Abortion is Not O.K. in Oklahoma.


Arizona’s harsh new policy cracking down on illegal immigrants got more attention, but equally punitive legislation went into effect in Oklahoma when the Republican-dominated state legislature overrode vetoes by Democratic Gov. Brad Henry to enact some of the nation’s most repressive abortion laws. 

One law requires women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound procedure and watch the monitor and hear a detailed description of the developing fetus.  The second law eliminates lawsuits against physicians who do not give the woman information about possible fetal birth defects.   No exceptions are made for women who are victims of rape and incest. 

I can count on one hand how many times over the years I’ve written about abortion and that’s probably something I should  be a bit  embarrassed about, but what is about to happen in Oklahoma isn’t just repressive, it’s downright pornographic. 

These laws exhibit a perverse love of poking and prodding women’s bodies for no good reason—and often for great harm. The ultrasound law specifies that a vaginal probe must be used, even though doctors often prefer to skip that if their patients have been through sexual trauma in the past. But it’s hard to imagine these legislators caring too much about rape victims. They love the idea of penetrating the vaginas of unwilling women so much that this is the second time they’ve tried to pass this law. And the other law is an attempt to encourage doctors to perform amniocenteses on pregnant women, but withhold any information from the patients regarding actual test results. Apparently, sticking needles into pregnant women for no good reason seems like reward enough to these legislators. 

The cliché is if men could get pregnant they would have a completely perspective about pregnancy.  How many guys would want a camera shoved up their butt to see the baby in their womb wiggling?   If you’re pro-life there might be an argument to be made that a woman should be fully informed about her pregnancy options.  You lose me though when it is mandatory that the ultrasound must be performed with a vaginal probe instead of simply using a transducer over the maternal abdomen.   When my wife was carrying our first child there was something magical about the process of seeing the baby on the monitor.  Had the obstetrician gone up the old hoo-had to sneak a peek I would have chilled back in the waiting room. 

This won't be how a pregnant woman gets an ultrasound in Oklahoma.

This is just the latest example of predominantly male politicians asserting their God-given right to control a woman’s reproductive organs since she’s not capable of making those kind of tough decisions for herself.

“Git on back to the bedroom, honey. Put on your sexiest flannel nightgown ’cause I’m gonna go fetch my cowboy hat and spurs. I’m feelin’ frisky tonite”

When is the matriarchy taking over and what the hell is wrong with the women of Oklahoma that they would sit back and take this crap without rioting in the streets?   I’ve never been there, but I’m informed Oklahoma is a very conservative and religious state 

I’m not going to call it religious zealotry as much as I’m going to call it subjugated women being submissive and deferential to the insistence of men to control the bodies of women and bend them to their will. 

What’s surprised me most is how few women know extreme the new Oklahoma abortion restrictions are and how even fewer seem to be roused into taking action.   I know that feminism isn’t what it once was and many young women seem more interested in squeezing into a pair of skinny jeans than marching in the streets demanding their reproductive rights be respected.  

Because I can assure them wherever you they there is someone who is thinking right now, “Those restrictions in Oklahoma are fine, but they don’t go far enough.” 

It is not okay when women are treated like ignorant children and breed mares by forces outside of their control. If the bodies of men were being regulated and restricted in this way there would be armed insurrection in the streets of Oklahoma. 

That isn’t to suggest women should take up the gun, but meekly turning the cheek and hoping things will just work themselves out if they don’t protest won’t get them a damn thing except more Draconian legislation designed to take away a woman’s choice. 

Well-behaved women rarely make history and they don’t preserve, protect or defend their basic human rights either. 


If young women are “utterly complacent about the state of affairs” maybe it’s because their mothers and sisters were too successful and made things too easy for them. Where there is no struggle there is no progress and for too many kids today a struggle to them means trying to squeeze into some skinny jeans. 

While the defenders of Roe v. Wade were fighting to keep it from being overturned, the pro-lifers were moving on multiple fronts and if they couldn’t get rid of Roe, by God, they would do everything they could to make getting an abortion as difficult, shameful and humiliating as possible. 

Parental notification. Waiting periods. Slide shows of fetuses. Spousal permission required. And when that doesn’t work close down as many abortion clinics as possible and watch the number of physicians willing to provide abortions dwindle. 

You’ve got to give the pro-life forces credit. They had a strategy. They had the money and organization. They had the boots on the ground. They worked the plan and while they haven’t accomplished the Grand Plan yet by overturning Roe, they haven’t given up on it. They’re probably praying for Ruth Bader Ginsburg to hold on until 2012 for a Republican president to appoint her replacement and give John Roberts the sixth vote he needs. 

To what’s left of contemporary feminism I have a message: If you think you can sit back safe, snug and secure in the thought where you are and what happens to women in Oklahoma means nothing to you, you’re living in a fool’s paradise. If the time comes to assert control over your reproductive organs, your silence won’t save you. Repression doesn’t make exceptions for passive non-combatants. You can play the part of Switzerland if you want. When the deal goes down nobody in Oklahoma will give a damn about you either. 

Is this the future of abortion "choice?"

When the day this becomes what “choice” means for a woman in America wanting to end an unwanted pregnancy, maybe they’ll wish they had done something while they still could.

One thought on “Abortion is Not O.K. in Oklahoma.

  1. Rarely has a post by you stirred such a negative response from me. I agree that this new law is harsh and invasive, but you have chosen a critique no better than the male politicians championing it. You may not be asserting your “God-given right to control a woman’s reproductive organs,” but you seem to have no problem doing so over a woman’s opinion or decision to protest. What makes you an expert on the thoughts, feelings and motivations of women in Oklahoma?

    Silence will not save us; it’s true. And condescension, the overwhelming tone of this post, is one of the most powerful tools men use to silence. So, I’m speaking up.


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