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Beyond Belief

Mar 01, 2012 — Categories: ,

International Women’s Day was first celebrated in 1911 and has been observed each year since as a day to recognize women’s achievements as well as to lift up the issues of gender inequality such as violence against women that continue to plague the human race and diminish the lives of women and men.

International Women’s Day was first celebrated in 1911 and has been observed each year since as a day to recognize women’s achievements as well as to lift up the issues of gender inequality such as violence against women that continue to plague the human race and diminish the lives of women and men.

As we approach this holiday, it is beyond ironic that the state of Virginia in the United States is considering a bill that would require any woman seeking an abortion to be subjected to a transvaginal ultrasound which is medically unnecessary and against her consent. This means that a doctor would insert a metal probe into a woman’s vagina against her will.

According to Virginia State Law, this requirement by the state constitutes sexual assault:

“An accused shall be guilty of inanimate or animate object sexual  penetration if he or she penetrates the labia majora or anus of a complaining witness, whether or not his or her spouse, other than for a bona fide medical purpose.”


So this proposed legislation not only requires doctors to be agents of state policy but also to violate state law and commit rape.

The purpose of this legislation is to further insert government into this most intimate arena of a woman’s health care decisions and to intimidate and coerce her not to have an abortion. Regardless of your position on reproductive choice, this proposed legislation is over the top and continues to make women’s health care a political football in an effort to deny women access to legal, safe medical care.

Women around the world will celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8. But in every country, women continue to struggle with varieties of gender based violence. In the U.S., we have made remarkable progress in raising awareness and challenging age-old attitudes and practices that sustain the sexual assault and abuse of women and girls.

The fact that even here a state legislature would even imagine, much less propose, a statute that amounts to rape of women by the state is deeply disturbing. Yet as we celebrate, it is a sober reminder that the work goes on, looking towards that day when our daughters and great granddaughters will actually be free from efforts by the government to coerce medical procedures and to control their personal medical decisions.

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
FaithTrust Institute
www.faithtrustinstitute.org

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Join us on Wednesday, March 7 for

Roundtable: International Women's Day 2012 - Gender Based Violence for Christian and Muslim Women

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