Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and refers to a body of knowledge itself that can be rationally explained and reliably applied. Conversely, superstition has its basis in supernatural causality meaning that one event leads to the cause of another without any natural process linking the two events, such as in astrology, religion, and omens that all contradict rationally and reliably tested details. Even though it is the 21st century, there are entire groups of people living in highly-developed technological societies who espouse superstition over science regardless their beliefs are without merit and untestable, and by themselves are little more than oddities in modern civilization and closer in knowledge and understanding to primitive human beings than 21st century humans. Republicans have taken to championing primeval causes for their reality-challenged supporters, and left to their own devices are creating a hazardous existence for women.
In the war on women, Republicans in Texas and Ohio are striving to outdo each other in subverting women’s reproductive rights, and Ohio has surged ahead of Texas in the latest attack on women and in the process redefined pregnancy based on superstition that would likely boggle even prehistoric human beings’ minds. Governor John Kasich signed a state budget that contains the harshest anti-abortion measures imaginable, and to justify ending a woman’s right to choose, Republicans redefined pregnancy to mean “a fetus begins developing from the moment of conception” that, for all intents and purposes means a single-celled zygote is a fetus.
In human beings, the fetal stage of prenatal development starts at about the beginning of the 11th week in gestational age, which is the 9th week after fertilization and after the embryonic stage. Ohio Republicans cannot comprehend that most fertilized eggs never implant in the uterus even 11-12 weeks after fertilization, and are sloughed off before implanting. What that means is that many Ohio women who were never actually pregnant are now regarded as pregnant because according to superstitious Republicans, the zygote turned embryo they were carrying is a “fetus” at the moment of conception; at least in Ohio.
The Ohio budget contained other anti-women’s choice measures meant to make abortions “a relic of the past” as Speaker of the House John Boehner said when addressing anti-abortion advocates during a March for Life protest in January. Ohio Republicans are doing their best to fulfill Boehner’s promise. One item forbids publicly-funded hospitals from entering into agreements with nearby abortion clinics for emergency care transfers necessary for clinics to care for patients with complications, and it will effectively mean shuttering 12 clinics that provide abortions in Ohio. Kasich’s budget also places doctors providing abortions under a requirement that they have to perform a fetal ultrasound and force the mother to listen to or see the heartbeat, and failure to comply could mean the doctor faces prosecution under the law tucked away in the budget.
The budget also transfers $1.4 million in funding for Planned Parenthood to what evangelical Republicans call “crisis pregnancy centers” because they do not offer abortion services, but have been heavily criticized for providing more superstitious and false information. The idea of the type of family planning Planned Parenthood offers will be “a relic of the past” in Ohio and women will likely be offered counseling steeped in superstition such as “a fetus begins at the moment of conception” and likely a person worthy of all the rights and protections afforded under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.
What is in store for Ohio women is similar to Texas Republican legislature’s plans for living breathing women (and men), especially low-income minorities who are without healthcare. Closing down abortion and family planning clinics also eliminates services the poor depend on for contraception, STD testing, and cancer screenings that affects 25% of Texas women who are without healthcare insurance. However, the only thing that matters to Republicans in both states’ is controlling women, and if it means depriving them of healthcare, contraception, and even cancer screenings, it is justifiable, and subverting women’s rights is a value-added bonus even if it means something as fanatical as redefining pregnancy and assigning personhood to a zygote. Unfortunately for women in states like Texas and Ohio, it appears there is more than making “abortion a relic of the past;” Republicans are intent on controlling a woman’s sexuality.
Republicans boast America has the greatest healthcare in the world, but it is also the most prohibitively expensive and Americans do not have more or better access to care than citizens in other developed nations especially for the cost of giving birth according to analysis from the New York Times. According to Gerard Anderson, an economist at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, “It’s not primarily that we get a different bundle of services when we have a baby, it’s that we pay individually for each service and pay more for the services we receive.” Unfortunately, the already crippling expense is rising and for a woman barely surviving the Republicans’ low-wage economy, their choice is either falling deeper into extreme poverty, or stop having sexual relations. Why else are Republicans barring family planning services, abortions, and eventually contraception unless they intend for intimacy to result in pregnancy?
In Ohio Republicans used stealth to redefine pregnancy, ban abortion services, and restrict family planning to women undergoing religious counseling on celibacy or becoming perpetual birth machines; in Texas evangelical governor Rick Perry is forcing through harsh abortion bans and assailing the democratic process by attacking protestors railing against Puritanical rule. Perry accused Wendy Davis’ filibuster and protestors of hijacking democracy calling her filibuster “unprecedented anarchy” and promised that “We will not allow the breakdown of decorum and decency to prevent us from doing what the people of this state hired us to do.” However, it is highly unlikely Texans hired Republicans to control women’s reproductive rights, but since Texas, like Ohio, has become a theocratic dictatorship, the will of the people, or women’s choice, is now the purview of evangelical extremists and it does not bode well for America’s women who are on the verge of joining their sisters in harsh Islamic countries to exist at the will and whim of male religious fanatics.
America’s women are in trouble, and Republicans will use any means to exert control over their reproductive health whether it is contradicting medical science and redefining pregnancy, threatening doctors with imprisonment for not lying to women, or banning family planning that is outside the realm of abstinence or perpetual birthing. Ohio Republicans snuck a personhood law into their state budget, and Texas Republicans are on the verge of suspending democracy to force women’s compliance to evangelical edicts regarding reproduction, and like any religious frenzy, it will only get worse. If the current Republican attacks on women’s reproductive health are their promise for better outreach to women, then what comes next can only be complete subjugation.
It is imperative that men who have any regard for their wives, sisters, mothers, and daughters step up and join millions of women who are in jeopardy of losing control of their reproductive health choices and start protesting loudly against Nazi tactics being used against over half the population while they still can. At the rate Republicans in states are proceeding, America’s women are on the verge of suffering forced abstinence or perpetual pregnancy and the saddest aspect of all is evangelical women pushing to enforce their pathetic plight on every woman in America. The tragedy is men’s silence that will subject their daughters, wives, mothers, and sisters to lives rivaling women under harsh Sharia Law.
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.