Maddow to Ohio women: ‘Welcome to your mandatory vaginal probe’ under new state budget

By David Ferguson
Saturday, June 29, 2013 12:07 EDT
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On Friday night’s edition of “The Rachel Maddow Show,” host Rachel Maddow took a hard look at some of the draconian rape and abortion measures that could be enacted if Republican Governor John Kasich signs the state budget currently on his desk. Under new laws contained in the budget, abortion clinics would close, the terms “pregnancy” and “fetus” would be redefined and women would have to undergo mandatory ultrasound exams for abortions and even some types of contraception.

Maddow began the segment by skewering Congress for going on its July 4th holiday break a week before the holiday actually takes place.

“I want that job,” she said. “The House has gone home and Senate has gone home, not just for the weekend,” but until July 8.

One elected official who is going to sweating it out over the holiday, however is Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), who came into office, as Maddow said, as a “shoot-from-the-mouth kind of guy,” a tea party hardliner who was “looking for a fight.”

Now, she said, Kasich is about to make himself famous for all the wrong reasons.

“On Sunday night John Kasich faces a deadline on whether he signs the state’s new budget,” said Maddow, but the former “marble-mouth, half-cocked tea party radical” is facing intense pressure about a few items in that budget, which comes right in the midst of Kasich’s attempt to reinvent himself as a moderate.

Among the provisions of the Ohio budget is “huge omnibus of rape and abortion provisions that Republicans put in without even debating any of them,” Maddow explained, including a law that imposes a gag order on staffers at rape crisis centers. Ohio will defund the centers unless they forego their option to tell victims that they can get an abortion.

“So if you take any of the state money, the Ohio Republicans will intervene in the type of counseling that rape victims get at rape crisis centers,” Maddow said. “The state government will intervene in the counseling rape victims get. They will intervene in the instructions and information that the victims are allowed to be given, to gag the rape crisis counselor from being allowed to tell a rape victim that she can get an abortion.”

Other measures in the budget include defunding Planned Parenthood, forcing women to undergo ultrasound tests before they can access abortion services (at the patient’s expense) and ordering physicians to give a scripted speech to patients seeking abortions about the probability of their pregnancy lasting to term, whether they agree with it or not.

The list goes on and on, Maddow said. “For some reason, Ohio Republicans decided it was also a budgetary matter to redefine the words ‘pregnancy’ and ‘fetus’ in Ohio state law,” she said.

Furthermore, under the new definitions of pregnancy and fetus, many types of contraception, including Intra-Uterine Devices (IUD) are considered abortions. So, women who want IUDs will not have to undergo all of the same procedures as women seeking to terminate actual pregnancies.

“If you want an IUD,” Maddow said, “that means you want an abortion. And of course there is a mandatory ultrasound before you can get an IUD.”

“Welcome to your mandatory vaginal probe at the insistence of the state!” she said to Ohio women, “even just to keep your IUD.”

Similar showdowns are taking place in North Carolina and Texas. Texas state Senator Wendy Davis (D) riveted the nation’s attention this week with her marathon filibuster of a Texas bill that would shut down all but five of the state’s 42 abortion clinics.

Watch the video, embedded via MSNBC, below:

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David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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