You are ambitious and decide to pursue a career in the medical arts field. You enroll in an sonography (ultrasound) training course. You are told at the course orientation that female students are expected to be guinea pigs for all students in the class – male and female – for transvaginal (vaginally invasive) ultrasound training (peer-to-peer transvaginal ultrasounds). Say you are a female student. You and two other female students complain, objecting to being guinea pigs.
The training program’s officials and instructors do not support you. In fact, they threaten your grades, status in the program and careers.
Under this pressure your two fellow students buckle under and become guinea pigs. You do not. Consequently you are: told by the program’s chair to find another school if you do not wish to be probed; told by the clinic and laboratory coordinator that you would suffer academically and professionally by refusing the participate; and told by the lab tech that you would be blacklisted at local hospitals. Lastly your instructor also threatens to bar you from a local hospital, gives you two undeserved failing grades, and yells at you for an hour until you have a panic attack.
The above actually happened at Florida’s Valencia College, (which receives federal funds) and the people in the above positions were all women.
Feeling wronged, two of the students quit the program and sue in Federal District Court. In the interim, the school’s employees end the practice of peer-to-peer transvaginal ultrasounds.
In District Court the case is dismissed. The Judge claims that the students’ complaints about orders to surrender their bodily privacy and undergo a vaginal probe is not protected speech; rather “school-sponsored expression.” (This makes no sense to me. How does a school sponsor speech against itself? And how do students originate school sponsored speech? Are student’s school sponsors?).
The case is appealed. The 11th Circuit Court rules for the students, and remands the case to the District Court to deal with damages, injunctive relief, and fees and costs, saying:
Even under the broader test that a ‘search’ is ‘any governmental act that violates a reasonable expectation of privacy,’ each ultrasound clearly constituted a search,” Pryor wrote. “‘It is obvious’ that the ‘compelled intrusion into the body…infringes an expectation of privacy that society is prepared to recognize as reasonable.”
I realize that medical students, in all fields, use one another to practice on. That’s fine, I suppose, for learning to draw blood, give shots, listen to hearts, etc. But for goodness sake, demanding, and then browbeating and threatening women into being vaginally probed goes far, far beyond any bounds of reason.
Oddly I do not recall any feminists protesting this case. Or maybe it’s not so odd, as feminists generally are absent wherever there are actual violations of real women. Ask Paula Jones, or the thousands of Muslim women with mutilated genitals.
But despite all that, it is nice to see the little guys win one for a change. And I hope some people at Valencia College are fired. I’m sure the IRS or the USDA food police have opening’s for them. The sonography program’s bullies will fit right in.