the midst of an already-emotional experience) and something that no government should force its citizens to undergo to make a political point. But it wasn't like being raped—and using language like that not only minimizes rape for its survivors but makes them and other women more frightened of the procedure, which has significant and important medical uses.

Carpentier even shot a video of the procedure and uploaded it to YouTube.

She concluded: "It's not a choice to be made at a distance by elected officials with an ideological axe to grind, little medical knowledge and a belief that it's acceptable to require doctors to put unnecessary instruments inside women's bodies in an effort to achieve in practice what they can't constitutionally pass into law: an end to abortion."

More popular Yahoo! News stories:

Samantha Brick: I know I'm beautiful—Daddy told me so

Pulitzer Prize winners announced: Patriot-News honored for reporting on Penn State scandal

George Zimmerman attorney wants judge in murder case tossed and records to remain sealed

View Comments