*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*
Since there is a pressing need for a much-needed respite from the dizzying cluster-f*ck going on in Trump’s bizarre administration, it is worth taking a brief look at what kind of abominable Republican machinations to put women in their place are being implemented in Republican theocracies in the former Confederacy. Although it hasn’t yet occurred at the federal level, Republicans in the states are ramping up their attacks on women’s right to control their own bodies and be autonomous American citizens; something religious Republicans find intolerable.
In two Southern theocracies recently, religious Republicans in Arkansas and Oklahoma have passed, or are close to passing, legislation punishing women who think they have civil rights as American citizens and autonomy from religious Republican men. What is clear in each of the two instances cited is that religious Republicans are passing legislation giving men, even men that are violent rapists, control over women’s bodies and final say over their reproductive rights.
In one case in Oklahoma, Republicans are in the process of passing legislation requiring that women seeking an abortion must first obtain written permission to control her own body from her sexual partner. The religious patriarchal bill also legally requires a woman to provide the prospective father’s name to her OB/GYN and “would forestall the procedure if the man wanted the opportunity to challenge paternity;” anything to force the woman’s gestation period to past the fetus’ viability time period to prohibit termination.
However, that Oklahoma bill, as bizarre as it is, fairly pales in comparison to the recently-passed Arkansas law that allows a rapist to wield control over the woman he sexually assaulted by forcing her to carry the object of a crime to term; whether she likes it or not. Worse yet is that the new law allows the rapist to sue a physician who performed a termination because they did not get written permission from the rapist first.
The co-founder of Arkansas Abortion Support Network, Karen Musick, told The Daily Beast that she could not even begin to fathom how this particular piece of religious legislation had actually become the law. Ms. Musick said:
“There is zero part of me that understands why a rapist or someone who got someone pregnant against their will, maybe incest, would have any right in that decision. I cannot wrap my brain around the fact that there would be anyone who thinks otherwise.”
Ms. Musick likely doesn’t know much about patriarchal evangelicals driving the movement or she wouldn’t make such a foolish and ignorant remark. Apparently she’s missed the past 40 years’ worth of religious white males attempting to control women’s bodies as well as make their medical decisions for them; especially where they pertain to highly personal reproductive decisions.
One of the religious legislation’s Republican co-sponsors is also president of the evangelical Arkansas Right to Life; a church subsidiary of America’s largest evangelical pro-life organization, the National Right to Life Committee. State Representative Andy Mayberry assailed the routinely and reliably safe medical procedure called D&E (dilation and evacuation) “a gruesome, barbaric procedure.” D&E is typically utilized “mid-second trimester” (12 weeks) well within the court-ruled non-viable period of 22 weeks.
Since Mayberry gets all of his medical expertise from a non-existent version of somebody’s phony Christian “bible,” he proclaimed that the medical profession’s safest routine abortion measure “is one that no civilized society should embrace.” Mayberry’s comment informs precisely why America’s bastardized version of Christianity is in no possible universe a replacement for real medical science. Any sane human being, and even “real” Christians, knows it just isn’t.
The legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arkansas, Holly Dickson, related to the Huffington Post that the religious bill is not constitutional. Ms. Dickson said:
“They created a whole new right ― the right of a husband or family member to sue a doctor on behalf of an adult patient. I cannot begin to tell you what the intent was, but we have raised concerns about that provision and the entire rest of the bill, which is unconstitutional.”
The Arkansas branch of the ACLU said it plans to challenge the religious law in court before it goes into effect later this year. It is noteworthy that the civil rights organization will most certainly be successful in a lawsuit to stop the establishment of religion by virtue of a Republican religious law. Thus far six other states have passed “nearly identical laws” and in each of the four states where the law was challenged in court – Louisiana, Alabama, West Virginia, and Mississippi – religion lost because the courts hewed to the Constitution and not some odd-ball version of biblical evangelicalism.
The real danger to women is that prior to Trump, the Obama Department of Justice was diligent in protecting their right to control their own bodies and make their own medical decisions; because they acknowledged that women are not property of the church. Now, however, there is an evangelical malcontent as the nation’s top law enforcer so women can expect no assistance to protect their constitutionally- and judicially-protected rights as autonomous human beings.
The idea that women are not under authority of a man, even if it is a man that violently raped them, is abhorrent to religious Republicans. If any American thinks these kinds of abominable religious laws are not being discussed right now at the federal level, they are deluded and have been focused too sharply on the abomination in the Oval; an abomination who will happily sign any legislation putting women where he and religious Republicans think they belong; under authority of a man even if that man raped and impregnated them. This is just one aspect of how Trump and his religious Republican cohort intend to make America great.
**The above article contains news reports with commentary by R Muse**
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.