It is a perpetual curiosity why humans feel a burning desire to believe in the existence of a supreme being that controls the universe and rewards its followers with life everlasting after their physical lives end. It is the impetus for nearly all religions, and according to believers, the reason for their morality and doing good works on Earth. There was a time when religion was a personal matter, and although there have always been proselytizers and missionaries, the past thirty years have witnessed a concerted effort by Christians to impose their will on the entire population as directed by their namesake, Jesus Christ. Since the beginning of the 112th Congress, Republicans have taken up the mantle of evangelicals who are determined to force their bible beliefs that women are birth machines, and although they were thwarted in Congress, Republican-controlled states have made great strides to ensure that regardless the circumstances, if a woman is impregnated, she must give birth.
It is difficult to keep up with the myriad laws that states pass aimed at eliminating a woman’s right to choose her own reproductive health, and it seems that there is no limit to the tactics the pro-life crowd is willing to go to circumvent Roe v. Wade. In Kansas, Governor Sam Brownback and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives recently passed what may be the harshest laws in the country to guarantee there is never a situation where abortion is necessary, even in the case of a 10 year old girl.
A doctor in Kansas, Ann Neuhaus, had her medical license revoked after Operation Rescue obtained 11 cases of girls ranging from 10 – 17 years old who sought abortions due to mental health issues. The state board claims the doctor’s examinations were not thorough based on the available records, and that she failed to recommend counseling or hospitalization after the initial exam. Dr. Neuhaus refused to include too much identifying information in the records because she worried that eventually they would wind up in the wrong hands and violate the patient’s privacy; Operation Rescue verified her concerns when they got hold of the cases. The doctor scoffed at whether or not the abortions were necessary and said claiming the abortions were not “medically necessary qualifies as gross incompetence. Someone’s 10 years old, and they were raped by their uncle and they understand that they’ve got a baby growing in their stomach and they don’t want that. You’re going to send this girl for a brain scan and some blood work and put her in a hospital?” Well, apparently that is what happens in the case of rape and incest in Kansas and it is in line with the state’s other bible-inspired forced-birth laws.
In May, the Kansas Republicans passed a rash of extremely harsh abortion bills that allow doctors to take drastic measures to keep their patients from getting abortions. In one measure, a law bans Planned Parenthood clinics from receiving federal funds and despite a judge blocking implementation of the law, the state is spending hundreds-of-thousands of dollars defending it. Last year the Republicans approved licensing regulations aimed at three abortion providers and when a judge temporarily blocked the Draconian regulations, religious fanatic Sam Brownback planned to enact the same regulations to circumvent the court’s ruling. Apparently in Kansas, the Christian bible supersedes the judicial system, and they included an expanded conscience protection bill that endangers the life of the mother with approval of a truly savage Christian governor.
The conscience protection bill affords legal safeguards for providers who refuse to participate in abortions, and pro-choice activists are concerned the bill goes too far by allowing pharmacists to refuse dispensing contraceptives and allowing doctors to withhold cancer treatment if they believe it will harm a fetus. The law also mandates that doctors lie about the health risks from abortions, gives pharmacists power to withhold chemotherapy treatments, allows sales tax on abortions, mandates doctors to tell women that abortions cause breast cancer, and establishes personhood at the moment of fertilization.
These laws are the product of religious dogmata that 1) forces a doctor to lie which is a violation of their Hippocratic Oath and the bible’s prohibition on lying, 2) jeopardizes the health of a woman with cancer, which is a death penalty in violation of the bible’s prohibition on murder, and 3) gives a pharmacist power to make life and death medical decisions despite the recommendations of a real doctor.
What is astounding is that these so-called Christians have no qualms condemning women to death to save a fetus, or forcing rape and incest victims to give birth regardless the mental condition or age of a patient. The Republicans in Kansas apparently know more about women’s health care issues than women or licensed physicians and it is the ultimate intrusion of government into the private lives and bodies of the women they are supposed to serve. Representative Annie Kuether (D) said, “We have all this time to debate bills that discriminate against some of the people and tell women that they will be ruled by men,” and that is the heart of the matter. Remember, when the U.S. Congress was debating whether or not contraception should be included in health plans, Republicans convened a panel of male religious leaders to testify that contraception was in violation of their religious freedom and therefore should be withheld from women. It is but one more example of the Christian bible’s ideology that men are the head of a woman and have the right to make decisions concerning their reproductive health and when they are allowed to have children.
Republicans claim they want smaller government, but they are panting to impose their bible ideology on women with the full authority of the law and it is not limited to backwater states either. The personhood movements in more than 20 states show no signs of letting up, and there is even a movement to amend the U.S. Constitution defining a person as “the moment of fertilization” with all the rights in the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, and it supersedes the rights of the woman carrying the single-celled organism. At this point, women should be well aware that Republicans have no regard for them in any way shape or form whether it is opposing equal pay for equal work or protecting them from violence and it all originates with the Christian bible.
Americans have every right to believe in a supreme being and worship according to their particular faith’s mythology and dogma. However, they do not have the right to impose their beliefs on any other American and especially not under the auspices of the Republican Party, the United States Congress, or individual state legislatures. Women have every right to make their own healthcare decisions regardless if it violates a Christian’s conscience or their precious little story book, and yet Republicans are hell-bent on putting women in their biblical place as subordinates of men and beholden to their personal religious beliefs. It is the ultimate expression of religious fascism and intrusion into women’s personal lives, bodies, economic well-being, and religious freedom Christians and Republicans claim is so dear to them.
There is one thing Republicans are overlooking; this is an election year and after a solid year-and-a-half of the Republican war on women, there will be retribution in November. The attempts at subjecting women to the whims of religious misogynists, patriarchs, Catholic bishops, and domineering Republicans will not fade from women’s memories or the men who love them. The war on women is also a war on equal rights and with women making up over half the population, Republicans are playing a dangerous game with their political futures because women are insulted, angry, and waiting patiently to wreak havoc on the men who have spent the past year-and-a-half using their authority as legislators to put them in the place the bible and their religious liberty demands; at the mercy of men.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.