Missouri: Where Lives Are Sacred… Some More Than Others

Hush Naidoo for Unsplash

“… state-sanctioned, essentially, sexual assault.” - Dr. Colleen McNicholas

Well, this is… disgusting.

If you’ve ever thought that forcing women to carry pregnancies to term was about anything other than sadism toward and control over women, take a look at Missouri’s new abortion regulation. No, I’m not talking about an abortion ban at six weeks’ gestation (before most women know they’re pregnant) — that would be Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisiana, all of which signed such bans into law in 2019.

Nor am I talking about an effectively outright ban on abortion altogether; that honor goes to Alabama, where lawmakers recently took the time to vote down a proposed exception for victims of rape or incest. (Not that this special exclusion isn’t insulting in and of itself; being forced to give birth to a baby you cannot care for is a form of slavery, not to mention that many cases of rape and abuse go unreported, disbelieved, or “unproven.” But that’s another article.) If the new law goes into effect, Alabama doctors could face 99 years imprisonment for performing an abortion.

For perspective, the current punishment in Alabama for first-degree rape is 10–99 years jail time; second-degree rape, a maximum of 20 years; sexual abuse or incest… less than 10 years.

“Every life is a sacred gift from God” [unless you’re a woman], intones AL Governor Ivey.

But Back to Missouri
Per judicial order, the state’s sole remaining abortion clinic will remain open, despite concerted efforts by state government to shut it down. HOWEVER, there’s a condition: doctors, for all purposes, must break the Hippocratic oath. In addition to the initial pelvic exam women typically undergo before an abortion, doctors must now conduct a second pelvic exam at the beginning of the mandated three-day waiting period for women seeking an abortion. A medically unnecessary exam, and one that has proven invasive and emotionally traumatic for both patients and providers, according to numerous doctors interviewed.

Dr. David Eisenberg says it best, in the Los Angeles Times: “What I realized was I effectively have become an instrument of state abuse of power. As a licensed physician, I am compelled by the state of Missouri to put my fingers in a woman’s vagina when it’s not medically necessary.”

If I didn’t have such trust in legislators’ medical proficiency in general, and gynecological expertise in particular, I’d almost suspect this was a law crafted by a bunch of prurient, sadistic perverts.

Sneaky, Sneaky
In addition to its sheer grotesqueness, the requirement is notable for another reason: unlike many of the costly and medically unnecessary TRAP (Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers) laws in effect around the country, this newest invasion of women’s bodies came about administratively, not legislatively.

Which is a pretty crafty move on the part of misogynists. Legislation gets press, and anyone paying attention ultimately hears about bills voted through in state congressional sessions. But a requirement issued by a state health department? It’s going to take a real detective — in this case, Rachel Maddow, bless her heart — even to spot these “local” stories in the first place.

Vote.
It’s yet another reminder of the vast power state officials wield over citizens’ lives… and bodies. The Director of Missouri’s Department of Health & Human Services was appointed by the (elected) Governor), and confirmed by (elected) senators. Not registered to vote? REGISTER HERE: https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote#item-212645.

Per the Missouri state motto, Salus populi suprema lex esto: Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law.

As long as those people aren’t women.

- Juliet Eastland

Writer with many strong opinions.

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