Showing posts with label Reproductive Rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reproductive Rights. Show all posts

Friday, October 6, 2017

Birth Controlled

This Is How Violence Is Cutting Off Reproductive Choices Gina Rushton, Buzzfeed News August 14, 2017.


























SO, today there is news that the DT administration is enthusiastically continuing both the destruction of the Obama legacy and the Republican war on women. The decimated and laughably named Health and Human Services department of the US government issued new rules today which will allow a “broad range of employers -- including nonprofits, private firms and publicly traded companies” to withhold contraceptive coverage through their employee health plans. Since I am pretty much drained of the ability to express fresh outrage any more this week, I am posting something I wrote a few years ago on the subject of the Republicans, the Christian right wing and the agenda to subjugate women through reproductive control. It’s long-ish but let’s face it — this bullshit has been going on so long, and in so many twisted ways and through so many underhanded attacks on women’s autonomy and ability to live independent lives-— maybe even an essay this long cannot adequately cover it.

Wait, Consent Means WHAT?  (originally published May 1, 2012)























Individual freedom and the right to bodily autonomy - the principles behind our understanding of consent - were the principles upon which many of us assume the Supreme Court's Roe v Wade decision was based, although the case itself was focused on a citizen's right to privacy around making decisions concerning her bodily autonomy and medical care.  Laws which deny a woman the right to bodily autonomy - including laws that deny a woman the right to control what happens to her own body in favor of giving any potential fetus the "right" to use her body against her will or without her consent - are an unconstitutional denial of individual freedom because they relegate a woman to a legal status that is less than human. The legal precedent that a woman actually has the right to consent to the risks and responsibilities of pregnancy, and an equal right to decline consent to those risks and responsibilities was thought to be finally established. But since Roe v Wade was argued as a case for privacy, it has never been a guarantee of women's reproductive rights. It has always been vulnerable to attack, either through court challenges or through legislation which has chipped away at it.

One way or another, the
Republican Party will find
a way to control those sluts!
From the moment Roe v Wade was decided, the religious right began working to overturn it. Outraged that women had at last been granted the right to choose if and when to be pregnant -  a right which conflicted with the patriarchal order which demands that men have complete authority over women - the "moral majority" began a campaign of slut-shaming, raising the specter- never far beneath the surface in any misogynist culture - that uncontrolled women would engage in wildly promiscuous and "irresponsible" sex and darkly warning that the new law would bring about the downfall of American civil society  However, when this tactic initially only gained traction within the most conservative and misogynistic segments of society, conservatives realized that the problem was that a majority of Americans in the late 1970's actually respected a woman's right to choose - and that most Americans believed that the consensual sexual activity of women was no more society's business than the consensual sexual activity of men.

Religious conservatives soon zeroed in on "consent" as a potentially malleable concept that they might be able to use to drive a wedge between women and their human rights, thereby setting the stage to put women back in their traditional place.  In order to overcome the legal issue of consent, religious and political conservatives began working tirelessly - using tactics including slut-shaming, abstinence-only purity campaigns inserted into public schools, and falsely equating microscopic blastocysts with full term babies - to entrench the notion that recreational sex involving the conscious avoidance of pregnancy is shameful and that only marital sex which welcomes the prospect of conception should be recognized and supported by society. Their aim was to increase public acceptance of explicitly Christian sexual mores in order to garner voter support for their social agenda. The ultimate goal was to get this explicitly Christian theology enshrined into law: that whenever a woman has consented to sex, she has automatically consented to pregnancy, too.
That's right, ladies, when you consent to sex, you consent to
pregnancy. And when you don't consent to sex, you
consent to pregnancy, too! You and your uteri are in a perpetual
state of consent to pregnancy! Ain't patriarchy grand?

Eventually, extreme conservatives began to worry that exceptions for rape and incest could possibly become a loophole through which some lying women could escape unwanted pregnancy, leading to the push for the elimination of exceptions for rape and incest as legal justifications for abortion. Building on the false premise that a conceptus is equal to a full-term baby, conservatives argued that a fertilized egg, no matter how it came into existence, is an innocent life deserving of protection. Completely ignoring the question of whether a woman who has been raped is deserving of society's protection and adroitly sidestepping Roe v Wade, forced-birth groups wrote bills denying abortion rights to women even in the case of rape or incest which their political arm, the Republican party, sponsored in state legislatures. In one giant leap of cruel imagination, conservatives managed to establish as a serious idea that even when a woman does not consent to sex, her consent to pregnancy should be automatic in the eyes of the law.

Lest there be any doubt about the intentions of the religious conservatives and their hired guns in the state and federal legislatures to render the legal notion of female consent completely irrelevant and completely powerless, forced-birth organizations created "personhood bills" which they instructed their Republican lackeys to sponsor and pass in various states. "Personhood" bills, if signed into law, would confer the full rights of a "person" - a deliberately vague term, but generally considered to be equal to a live-born child - to all fertilized ova. Such laws would criminalize most forms of female-controlled contraception, emergency contraception, assisted reproduction and, of course, all abortions. They would also open the door to state-sponsored invasion of women's privacy and health care rights since legally protected "persons" could potentially be "murdered" before a conception is discovered to have taken place. Furthermore, such laws would criminalize anyone who attempted to help a woman abort the conceptus "person" either by performing a surgical procedure, providing medical abortifacents, or driving a woman across state lines to obtain an abortion in a non-"Personhood" state.
Got that, gals?

"Personhood" laws are the holy grail of the forced-birth movement and the ultimate goal of religious conservatives. If passed, such laws would strip women of all bodily autonomy in matters of reproduction. Women would be denied female-controlled birth control, they would be denied emergency birth control if their partner's birth control fails or he refuses to use it and they would be denied abortions - even if they are impregnated by rape and even if their health or lives are endangered by a pregnancy. In short, thanks to the twisted culture of "life" pushed so ruthlessly onto them by religious conservatives, women would be compelled to sacrifice their happiness, risk their health and even lose their lives because a single-celled conceptus has been granted a right to occupy her body which supersedes all of her rights including her humanity, her dignity and her right to life.

Keep that contraception out
of those sluts' hands!
The Republican Party, which has degenerated to little more than the political arm of the conservative religious right, has been striving relentlessly to ensure that women will be legally forced to bear all of the negative physical, social and most of the financial repercussions for any unplanned pregnancy, while the churches themselves underline and enforce the subordinate and inferior position of women in the culture. Through tireless efforts to withhold access to contraception from women, the religious right ensures that reproductive control remains primarily in the hands of men. Thanks to ideologically-driven appointments to the FDA and the business interests of both drug companies and the medical establishment, only male-controlled methods of reliable contraception are available without a prescription, forcing women to navigate (and pay for) "care" from layers of medical and pharmacy gatekeepers before they are permitted to obtain reliable female-controlled contraception.

Religious patriarchy allows society to label unplanned pregnancy a "women's issue" in spite of the fact that it takes both a man and a woman - both failing to use effective contraception - to create an unplanned pregnancy. The fact that society allows unplanned pregnancy to be framed as a women's issue reveals the depth of the unconscious misogyny which lays the responsibility for - and the consequences of - an unplanned pregnancy squarely in the woman's lap, while little thought - and almost no censure - is directed toward the "guilt", the "promiscuity" or the "irresponsibility" of the man involved.

The old joke about keeping women
barefoot and pregnant?
Not so funny anymore.
More insidiously, when pregnancy and the laws restricting women's rights over when and if they will become pregnant is framed as a women's issue, conservatives ensure that half the population at least may ignore the very real danger to women's health and safety. Few men pay attention when women's rights are being stripped away because the phrase "women's issue" is unconsciously received as a signal that the subject is unimportant and less than men's other concerns. When the subject of reproductive rights is framed as a "women's issue", even men who love the women in their lives can pretend that there is "nothing to worry about" as their wives, their sisters and their daughters are slowly but surely reduced to the legal status of walking wombs compelled under threat of criminal prosecution to gestate the offspring of any man who succeeds in impregnating them - whether by mutual and loving consent, by accidental failure of birth control or by force.

When the subject of reproductive rights is framed as a "women's issue", even men who love the women in their lives can pretend that there is  "nothing to worry about" as their wives, their sisters and their daughters are slowly but surely reduced to the legal status of walking wombs, compelled under threat of criminal prosecution to gestate the offspring of any man who succeeds in impregnating them - whether by mutual and loving consent, by accidental failure of birth control or by force.

In this way, the religious patriarchy ensures both that women cannot control their own reproduction completely (since women - even abstinent women - can be, and often are, the victims of forced impregnation) and that no man - not even a rapist - needs to accept the decision of a mere woman on the question of whether or not he can use her body to reproduce. That is because the "right to life" of a conceptus is, in fact, really just an extension of men's rights. A conceptus is always some man's potential offspring, and at its core, religious teaching is all about enshrining the right of every man to reproduce. If women are allowed the freedom to choose, some men would almost certainly have difficulty finding a willing mate with whom to procreate. Religions which enforce the authority of men over women and which restrict the freedom and choices of women therefore speak to the root of cultural misogyny - men's fear of the potential power of women to control their (men's) ability to reproduce. "Right to life" is actually the trojan horse by which male rights over women are being inserted directly into women's uteri. That's right. It's a great big legal 'fuck you, women'!

While religions pay lip service to condemning male brutality and offer assurances on how a "godly man" behaves, they strenuously resist efforts to enact laws which could increase rape prosecutions or extend protections for women against sexual assault, citing concerns about - you can guess - men's rights. The ultimate social priority of religion is to confirm and enforce the authority of men over women. To that end, religious conservatives - and their men in government - are willing to grant even rapists and abusers privileges over women, to safeguard the authority of "godly" men. In short, in order to protect the privilege of all men, themselves included of course, even "godly" men who profess to abhor rape willingly award rapists and abusers the right to reproduce using women's bodies against their will. As always, there is no thought spared for the humanity of the women who would be sacrificed to this Christian ideology. At best, they are dismissed as the "blessed" recipients of a "gift from God".

This is already a real thing in
the conservative Christian world
In the Republican vision of the future - as in the past it idealizes - "freedom" and "rights" will only fully belong to men and to the potential offspring of men, while women will be, at best, reduced once again to second-class citizenship, and, at worst, returned to sexual and reproductive slavery. Political, financial and social oppression of women, reproductive slavery and viciously misogynistic church-mandated rules of correct behavior and dress (for women only) are the unceasing reality for millions of women in theocracies around the world.  All of these forms of oppression of women are rooted in the desire of these conservative societies to control the sexuality and reproductive freedom of their women. Almost without exception, societies based upon religious laws which both deny women fully human status and hold them accountable for the sexual activity of both genders strictly limit female freedom and impose exaggerated requirements for modest dress on their women and girls.  If a Christian theocracy is successfully installed by conservatives in the United States, ever-deepening oppression will become the inevitable future for women and girls here.

Religious conservatives want Roe v Wade overturned because they oppose the principles of individual freedom and the right to bodily autonomy for women upon which the decision was based.  That denial of those rights would relegate women to less than human status is exactly the point. Second-class status for women would be a feature, not a bug, for Christian conservatives since the Bible commands that women are not equal but subordinate to men. Bible-based religion asserts that man is the original human and woman, taken from man, is less than human. This is the reality of Bible-based governance. It seems like a nightmare from the dark ages, or some dystopian futuristic novel, but this is really happening right now in the land of the free and the home of the brave.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tuesday Tonic - Bernadette's Solution!



Sit back and enjoy a little nugget of awesome on a Tuesday morning.

Big Bang Theory:  Bernadette doesn't want to have a child. (Season 5, Episode 12)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Will Doctors Finally Stand Up For Good Medicine?

Will doctors finally refuse to play the "enforcer"?























Reposting this March 2012 essay because the (usually Republican) war on women's reproductive rights has actually accelerated since then. (quelle surprise!) That's the bad news. The good news is that, unlike when I wrote the article below, a few doctors are finally beginning to speak out publicly against being compelled by state legislatures into the role of enforcers of ideologically-driven, unconstitutional, medically unnecessary and unethical laws. Very few individuals are willing, yet, to bring down upon themselves the wrath of powerful religious and political elites, but there are notable exceptions. Usually it is a small group of doctors, rather than individuals, speaking up, probably because there is some sense of security in numbers.

The war on women is continuing apace. Nearly all of the hard-earned protections that women fought for and won in the latter half of the 20th century have been gutted:
How much more will doctors take?

Since the rise of the Tea Party movement, the Right has found stunning success in its attempts to turn back decades of gains in the rights and status of women. The efforts to turn back the clock on American women focus on reproductive rights but also attack the changing roles in the workplace, in the family and in government that reproductive rights have helped to allow women to assume.

Anti-woman proposals that have been percolating in the right-wing fringe for years – such as “personhood” measures – are suddenly supported by mainstream presidential candidates. Rights that women have come to take for granted – like the right to access birth control – have suddenly come under attack for the first time in decades. How the War on Women Became Mainstream: Turning Back the Clock in Tea Party America, People for the American Way, 2012.

There was a time when the very idea that a U.S. state legislature might pass laws compelling doctors to literally lie to patients because of a religious, ideological agenda would only have been imaginable within the realm of fiction. Today, the shocking reality is that states really do force doctors to lie to patients, telling them that safe, legal procedures can lead to cancer or other serious health complications in order to coerce them to acquiesce to the dictates of Christian authoritarianism.

People are being forced by government to lie to other people about potentially life-changing, even life-threatening medical care. It hardly seems possible, but this is our bizarre reality in a country where one group's religious beliefs are now being forced upon all citizens. It's going to take a united effort of millions of ethical individuals to push back against the well-organized, highly lucrative religious/political machine that has been riding roughshod over women's freedom and humanity for the past couple of decades.

Previously posted in March 2012:

Recently, a doctor stepped forward to call government intrusion into the private decisions of female citizens the outrage that it is. I think that doctor's statement bears reposting. Writing anonymously, the doctor made a case for principled medicine, and provided some tips on how doctors should practice civil disobedience in states where these ghastly laws are in effect. The essay was originally posted on the blog Whatever.  Also anonymously. I think that is disturbing.

Christian terrorism is rarely called
out by a cowed and cowardly media.
When citizens feel they can only speak out "anonymously", the chilling irony should not be lost on us - it should be ringing alarm bells. Loudly. People who still believe in the principles of equality and freedom, even if they do not agree that it might be a good idea to consult experts before writing terrible laws, ought to be worried when free speech is suppressed through intimidation. People who value a free society should be horrified that there are citizens among them who are too frightened to speak openly when they disagree with the government.

Some doctors are angry about being used by the government to intimidate a subset of its citizens. They are rightly aghast at being compelled to be the brutal enforcers of this Republican governmental violation of women's most basic human dignity - doctors being forced by law to commit state-mandated rape as a method of anti-abortion rights coercion - when there is no medical reason for compulsory testing of this kind prior to an abortion. Some have begun to realize that part of the anti-abortion strategy is to undermine both their authority as medical experts and their trusted position in society. But most of these doctors remain silent.  And the very few who do speak out, tend to do so anonymously. Why?

Christian jubilation after the
murder of Dr. Tiller sends a clearly
threatening message to doctors.
One reason is pressure from within the profession. Some doctors are perfectly happy to put religious ideology over the welfare of their female patients and may privately support laws that force their peers to bow to church authority.  Many other doctors are understandably alarmed by the violent rhetoric and physical harassment directed at pro-choice doctors by anti-choice groups, so they pressure their peers not to offer the full range of women's health services, not to speak out about the immorality of withholding appropriate medical care, not to make waves which could endanger them all. The few doctors who dare to protest unconstitutional laws based on religious ideology are intimidated into anonymity by threats to their livelihoods and reputations and even threats to their physical safety. They are presented with an ethical catch-22 situation: they know that invasive procedures - including vaginal penetration with an ultrasound wand against a patient's will and for no legitimate medical reason - goes against everything most doctors say they believe about doing no harm to a patient, but those who try to apply those ethics to women patients are threatened with prosecution if they disobey these draconian anti-woman laws.

Already wealthy, tax-exempt churches
lobbied for access to federal funds to
duplicate secular public services. The churches
can  supplement their grants with cash
from their own fat reserves and wait patiently
for the cash-strapped secular agencies
 to starve and shut down, leaving the field
clear for a total church takeover.
The intimidation of doctors is just the latest in a steady round of attacks on traditionally respected professions by an unholy alliance of religious and corporate elites and their political arm, the Republican party. Their long term strategy is to replace the current political system in the United States - democratic republicanism - with an authoritarian theocratic regime: a Bible-based government, led by godly men and answerable only to God (whose "commands" are, conveniently, communicated only through those same godly men). That strategy has relied heavily on the tactic of stirring up fear, suspicion and resentment to undermine public confidence in an array of once-trusted professions while simultaneously planting and building churches around the country. The targeted groups have long been hated by religious hardliners and wealthy, powerful elites because of their relative inability to control the information coming from these sources. The goal is to replace the secular resources that serve society with church-controlled resources.

Republican candidates like
Rick Santorum vied for the title
of "most devout Christian"
to the delight of the
religious elites.
Republican strategists capitalized on the natural (but usually milder) anti-intellectualism that is common in a population that believes it can point to its own physical strength, raw ingenuity and dogged determination for the country's success as much as, if not more than, the work of highly educated, high-falutin' "experts". When tough economic times hit the middle class hard in the late 70's and again in the early 90's, those smoldering resentments were all too easily fanned into the raging flames of a culture war. Government agencies (It's not Uncle Sam, it's big brother!), scientists (godless evilutionists!), teachers (lazy, freeloading glorified babysitters!) and journalists (It's not the free press, it's the commie, liberal media!) were the first casualties of the manufactured "populist" rejection of formerly respected experts and secular representatives of peoples' interests. Political operatives worked hard to sow doubt, distrust and contempt for the essential human resources upon which a civil society relies and they have succeeded to an alarming degree. Where once a public servant's religious views were a non-issue, today virtually any candidate for public office in the USA must pass a religious test - specifically must display Christian bona fides - to have any hope of winning a nomination.

The attack on medical doctors - probably the most trusted profession in the modern era - is a part of this series of attacks on the secular foundations of American society. It is not accidental that doctors have joined scientists, teachers and journalists in the crosshairs of Republican operatives. Like scientists and journalists before them, doctors as a group were once able to work fairly independent of ideological influences. Individual doctors brought their own beliefs to their practices, of course, but the profession as a whole was not under pressure to conform to a particular politicized religious ideology.

This state of affairs could not be permitted by the Republicans or their powerful backers. Authoritarian political systems demand ideological purity and social conformity, so doctors - like journalists and scientists before them - posed a threat to the political ambitions of the Republican party, especially in terms of their strategy to use abortion as the rallying "cause" which could impassion voters enough to vote blindly against their own interests. If left unthreatened, doctors might challenge the lying propaganda that the anti-abortion movement was spreading and puncture the bubble of misguided passion the religious right had so carefully blown up. If permitted to retain their respected and trusted position in society, doctors might undermine the attempts of religious political operatives to replace trusted public resources with private Christian agendas.

Prison for doctors?
Hence the push for legislation which targets doctors as well as women. When pressed to say what penalty abortion should bring to a "guilty party" should their dream of criminalizing abortion be realized, anti-abortion leaders usually shy away from suggesting a punishment for the women involved (probably sensing that it would be a loser at the polls), but nearly all declare that, as the "butchers" who "kill babies", doctors should be thrown into prison for murder. Sensing the target on their backs, doctors have fallen silent as wave after wave of unconstitutional and medically unsound legislation has been passed, heaping untold misery upon women.

Thus, the goals of the Republican party may soon be achieved. Doctors may be rightly disrespected for standing silently by as the medical ethics they claim to believe in are violated by these laws: as women are grossly mistreated, legal medical procedures are withheld - even in potentially life-threatening situations - and patients are harmed by bad medical practices. Furthermore, doctors may be rightly distrusted by women (and many men) for many of the same reasons, in addition to the betrayal of doctor-patient trust upon which competent health care must rest.

If principled doctors fail to act to stop this looming crisis of public confidence, the consequences for society extend far beyond the impact on doctors and women. The public confidence in the media, in teachers and in scientists has been successfully undermined with predictably terrible results. Religious conservatives may claim that their holy books can provide all of the answers to the needs of humankind, but even science's most vindictive critics turn to medical science for help when a health crisis occurs or - irony of ironies! when they need assisted reproduction using technology developed through evolutionary science - while they work tirelessly to deny that opportunity to others. Should they, and other hypocrites like them, succeed in convincing enough people that doctors, like teachers and scientists, are not respectable authorities who can be trusted, then to whom will the people be able to turn when they need real assistance?

Keeping a low profile and hoping that this madness is only a temporary cultural spasm fueled by a fringe group of religious fanatics will be a mistake. It did not work for scientists, teachers or journalists.  It did not work for the people who believed such radical theocrats could never seriously win elections and form governments. It has not been working - with frightening consequences - and the situation will only get worse as long as professionals shrink back fearfully from challenging the lies and disinformation that are being deliberately disseminated to undermine public confidence in them. I am encouraged by the letter I linked to at the top of this post, but it sure would be nice to see many more doctors stand up and say "Enough is enough!".

The manipulation of public trust in doctors, scientists, teachers, the media, and even their elected representatives is a dangerous power play by the conservative right wing. Destroying trust in the resources best-equipped to provide the public with the services it needs is a strategy which has had terrible consequences for millions of people, and ultimately could tear apart the very fabric of our civil society.  That is a game that should never have been played by anyone who loves this country and all it stands for. But the thing few people acknowledge is that the self-labelled Christian "patriots" deeply despise this country and all it stands for. They deny that the country was ever what it was, and they intend to - they are actively fighting to - destroy the American dream and replace it with a theocratic nightmare. It is a sectarian insurgency.

Are you going to stand by and let that happen?


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Beatriz Is Still In Danger



























Yesterday in El Salvador, after months of life-threatening delay, a seriously ill young woman was finally delivered of a non-viable fetus by cesarean section.  Beatriz's fetus was diagnosed with anencephaly early in the pregnancy and could not survive. The baby died within hours of its delivery, as expected.

For many people who have been watching this story, there was a collective sigh of relief; Beatriz's life has been saved!  Over here at NiftyIdeas I am relieved, yes, that one part of this woman's horror story has come to an end, but I am angry because the story does not end there.

 Beatriz is finally free of a doomed pregnancy.
 She now faces the difficult recovery from 
major abdominal surgery as well as from 
the physical and psychological fallout 
of having been made a reproductive prisoner 
of the state for several months.
One woman in El Salvador was forced to pay the price of a government bowing to political pressure and ruling that all of its citizens must obey the dictates of religious conservatives.

One woman in El Salvador was denied the right to freedom from reproductive slavery; was denied the right to "stand her ground" and defend herself from the threat of physical harm and even death.

One woman in El Salvador is a symbol for millions of women all over the world who have suffered a similar fate - or worse - and the millions more who will continue to suffer from state-sanctioned reproductive slavery and even murder.

Because she was a pregnant woman, Beatriz was denied a basic human right: the right not to have any part of her body - or her whole body - forcibly used by the state to serve the needs of another human being. That is a form of slavery. No man can legally be forced to give up control of his organs or blood to keep another human being alive - not even if that other human being is his own innocent child. Even non-pregnant women are usually permitted to protect their own bodily autonomy in the same way. The ideology called "sanctity of human life" which urges states to force pregnant women into giving up bodily autonomy no matter what the risk to themselves disappears in a puff of smoke once a fetus emerges from a womb as a living baby. Then, it can go to the devil as far as "pro-lifers" are concerned. They fight to deny babies life-saving health care, food and education after birth equally as hard as they fight to force their mothers into giving birth in the first place.

The cesarean section that Beatriz underwent yesterday was not a satisfying conclusion to a dramatic political and religious fight. The sighs of relief are premature and misplaced. Except for the long-overdue ending of her doomed pregnancy, Beatriz has suffered as horribly as it was possible to suffer because of her country's sick theocratic laws and she is still not out of danger. Beatriz was at risk for every kind of regular pregnancy injury and she has certainly suffered several. She has almost certainly suffered severe and permanent damage to her health, too and she could very likely have died. She could still die as a direct result of the chain of health repercussions that this forced pregnancy has caused.

Beatriz was forced to endure months of high risk pregnancy as a slave to other peoples' ideological demands. Like every woman who has experienced pregnancy, Beatriz will have lifelong effects to her body and her health due to the stress that even a normal, healthy pregnancy would have had on her body. Unlike most healthy women, however, Beatriz has undoubtedly suffered major repercussions which will negatively impact her health for the rest of her life. Kidney failure is not a minor, easily reversible thing which will magically disappear now that she is no longer pregnant. She may or may not ever recover from that. The triggering of a severe autoimmune disease flare up is not a minor thing which will disappear now that she is no longer pregnant. Autoimmune disorders are like a genie in a bottle - once that cork is popped and the evil genie escapes, the repercussions spiral outward from there; there is no stuffing it back inside the bottle.
Beatriz's fetus suffered from a 
fatal birth defect: anencephaly
It's brain and parts of its skull
were missing
 It could not survive.

Finally, the cesarean section itself was major abdominal surgery involving cutting through the densely muscled abdominal wall, cutting into an organ - the uterus - and removing the fetus. It should always be the last resort in normal healthy women because the risk of harm to the woman is so high. Beatriz should never have been forced to endure a doomed pregnancy for so long that her only medical option in the end was to face even more risk to her health and life by undergoing a major surgical procedure.  It was unnecessary for Beatriz to have ever been forced into that situation, and I contend that it was criminal for her government - and the theocrats who control her government - to have persistently harmed her in this way.

The risks of pregnancy have been minimized and dismissed by proponents of forced birth, to the point where the general population is almost completely ignorant of facts. The average man on the street actually believes that because it is both "natural" and commonplace, pregnancy is no big deal - that it has only trivial deleterious effects on a woman's life and health - and that labor and vaginal birth or even cesarean section are likewise no big deal, either. Pregnancy is indeed, "natural" - as are many biological functions which may exact a very high cost on the functioning organism - but it is by no means a trivial matter.

Illness, injury and even death
caused by pregnancy is a reality,
as are lost wages, high medical bills
and countless other hardships
suffered by women but ignored
or minimized by society.
Every pregnancy causes lifelong negative changes in a woman's body. No mother escapes that. These range from the universally-experienced, relatively benign, but still psychologically painful (stretch marks, loss of youthful tone in the body) to the frequently-experienced, moderately serious and both physically and psychologically devastating (permanent loss of bladder control; vaginal and perineum tearing resulting in permanent scarring, damage and pain; damage to the abdominal wall resulting in lifelong weakness and risk of hernia) to the rare, but significant number who suffer serious pregnancy harm (massive blood loss and organ failure causing lengthy and incomplete recovery; months of debilitating pregnancy complications requiring expensive, bankrupting medical care; loss of ability to work and earn a living or care for other children; loss of life).

The reality of c-section is that
it is a major surgery carrying
a risk of major complications
and months-long recovery.
Statistics for these harms are difficult to pin down because the popular narrative discourages reporting of pregnancy-related harm, and in fact many pregnancy or childbirth-related injuries and deaths are recorded as caused by whatever secondary cause stemming from the pregnancy actually killed the woman. In other words, if a woman's organs shut down due to massive blood loss in delivery, her death might be recorded as " catastrophic organ failure" and never be factored into any statistical analysis pointing to risks of pregnancy and delivery. Further, hospitals in most places are not required to report maternal injury or death statistics as a separate database.

These flaws in reporting help to conceal the extent of the risk that women take on when pregnant and it helps to perpetuate the false narrative that pregnancy is a natural, easy "choice" which is always better for a woman as well as an embryo. In fact, pregnancy is never objectively better for a woman than either abortion or never conceiving in the first place. It is much worse for her in every way - physically, psychologically, economically and legally. Obviously, human beings still wish to reproduce and many women wish to become mothers so they voluntarily risk these hardships. The problem is when society compels them to undertake these risks.

Sadly, Savita Halappanavar
did not survive her state's
determination to murder her.
When a pregnancy is voluntary, most women willingly take on the health risks even when they are properly informed about the potential seriousness of those risks because they choose to be pregnant. Often however women are not informed of the risks of pregnancy because the narrative has been controlled by anti-choice activists who promote the minimization of pregnancy risks and dismissal of the huge impact pregnancy makes on a woman's life. Because of deliberate miseducation, many women voluntarily become pregnant without understanding the full range of risks they are taking, and if the pregnancy later causes or uncovers a serious health issue, these women are put into a horrific quandary. Furthermore, whether women understand the risks or not, their ability to choose whether or not to take on the risks of pregnancy is being more and more reduced, even in so-called "progressive" countries where constitutionally-protected abortion rights still exist at least in theory.

Beatriz will never be the same again. If she survives the surgery and its aftermath, she will still endure a lifetime of severely diminished health and strength as a direct result of the actions of the Salvadoran state. She was forcibly harmed by the Salvadoran state, through its religiously-mandated laws and its theocratically-controlled government. I'm going down on record to say that the fact that this can still happen to any woman in the 21st century is an outrageous affront to human morality and a terrifying miscarriage of justice.

As the Republican party - representing the extreme religious right wing of society - continues to push anti-choice legislation through state legislatures and Congress, the safety and human rights of women
The 2012 Republican-dominated
Congress put policing women's
health before jobs, in spite of the
promises that got them elected.
even in the USA is in jeopardy. Access to safe legal abortion might be denied to women in a modern, democratic country is no longer guaranteed. In fact, in many states it is nearly impossible for a woman who needs an abortion to get the health care she needs and in most other states, it is increasingly difficult. What happened to Beatriz and Savita is already happening here, and has been happening for years. One reason why the stories are not publicized is because of false reporting of the causes of injury or death as noted above. But it is the implacable resistance in society to the notion that pregnancy might pose dangers to women which fuels willful blindness. In the USA and Canada, people don't know that many women every year are denied the healthcare they need, because they do not want to know.

Women are at risk of reproductive slavery and medical malpractice all over the world including in the "progressive" west. Instead of prioritizing women's health, increasing access to effective contraception for every woman and abortion services for women who need them, societies romanticize pregnancy and childbirth, fight against comprehensive sexual education for young people, limit access to healthcare, force pregnancy and childbirth and then saddle women with all of the physical and economic costs of involuntary parenthood. Men and women who value justice and human rights ought to be paying attention. Tomorrow we may be reading about a Beatriz or Savita in our own hometowns.





Friday, May 31, 2013

El Salvador Supreme Court Blesses State-Sanctioned Murder

The Supreme Court of Injustice, El Salvador



























When a woman is pregnant with a doomed fetus - and when continuing the pregnancy will certainly damage her health irrevocably if it doesn't kill her immediately - is a law that forces her to continue the pregnancy pro-life? If the justification for denying abortions to women no matter what the circumstances is "respect for life", how do anti-choice activists square that justification with the reality that even when only one life, the woman's, is in jeopardy - and her life could be easily saved by ending the pregnancy - they continue to insist on the hardline no-exceptions anti-abortion laws?

Should the Salvadoran state 
have the right 
to murder this woman?
There really are no adequate words to describe or explain the deeply-rooted misogyny that underpins nearly all anti-choice activism. Anti-choice ideology has never been about "life"; it has always been about controlling women. The most recent surge of "pro-life" ideology in the USA can be traced directly back to Roe v Wade and the women's rights movement. The "pro-life" movement was a reaction to that landmark case establishing women's reproductive autonomy during the so-called "sexual revolution". The movement's goal was to restore the former legal apparatus which would compel women to return to reproductive slavery by criminalizing most female-controlled methods of reproductive control and to pass legislation enabling the state (and theocratic society) to punish sexually active women through denial of access to contraceptives or reproductive healthcare and through forced pregnancy. It is an ideology which refuses to acknowledge that most women are at risk of unwanted sexual activity and involuntary pregnancy at some point in their lives, and refuses to protect women from the consequences of coerced or forced sexual intercourse which it largely denies ever occurs. It is an ideology that presupposes that women are wanton, immoral sexual libertines who have no normal human feelings about life or its sanctity nor any normal human feelings toward other people. It is an ideology that rests on the assumption that women are so deficient in normal human sensibility that they can casually kill for convenience. It is an ideology based upon a distrustful hatred - and dehumanization of - women at the most primitive level of human subconsciousness.

For anti-choice activists, the core principle is that no woman should ever have sexual freedom because women cannot be trusted to behave like moral, neurologically-normal (male) human beings who possess a fully-developed conscience and natural human feelings. The only sexual activity a woman should be allowed is to be the sexually submissive "partner" within the bonds of matrimony, under the "headship" of a man - and at his pleasure. Under this system, while a woman may possibly be able to avoid marital rape if she has a decent husband, she is never allowed to effectively avoid an unwanted pregnancy. Whether a pregnancy is unplanned or planned, forced through rape or incest, an accident of failed contraception (if, indeed, a woman is able to get access to effective female-controlled contraception), discovered after a serious health issue has been discovered or any other of the dozens of ways women become unintentionally pregnant in any given year - anti-choicers say that no woman should ever have the right to say "no" to any pregnancy once fertilization has occurred. It is their trump card.

The modern "pro-life" movement is largely
funded by religious groups, but its roots
go much deeper in human culture.
To their fury, those who wish to deny women human rights realize that they cannot stop women from being sexually active beings who believe they are equal to men. That genie slipped out of the bottle for good after the sexual revolution. So, to ensure that sooner or later most women will be confronted with the brutal reality of their true place in this patriarchal world, the anti-choice movement campaigns for a state-sanctioned no exceptions, forced-pregnancy trap criminalizing nearly all reproductive choices which put women's bodily autonomy under their own control. Women are still not regarded as fully human beings. In spite of rhetoric paying lip service to notions of "respect" and "equality", the reality is that legally and/or culturally in nearly every society on the planet women continue to be regarded as little more than animals reduced to nothing but their biological functions. Perhaps even less than animals, since there are actually legal protections for most animals who face unintended pregnancies, and most people also recognize that animals have some emotions, feel pain and ought to be spared unnecessary suffering. When the topic is abortion, however, women are erased from the discussion; their emotions, physical pain and unnecessary suffering is ignored. All focus is centered on a zygote or fetus as if it is independently floating in space inside a magical bubble of "life"; as if its existence does not impact another human being's body and life at all. Because women are considered less than human beings - mere walking wombs - this is exactly how human cultures can continue to regard the issue as a "pro-life" one. When only one "life" is recognized as valid and fully human (the potential offspring of a fully human man), the threat to its existence may seem to be the only threat to "life". If a walking womb is maimed or dies while being forced to gestate a fetus it did not choose to carry, no human being has actually been harmed.

The ultimate social priority of religion is to confirm and enforce the authority of men over women. To that end, religious conservatives - and their men in government - are willing to grant even rapists and abusers privileges over women, to safeguard the authority of "godly" men. In short, in order to protect the privilege of all men, themselves included of course, even "godly" men who profess to abhor rape willingly award rapists and abusers the right to reproduce using women's bodies against their will. As always, there is no thought spared for the humanity of the women who would be sacrificed to this Christian ideology. At best, they are dismissed as the "blessed" recipients of a "gift from God". Wait, Consent Means WHAT? NiftyIdeas, May 1, 2012.

No matter how this
happened - it's her
cross to bear, now!
While many people would protest that this is not how they think or feel - and that may be true on an individual level - the reality all over the world is that in the eyes of the law in most societies, women are still possessions to be used by men for reproduction. Anti-choice zealots right here in the "progressive" west are proudly willing to force women to be pregnant by rape and incest in order to protect all men from the possibility that some day, somewhere, some woman might dare to deny a man the right to use her body to reproduce. In patriarchal societies, it seems likely that it is a fear that sexually emancipated women will abuse their perceived "power" to control men's ability to reproduce which ignites the anger and feelings of "male victimhood" behind the drive to control women. While a few anti-choice ideologues may ruefully admit that unjust forced births are regrettable, most are satisfied to sacrifice a few innocent women as a lesson to all that no woman who is sexually active without permission will ever go unpunished. If we allow any exceptions, the argument goes, then what would stop women from lying to obtain abortions (to deny men fatherhood!) any time they want them? The accompanying visual of the free-floating fetus (usually portrayed as a full-term baby or even a school-aged child), underlines the false and inflammatory notion that abortion is the murder of a living person equal to a 6 year old child, not the termination of a barely visible pregnancy which can only progress to viability if it uses an actual living woman's body for nine months - at great cost to her. Again, the argument is predicated on underlying assumptions that women are manipulative, amoral, sexually promiscuous, inhuman liars who are capable of killing without conscience and will say or do anything to get away with it.

Women are confronted daily with the harassment and intimidation of a human culture which seethes with resentment toward them.  But nowhere is the starkness of cultural misogyny more evident than in the viciously anti-woman agenda of the perversely named "pro-life" movement. This movement, backed by most of the world's major religions (but probably predating them), cheerfully condemns women to the status of mere incubators for the progeny of men. The physical toll of pregnancy (whether chosen or not chosen by the woman) is ignored; the risk of permanent disability or death due to pregnancy to all women - even seemingly healthy women - is ignored; the barely-existent "right" of women to be free of sexual or reproductive slavery is ignored.

That is because the "right to life" of a conceptus is, in fact, really just an extension of men's rights. A conceptus is always some man's potential offspring and, at its core, religious teaching is all about enshrining the right of every man to reproduce. If women are allowed the freedom to choose when and if they will become pregnant, some men would almost certainly have difficulty finding a willing mate with whom to procreate. Religions which enforce the authority of men over women and which restrict the freedom and choices of women therefore speak to the root of cultural misogyny - men's fear of the potential power of women to control their (men's) ability to reproduce. "Right to life" is actually the trojan horse by which male rights over women are being inserted directly into women's uteri. That's right. It's a great big legal 'fuck you, women'! NiftyIdeas, May 1, 2012.
When a woman is forced to endure the permanent
physical damage of pregnancy,
and the agony of labor and delivery of a dead fetus
in service of the ideology of others,
it is simply a her "cross to bear".
Such is the cold, 
pitiless inhumanity
 of "right to life" zealots.

Beatriz in El Salvador is facing this terrible reality today. A 22-year old mother of one toddler is being forced by the state of El Salvador to continue a pregnancy which may very well kill her. The fetus she is carrying has anencephaly - it has no brain and parts of its skull are missing. It will almost certainly die before or during birth and definitely cannot survive after. Only as a passenger in Beatriz's body - using Beatriz's blood, organs and taking nutrition from her - has the fetus survived to date.

The 22-year-old woman suffers from severe and complicated illnesses. Her doctors have told her that she will likely die giving birth, and the unborn child will most likely live only a few hours, but she is prevented by law from having an abortion.
"They [the Supreme Court] were not convinced this is the way... they are saying Beatriz is not in danger and she must pursue the natural way of delivery and we must see what happens," said Mata (Beatriz's lawyer). CBS News, May 30, 2012.

In addition to facing the long list of health risks that even a normal, voluntary pregnancy poses to a healthy woman, Beatriz faces a serious risk of dying if the pregnancy continues. The ethical medical protocol should be to urgently terminate the pregnancy to prevent further, unavoidable grave health consequences and possibly (her doctors say "probably") death. Beatriz has a number of health issues, among them a severe case of lupus, which is a serious autoimmune disorder. A video on YouTube which shows just Beatriz's hands as she softly tells her story, points to the possibility that she may possibly suffer from other autoimmune disorders - her hands show signs consistent with both vitiligo and rheumatoid arthritis - which suggests that in her case, one of the contributing factors to her extremely high risk of severe harm or death due to an inadvisable pregnancy is the possibility of a cascade of autoimmune disorders essentially shutting down her organ functions.

In the ruling, the court cited doctors as saying that “an eventual interruption of the pregnancy would not imply, much less have as an objective, the destruction of the fetus.”
Beatriz’s lawyer, however, described the ruling as “misogynistic” because it placed the rights of a fetus with little chance of surviving after birth over the welfare of a sick woman who already has an infant boy to care for.
“The court placed the life of the anencephalic baby over Beatriz’s life,” said Víctor Hugo Mata, one of her lawyers, speaking by phone from the Supreme Court. “Justice here does not respect the rights of women.”
Last month, a group of doctors overseeing Beatriz’s care at the National Maternity Hospital sent a report to the Health Ministry arguing that as the pregnancy progressed, the risk of hemorrhaging, kidney failure and maternal death would increase. Salvadoran Court Denies Abortion to Ailing Woman, Karla Zabludovsky and Gene Palumbo, The New York Times, May 29, 2013.

El Salvador is one of the few remaining nations which still officially enshrines reproductive enslavement of women in its laws. There, abortion under any circumstances - including rape and health (or life) of the woman - is criminalized and harsh sentences are passed on women who break the law, sometimes even after spontaneous miscarriage. The country whose national motto is "God, Unity, Freedom" ensures through forced-birth laws like this that the first word in the motto reigns supreme, even canceling out the other words - and definitely the last word - if you happen to be a woman.

People writing about this outrageous miscarriage of justice have frequently asserted that El Salvador is a putatively "Catholic" country, therefore blaming the Catholic Church for this among its many other crimes. But there is a danger that this viciously misogynist activism will be dismissed as a "Catholic" problem, even as the power of the Catholic church declines, thus giving cover to the other groups behind the push to roll back women's rights. Latin America has been heavily targeted by evangelical Christian "missions" over the past 30 years and those "missionaries" exported their anti-choice ideology along with their Christian fundamentalism. El Salvador now has a population whose religious affiliation reflects that fact. While just over 50% of the population still identifies as Catholic, nearly 30% identify as Evangelical or Pentecostal Protestant. This anti-choice ideology is not strictly a "Catholic" thing - indeed before the Protestant insurgency in the region, the rules around abortion had gradually been relaxing even when a much higher percentage of the population identified as Catholic.

Denial of the basic human right to bodily autonomy - and denial of the right to life of an innocent woman - makes a complete mockery of the claims of "civilized" people everywhere that they respect life. Whether for religious reasons - or simply in response to older, more deeply-ingrained animal drives - women in every society on earth still struggle for life and freedom in a world which brutally reduces them to a dehumanized tool in the service of the reproductive needs of men.

Here is a petition to ask the Obama administration to speak out against this travesty.





Friday, November 2, 2012

Barmy Bible Study - The Biblical Kind of Rape































It's Wednesday Thursday Friday night! Time for Barmy Bible Study!

In light of recent public confusion about the rape thing and what the right-thinking Christian view on that whole thing should be, our text for tonight will be a selection of verses pertaining to this issue. Because the Biblical promises and exhortations for righteous rape are so numerous, I will only post a small sampling here. For extra credit, go and read more on the subject yourself. The Good Book™ is stuffed with stories of the Biblical kind of rape so you'll have no trouble finding plenty of references.

TRIGGER WARNING: Sexual assault; violence.

(Atheists and other haters of God's Holy Word skip down past the blue text)

Exodus 21:7-11 (Righteous treatment of female property)
When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do. If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself,[b] he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. 9 If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. 10 If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. 11 If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.

Judges 19: 20-28 (A rape is prevented)
20 Then the old man said, “Welcome! Let me take care of your needs. Just don’t spend the night in the city square.” 21 So he took the Levite to his house and fed the donkeys. After they washed, they ate and drank.22 While they were enjoying themselves, some worthless men from the city surrounded the house and pounded on the door. They told the old man, the owner of the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so that we can have sex with him.”23 The owner went out to them. He told them, “No, my friends! Please don’t do anything so evil! This man is a guest in my home. Don’t do such a godless thing! 24 Here, let me bring out my virgin daughter and this man’s concubine. Rape them, and do with them whatever you want. Just don’t do such a godless thing to this man.
Thank God! A legitimate rape was averted!
25 But the men refused to listen to him. So the Levite grabbed his concubine and forced her outside. They had sex with her and abused her all night until morning. They let her go when the sun was coming up. 26 At daybreak, the woman came to the door of the house where her husband was and collapsed. She was still there when it became light.27 Her husband got up in the morning, opened the doors of the house, and was about to leave. His wife (that is, his concubine) was lying at the door of the house with her hands on the doorstep. 28 The Levite said to her, “Get up! Let’s go!” But she did not answer. So he put her on the donkey and left for home.

2 Samuel 12:11-14 (David's punishment)
 Thus says the Lord: 'I will bring evil upon you out of your own house.  I will take your wives while you live to see it, and will give them to your neighbor.  He shall lie with your wives in broad daylight.  You have done this deed in secret, but I will bring it about in the presence of all Israel, and with the sun looking down.'
 Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord."  Nathan answered David: "The Lord on his part has forgiven your sin: you shall not die.  But since you have utterly spurned the Lord by this deed, the child born to you must surely die."  


It isn't legitimate rape if a man has
paid fifty shekels for that girl!
That's Biblical rape - the godly kind!
Deuteronomy 22:28-29 (Justice for stolen property)
“If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days.

Judges 21:10-14 (God will provide)
Then the men of Benjamin returned to their homes, and the four hundred women of Jabesh-gilead who were spared were given to them as wives.  But there were not enough women for all of them.  The people felt sorry for Benjamin because the LORD had left this gap in the tribes of Israel.  So the Israelite leaders asked, "How can we find wives for the few who remain, since all the women of the tribe of Benjamin are dead?  There must be heirs for the survivors so that an entire tribe of Israel will not be lost forever.  But we cannot give them our own daughters in marriage because we have sworn with a solemn oath that anyone who does this will fall under God's curse."
 Then they thought of the annual festival of the LORD held in Shiloh, between Lebonah and Bethel, along the east side of the road that goes from Bethel to Shechem.  They told the men of Benjamin who still needed wives, "Go and hide in the vineyards.  When the women of Shiloh come out for their dances, rush out from the vineyards, and each of you can take one of them home to be your wife!  And when their fathers and brothers come to us in protest, we will tell them, 'Please be understanding.  Let them have your daughters, for we didn't find enough wives for them when we destroyed Jabesh-gilead. And you are not guilty of breaking the vow since you did not give your daughters in marriage to them.'"  So the men of Benjamin did as they were told.  They kidnapped the women who took part in the celebration and carried them off to the land of their own inheritance.  

Deuteronomy 22:23-24 (Justice for woman's sinfulness)
Why didn't she cry out?
Evil temptress! Stone her!
“If there is a betrothed virgin, and a man meets her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbor's wife. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.

Zechariah 14:1-2
Behold, a day is coming for the Lord, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

Deuteronomy 20:10-14 (Enemies who ask for it)
“When you draw near to a city to fight against it, offer terms of peace to it. And if it responds to you peaceably and it opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall do forced labor for you and shall serve you. But if it makes no peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it. And when the Lord your God gives it into your hand, you shall put all its males to the sword, but the women and the little ones, the livestock, and everything else in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as plunder for yourselves. And you shall enjoy the spoil of your enemies, which the Lord your God has given you.

Judges 5:30
‘Have they not found and divided the spoil?— A womb or two for every man; spoil of dyed materials for Sisera, spoil of dyed materials embroidered, two pieces of dyed work embroidered for the neck as spoil?’

Study Questions for The Biblical Kind of Rape

1. Does God intend for rape to happen? If so, what would be Biblical rape?

2. Is there any such thing as "legitimate rape"?

3. What can we learn from God's rules about Biblical rape and how can we apply these lessons to modern Christian life?
Yes, exactly as God intended
What is the matter with
you silly feminists? 

Read your Bible, Ban!

Before these questions can be properly answered, we need a little background. Bible-believers understand that there is a foundational Truth™ upon which all of the Abrahamic religions are based. Everything written in the Bible about rape - and every "extreme" thing that Christian hardliners have been saying - makes perfect sense once this fundamental Biblical Truth is clearly understood. It is about time for every righteous person (and you too, ladies!) in the Christian United States of America to shout it out, loud and proud:

God's ultimate creation is MAN.

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Genesis 2.

The book of Genesis tells us with crystal clarity that God did not create two "equal" sexes at the beginning of time, contrary to the revisionist theology of liberal so-called Christians. God created man, who alone was given dominion over all the other creatures of the earth and over the land and the waters, too. Adam was the prototype for all mankind; the original - the only soul-breathed, fully human creation in our male God's image. All of the politically correct, feminazi-controlled language which insists on twisting God's Holy Word to pretend an unBiblical, inclusive equality obscures the Truth™. Feminist women and men (may God forgive them!) have caused enough confusion and it is time to put a stop to it. It's time to take back the language, too, America! God did not create "humankind"; He created "mankind". Man is God's only fully human creation and it is high time we stopped bowing to godless liberal pressure and pretending otherwise.

Thank you, God,
for not making me a woman!

(Men's daily prayer)
This is the Biblical Truth™ which Christians intend to restore to its proper place as the foundation of human society: Man is the ultimate, soul-breathed  godly creation while wombman woman is an afterthought. She is a flawed thing - not quite human and not quite animal - created to serve man's needs. The men who wrote the book of Genesis were unquivocal: God had no prior plans to create woman in her own right like the beasts of the land, the fishes in the sea and His pièce de résistance - man. She was merely pulled out of man - a fraction of the man, so to speak - a little bit like him but much less than he. Man is primary, the pinnacle of creation, moral and thoughtful, a living soul - the delight of the Almighty. Woman is derivative, an animal made from a spare body part, amoral and thoughtless, devoid of the god-breathed soul which entitles man to his amazingly god-like dominance over all of creation, including her - the afterthought of the God of man.

Before the fall, man was right with God. He ruled over all the creatures of the earth without cruelty or strife. That was before the mistake of woman. Woman - that afterthought probably best left uncreated - brought man down and they were expelled from Eden and condemned to die. No longer guaranteed eternal life, the man had to procreate so that his kind could live on after his death. For this, he was able to use the womb that God had provided, which is why for all of Bible-influenced history women have been ruthlessly reduced to their biological reproductive function. Finally, the female helpmeet's role was defined! Sex was employed (reluctantly by man, lasciviously by woman) after the fall as a way for man to reproduce and carry on his line (while he awaits the day when God finally relents and restores him to eternal life). Bible-believers understand that the womb woman's duty is to be the vessel through which man brings his issue into the world. Look, don't blame Christians, this is God's Holy Word.
Tch tch! Is it any wonder people
don't believe he is a Christian?
Thus, a woman's sole purpose in life, according to God's Holy Word, is to conceive and bear children to men - sons to carry on his line and daughters to provide wombs for his sons to continue the line of man. Males are persons while females are empty vessels to be used by men to produce more persons. A woman is meant to suffer in childbearing; it is God's punishment on her for the sins of Eve. She must never have control over any man; she is the tool of man so that he can beget sons. Her daughters will also be the tools of men. She has no right to choose, to consent or to deny. Like a man's livestock and beasts of burden, her purpose is to serve man. Like the livestock, she has no thoughts or feelings that are worthy of notice; she is the property of her father until she becomes the property of her husband. As our own CHIC, Ann Romney, so succinctly put it: It's how it is.  This is simply the inerrant Biblical Truth. 

It isn't that Christians want it to be this way - indeed, in their human frailty, most men mistakenly believe in the humanity of women and many are deeply troubled by the Biblical god's insistence that females have no intrinsic worth. But we are a Christian nation! The Bible has tough parts that liberal men may not want to hear, but righteous Christians must insist that they listen. It is imperative that this humanist morality be rooted out and replaced with stronger, righteous Biblical morality, which is why getting Bible-based teaching into our schools and into our laws is the top priority of Christian fundamentalists.

When the Truth™ (according to the author of Genesis) is understood, the lessons about sex, rape and procreation in the Bible - and indeed, the teachings of all of the Abrahamic religions regarding relations between men and lower creation - make perfect sense. Armed with this knowledge, the sincere Bible believer can easily answer the study questions in tonight's Bible Study.

1. Does God intend rape to happen?

Listen up, Liberals: there was no mistake.
These godly men speak nothing but
the Truth™ of God's Holy Word
The short answer is yes. God allows - and sometimes even commands (2 Samuel) - men to force sexual intercourse onto unwilling women and to force pregnancy upon women without their consent. Because He loves man and recognizes the weak human morality which tends toward empathy for others, God would prefer to see mankind enjoy the dignity of loving, consensual unions with willing women. Indeed, that is the Christian ideal, but the provocative nature of fickle, flirtatious females sometimes gives some Christian men no choice but to force the issue.

But, that is not legitimate rape. It is Biblical rape. As explained above, women were created for the use of men - in particular, to be used by men so that men can have children. As human breeding livestock, women have no more right to consent to sexual relations or to pregnancy than a dog can consent to fetch or a hen can consent to lay eggs. Because they have wombs, women must be forced to exist in a perpetual state of readiness to accept precious gifts from God, even if those gifts come through the actions of men whom they may not know, nor love nor want to have children with. As noted above: what women want or feel or experience is of no consequence. This is about every man's right to reproduce. This is about human life!

Recently, the news has been full of reports about good Christian men in government under attack because they have dared to speak the Biblical Truth™. The Bible makes it clear that God does intend rapes - and pregnancies caused by rapes - to happen. It is all part of His Plan. This is uncontroversial among Bible-believers and indeed, it is plainly written in dozens of places throughout scripture. Willful denial of these facts does not erase the truth, it only confuses the masses. If people would only pay attention to what the Bible actually says and stop trying to make it all so politically correct, there would be far less confusion in this country. Hopefully, this Bible Study will help to dispel the confusion.
Yes, it is what God intended.
 Read your Bibles, heretics!
Think of Biblical rape as an umbrella term for all of the resourceful ways that God provides wombs wives and children for the less fortunate of mankind: the men who cannot find willing wombmates. A multitude of passages in the Bible clearly show that it does not matter how a man manages to take a wife - trickery, rape, abduction, slavery; everything is allowed (sometimes even ordered) by God - nor what methods of conception he uses to get his issue into the world. It doesn't matter whether he impregnates a woman through stranger rape, wartime rape, slave rape, incestuous rape or legally-purchased spousal rape or through trickery, sabotage, intimidation, or coercion - just so long as his right to reproduce using whatever womb woman he can thrust his penis into is protected by Biblical mandate.

Godly men can opt for the straightforward sale (eg. Exodus 21: 7-11) by the father of a breeder daughter to an eligible man (thirty shekels of silver was the going price in Moses' day). This usually requires that the man pass muster with the woman's owner father, since the mating will also impact the father's genetic line. A suitor found wanting by the prospective grandfather may be turned away. This situation might quite rightly enrage a rejected man, but luckily, the Bible has a solution...

To wit: the forced sale (Deuteronomy 22: 28-29) If a rejected suitor can manage to rape a female breeder, her father will then be forced to hand over his property to the rapist. The rapist must then, in addition to the usual price paid for a woman, pay a premium (fifty shekels of silver) to the father for the insult of having robbed him of the ability to choose a son-in-law. This form of Biblical rape is meant for the disadvantaged yet daring man. He may not have much luck securing a wife unless he steals one, so this form of Biblical rape provides the perfect solution to the less genetically-favored men in Bible-based societies. Praise God! He will always provide!

'A womb or two' - or more! - 
'for every man'.
That's the Biblical way!
When large numbers of "wives" are needed for restless armies of (ahem) vigorous young men, God has the solution: Biblical wartime rape (Deuteronomy 20: 10-14, Judges 21: 10-14). God orders His armies to murder all the people (in other words, all of the men) in some ill-favored place and carry off their livestock (including all the virgins) and chattels. Divvy up the spoils evenly among the godly young men, including the virgins, and voilà! Womb-shortage averted!

Yes, the women may be taken against their will and impregnated against their will, but that is not legitimate rape because God wills it. The Biblical God clearly sanctions rape as a method of conception for men who might otherwise be at risk of not having any offspring. Think about it: if given a choice, some women might refuse to have children. Some women might reject the sexual advances of perfectly nice guys. Already, some women actually demand that all women be given the power to control when and if they will become pregnant - literally threatening all men's right to reproduce! - and in some places, there are simply too few women to go around. Women must be prevented from holding reproductive power over men. We are talking about life here - the sanctity of a man's right to continue his genetic line. It is what women were created for and what a Bible-based America will insist upon. Read your Bible.

2. Is there any such thing as "legitimate rape"?

Yes, there is such a thing as legitimate rape.  When a male says he has been raped, that is legitimate rape. The seriousness of this heinous crime should be obvious to all and it is clearly forbidden by the Bible (Judges 19: 20-28). Terrible stories of the abuse of boys and young men by trusted religious and community figures are met with universal outrage and public demands for the arrest and severe punishment of the perpetrators are entirely appropriate. While centuries of Biblical rapes of millions of women and girls were of course unremarkable, the relatively rare instances of legitimate rape against (non-slave) males are quite rightly front page news. This is because it is virtually impossible to legitimately rape a woman, and of course Biblical rape is A-OK according to our Moral Guidebook, but the sexual assault of men and boys is a defilement, an abomination, an outrage against mankind.
Got that, Girl? 
Come on, you know you think I'm hot.
Now use that little ladybrain
and vote for me.
My sex appeal will shut that whole
thinking thing down.
3. What can we learn from God's rules about Biblical rape and how can we apply these lessons to modern Christian life?

The Bible makes it clear that women are entitled to absolutely no rights over their own bodies, over their lives or over their fertility. A woman's destiny is to be a mother, under the control of the father of her children. Every pregnancy is a gift from God, no matter how it occurred. A man is a person and the fruit of his seed is also a person. The vessel into which the man deposits the seed is not a person: it is a mere woman, sinful and fallen. These are the Biblical principles upon which godly men rely when they declare that abortion is murder, but denying an abortion to a woman who will die without one is not. Under no circumstances - not for rape (which never legitimately happens to females), nor incest (Genesis 19), nor to save a woman's life - should abortion ever be permitted. It is a crime against mankind. As soon as we restore its Biblical foundation, the Christian United States of America will re-criminalize all abortion without exceptions.

Likewise, female-controlled contraception is unBiblical and immoral. It is woman's role to conceive and bear children. She is a vessel, a breeder of men - but she is also untrustworthy, immoral, licentious and a liar. No woman should ever be permitted to indulge in lustful degeneracy and escape the consequences. She is incapable of moral behavior; she lacks normal human feelings toward life and will murder for convenience; she is a captive to her sexual urges and will sink into promiscuous dissipation which will destroy the American dream unless men regain control and restore order in society. In a Christian United States of America, female-controlled contraception will be banned and women returned to their rightful position of fearful submission to the will of man God (and man).

Our Christian nation must elect godly men who will enforce these Biblical precepts and restore this country to Bible-based righteousness. Finally, we have such men in the Republican party.Gov Mitt Romney (MA), Rep Paul Ryan (WI), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (VA), Sen Todd Akin (MO), Richard Mourdock (IN), Rep Steve King (IA), Rep.Joe Walsh (IL), Gov.Bob McDonnell (VA), Gov Mike Huckabee (NM), Gov Rick Perry (TX), Rep Frank Guinta (NH), Reince Preibus, Gov Jan Brewer (AZ), Gov Dennis Daugaard (SD), House Speaker John Boehner (OH), Sen Marco Rubio (FL), Gov Rick Scott (FL), Sen Rob Portman (OH), Gov Tim Pawlenty (MN), Sen John Thune (SD),  Rep Jim Buchy (OH) and literally hundreds of other state and federal respresentatives are leading the final charge in a war on women that has been brewing for more than thirty years.

These brave crusaders for a Bible-based Christian United States of America are not outliers: this is the Republican party today, on both the federal and state levels.  God's Own Party is strong, revitalized and - after the election - you betcha, they're ready to push women back where they belong - out of the workplace where they currently are stealing men's jobs (for less pay), out of the military and out of college - virtuously married (to a man only) unemployed and forced to bear as many children as possible. That's the Biblical way!

Praise God!

Class dismissed.