forensic vagina specialists, and the coming of the anti-abortion police state

Yesterday, while crossing Michigan Avenue with my dog, I passed a woman standing between the lanes of traffic, holding up a sign urging people to fight against the abortion clinic opening on South Washington Street. As her sign, unlike those of last week’s protestors, didn’t include graphic images of what looked like dead, full-term babies, I stopped for a second and said hello. We exchanged a few words on how beautiful the weather was, and then I went on. I was tempted to engage her in a conversation about the right to privacy and whether or not she believed that we should have the freedom to determine for ourselves what’s done to us, but the dog was anxious and I doubted that she could be convinced otherwise. I do wonder, however, where she’d draw the line. Would she mind mandatory genetic screenings for those seeking employment? And, how about forced sterilization for those on welfare?

While I’d like to say that I’m behind the clinic opening on Washington Street, it seems as though it might not really be deserving of too much support. (Ypsi-Dixit reports that the fellow behind the clinic has had a few run-ins with the law, and seems like a kind of shady character.)

I’m reading the New York Times Magazine story on El Salvador right now, and how the lives of its citizens have changed in the eight years since abortion was made a criminal offense there. Once I finish, I might take it up to Michigan Avenue, in case the woman with the sign is still there. I don’t want to be combative, as she’s certainly within her rights to hold up whatever kind of sign she wants, but that doesn’t mean I can’t ask her to consider a future with “forensic vagina inspectors” probing women’s wombs to make sure they miscarried naturally. And, yes, you read that right. Here’s a clip from the Times:

…El Salvador, however, has not only a total ban on abortion but also an active law-enforcement apparatus — the police, investigators, medical spies, forensic vagina inspectors and a special division of the prosecutor’s office responsible for Crimes Against Minors and Women, a unit charged with capturing, trying and incarcerating an unusual kind of criminal.

It just occurred to me that maybe that’s Bush’s ultimate plan for job creation. Those (party members) who had worked in manufacturing, for instance, can just be retrained as forensic vagina inspectors…

Here’s another clip:

“Abortion as it exists in El Salvador today tends to operate on three levels. The well-off retain the “right to choose” that comes of simply having money… Among the very poor, you can still find the back-alley world described by D.C. and the others who turn up in hospitals with damaged or lacerated wombs. Then there are the women in the middle; they often rely on home-brewed cures that are shared on the Internet or on a new underground railroad that has formed to aid them.”

That’s something we can’t lose sight of. What that woman on the street corner in Ypsilanti was protesting wasn’t really abortion – it was abortion for poor women. Just as Prohibition only made drinking against the law for the poor, the rich will always have the right to a safe abortion.

[An interview with Jack Hitt, the writer of the New York Times feature, can be found at Alternet.]

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  1. Ted Glass
    Posted April 12, 2006 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    “Forensic Vagina Inspector” is so much better than “Blind Bikini Inspector”, the latter being what was written on a shirt my parents gave me when I was about 15, thinking, I believe, it would somehow make me more masculine.

  2. schutzman
    Posted April 12, 2006 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Also related to the matter of unwanted pregnancies, machismo, and t-shirts, I worked briefly at a seaside t-shirt shop in maryland one summer, and easily the most popular iron-on decal sold to young men said “Jump ’em, Pump ’em, Dump ’em.”

  3. mark
    Posted April 14, 2006 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    I’m more partial to Ted Nugent’s “Whack ’em and Stack ’em.”

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