Saturday, February 18, 2012

The hypocrisy of "religious freedom" in the attack on women

Last week, we were treated to an image from a House hearing on contraception, in which nearly all the speakers were male, and all were opposed to contraception. This battle should have been over 40 years ago, but apparently, men still want the right to decide if women get to control their bodies.

Of course, in keeping with the current right-wing meme, this isn't framed as an issue about contraception, but about "religious freedom". And this applies not just to contraception, but marriage equality and abortion. But it's not about freedom at all. It's about elevating one faith group's views over every other. Not content with expecting their own congregants to live by their doctrine, they want the government to force the rest of us to do so. (Read Catholic writer Gary Will's take down here)

And while we're looking at the disgusting situation of men in Washington deciding what women can do with their bodies, Dahlia Lithwick tells us what the men in Virginia did. (My emphases-- and please do go read the whole thing.)
This week, the Virginia state Legislature passed a bill that would require women to have an ultrasound before they may have an abortion. Because the great majority of abortions occur during the first 12 weeks, that means most women will be forced to have a transvaginal procedure, in which a probe is inserted into the vagina, and then moved around until an ultrasound image is produced. Since a proposed amendment to the bill—a provision that would have had the patient consent to this bodily intrusion or allowed the physician to opt not to do the vaginal ultrasound—failed on 64-34 vote, the law provides that women seeking an abortion in Virginia will be forcibly penetrated for no medical reason. I am not the first person to note that under any other set of facts, that would constitute rape under state law.
And the juxtaposition is striking, as Alex Koppelman writes.
This all makes for an odd spectacle: Republicans in Washington are up in arms over the violation of religious liberty they say is involved in forcing a religious institution to offer insurance that completely covers birth control. But, not far away, their colleagues are working to pass a law that forces a woman to undergo an invasive procedure in order to have an abortion—a law which clearly violates that woman’s liberty, not to mention her person. On that, they seem to be silent.
David Frum sees the same problem,
Freedom for some must be freedom for all, and the rights of churches are most convincingly upheld by those who also uphold the rights of women.
Let's be very clear on the inconsistencies of the fetus fetish brigade. They are not "pro-life" if the life is that of a woman. Here's a searing story from a woman whose placenta ruptured during pregnancy leading to a massive and life-threatening hemorrhage. The only way to save her is to terminate what is an inviable pregnancy.
Everyone knew the pregnancy wasn’t viable, that it couldn’t be viable given the amount of blood I was losing, but it still took hours for anyone at the hospital to do anything. The doctor on call didn’t do abortions. At all. Ever. In fact, no one on call that night did. ….

A very kind nurse risked her job to call a doctor from the Reproductive Health Clinic who was not on call, and asked her to come in to save my life....The doctor who didn’t do abortions was supposed to have contacted her (or someone else who would perform the procedure) immediately. He didn’t. Neither did his students. .... I don’t know if his objections were religious or not; all I know is that when a bleeding woman was brought to him for treatment he refused to do the only thing that could stop the bleeding. Because he didn’t do abortions. Ever.

My two kids at home almost lost their mother because someone decided that my life was worth less than that of a fetus that was going to die anyway. My husband had told them exactly what my regular doctor said, and the ER doctor had already warned us what would have to happen. Yet none of this mattered when confronted by the idea that no one needs an abortion. .... After my family found out I’d had an abortion, I got a phone call from a cousin who felt the need to tell me I was wrong to have interfered with God’s plan. And in that moment I understood exactly what kind of people judge a woman’s reproductive choices.
This "religious freedom" argument is not about freedom at all. At least, not for women.

As the old saying goes, if you can't trust me with a choice, how can you trust me with a child?

1 comment:

JCF said...

Wonderful post, IT, on subjects that are every kind of infuriating. >:-(