Transvaginal Ultrasounds: Megan Carpentier Reports

What Women Really Think
April 18 2012 3:02 PM

What’s It Like To Undergo a Transvaginal Ultrasound?

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Transvaginal ultrasounds remain a point of controversy in the fight over abortion

Karkas / Shutterstock.com

Megan Carpentier, the executive editor of the Raw Story, took the idea of investigative journalism to a very personal place in her piece yesterday on the experience of having a medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasound. As those following the “War on Women” may remember, it was Virginia’s proposed bill that would require the procedure before an abortion that was largely responsible for sparking the controversy. Carpentier writes in her piece that though other states had been pursing similar efforts for some time, it took “Virginia’s effort to do the same to bring people’s undivided attention to the anti-abortion movement’s long fight to make abortion as humiliating, expensive, difficult and unobtainable as constitutionally permissible.”

Carpentier enlisted the help of a clinic in Ohio to perform the procedure, and her account of the process is as unsettling as it is enlightening.

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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. 

While Carpentier does note that comparing transvaginal ultrasounds to rape is inaccurate (the former can be a medically useful practice), her experience nevertheless proves how violating, both physically and emotionally, the procedure really is.

Please take the time to read the entirety of her story

J. Bryan Lowder is a Slate assistant editor. He writes and edits for Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section, and for the culture section.

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