Friday, April 20, 2012

Reporter Documents Transvaginal Ultrasound

Posted By on Fri, Apr 20, 2012 at 8:58 AM

Many have talked about it ... some have shouted about it ... but few have actually gone through the procedure.

Megan Carpentier, executive editor of the progressive news site The Raw Story, decided to undergo a "completely unnecessary transvaginal ultrasound" to document the experience, which is the center of so much controversy. Last month, a hotly debated measure to require Idaho women to undergo an ultrasound before an abortion spurred emotional demonstrations from both sides of the issue and eventually died when a Republican House Committee decided not to consider the bill. The measure's supporters have already said that they hope to revisit the bill during the 2013 Idaho legislative session.

"It was vigorously uncomfortable," Carpentier wrote. "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."

Here's a bit more of what Carpentier wrote:

"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."

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