Religious Republican states inform women abortion can be reversed

In the religious war against women being waged by Republicans in Congress and state legislatures, there are unlimited absurdities and atrocities in the crusade to deny women their constitutional human right to self-determination regarding their reproductive health. Republicans believe their constitutional right as theocratic legislators is controlling women’s reproductive health and a piece in the Huffington Post reveals just how maniacally driven religious Republicans are in their crusade to control American women.

It is a sad state of affairs, but too few media outlets are apprising women about the unrelenting attacks on their reproductive rights because the media is as terrified of inciting evangelical rage as Democrats. They still believe there is a federal statute forbidding alerting Americans that Republicans are legislating according to a bastardized form of evangelicalism unique to the American religious right. And that religious legislation is most rampant where  women’s medical and health rights are concerned.

Most folks who have undergone a medical procedure have signed a consent form and been adequately educated about the risks and their options by a physician. Every state has their own version of what information the state deems is necessary for the patient to be adequately “informed” before giving their consent for a medical procedure. This is particularly true with regard to a relatively simple and routinely safe procedure unique to women intent on terminating an unplanned pregnancy. Suffice it to say that some dyed-in-the-wool evangelical red states include phony information that is simply not supported by any medical or scientific research; their goal is to prevent women from making an informed decision when they can make a Vatican-approved decision instead.

Informed consent based on fake science, first or second-person anecdotes, or a theocrat’s notion that “seems to make sense” is not informed. However, in three statespart of advising a woman seeking an abortion is “informing” them that if they “act urgently” they can “reverse an abortion.”

This unscientific “idea” is a real “thing” only in that there is a real organization, the “Abortion Pill Reversal” (APR) worldwide network, pushing the idea. The “idea” is actually just another religious “crisis pregnancy center” deception with only one reason for existing: to frighten, cajole, and dissuade women from terminating a pregnancy.

This APR “idea” was first introduced about six years ago under the guise of a “case study” that is as far removed from any kind of real science as some of the other dimwitted assertions from evangelical conservatives. In fact, the concept of reversing an abortion is so fantastical that one believed it had been promptly sent to the dustbin about six years ago when it was first introduced. Instead, it was embraced by evangelicals and the Catholic personhood movement and written into legislation in a few red states.

Seriously, the idea of “reversing an abortion” ranks up there with other debunked assertions such as homosexuality causes hurricanes and earthquakes; more guns on the streets mean fewer shootings; college turns Christians into gays; and abortion causes breast cancer, infertility, and severe lifelong psychological damage from making a decision evangelicals oppose.

The issue here is not necessarily another deceitful machination to manipulate women into toeing the Vatican line on reproduction, although it is an issue posing monumental threats to women’s rights. No, the matter is that religious Republicans are actually passing laws targeting women’s reproductive rights based on nothing more than “an idea” some evangelical cretin conjured up to control women. Some real scientists generously labeled the abortion reversal plan “an experiment;” but it is far less than any real scientific experiment.

The insanely ridiculous notion is courtesy of APR  founder Dr. George Delgado who published what he declared was a “small case series” in the Annals of Pharmacology back in 2012. In that poor excuse for a study Delgado claimed that he found a way to reverse “medication abortion” in 4 out of the six women he said participated by giving them an injection of the hormone progesterone; a seventh woman bailed on Delgado’s study.

The women were allegedly administered the progesterone after taking a dose of “mifepristone,” the first of two drugs necessary for a medication abortion. According to Delgado, “giving women extra progesterone – a hormone that helps support pregnancy – will ‘outnumber’ and ‘outcompete’ the ‘misoprostol’ [first pill] and keep it from working.”

Delgado also said that since a higher concentration of one hormone “will tend to win the battle at the receptor, it just makes sense” that progesterone can block the effects of mifepristone and reverse an abortion.

In August 2017, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) had to release a real science and fact-based statement warning that “Facts Are Important” and that “Medication Abortion Reversal Is Not Supported by Science.” The gist of the ACOG statement is that real OB/GYNs do not support prescribing progesterone to stop an abortion because it is “not based on science and does not meet any clinical standards.” ACOG also assailed Republican states for “unfounded legislative mandates [that] represent dangerous political interference and compromise patient care and safety.”

Another OB-GYN, the director of Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, Dr. Daniel Grossman said:

It’s one thing to exaggerate the risks of abortion, but it’s far more concerning when a state codifies into law a medical treatment that is completely unproven. We should all be concerned when our government forces doctors to recommend an experimental therapy — without making it clear that it’s experimental.” (author bold)

As one might expect, any suggestion that a fake anti-abortion treatment is unscientific enraged the Catholic personhood movement and drove them to lash out at what they deemed is a “hostile media” for reporting that Delgado’s “idea” is unscientific and unproven. At the time, the Catholics were furious that several media outlets’ reporting convinced legislators in two or three states to reconsider “forcing doctors” to counsel their patients with junk science; the abortion reversal information was not included in those states’ informed consent laws.

Learning that three Republican controlled states actually included this APR gibberish and forcing doctors who know better to recommend a treatment based on an unscientific and untested “idea” was somewhat surprising. It is almost unbelievable that this “abortion reversal” nonsense is still a thing, but then every religious Republican attempt to deny women their equal rights is scientifically unproven and patently absurd. Whether it entails claims that abortion causes cancer, a single-celled zygote is a person, or a fetus feels pain before there is any neurological structure in place to feel anything, the anti-women’s choice movement is the epitome of deceitful.

It is not clear if Republican legislators truly believe the level of lunacy they are basing their anti-women’s religious legislation on, or if they want to believe the non-science supports their crusade to control women’s lives. But whatever their particular religious dysfunction, they never take into account the health and well-being of the woman. The so-called six-person APR “case study” never even considered how the “treatment” would affect the woman’s health, or what might happen to the fetus if it survives. It is something that a real scientific study would have explored extensively prior to beginning the study.

One can argue that without any documentation other than an anecdotal “study” void of any data, that so-called abortion reversal therapy is not even experimental in a scientific sense. It may seem to make biological sense to an ignoramus abortion opponent like Delgado and his personhood devotees, but it is nothing remotely resembling anything “scientific;” which explains why religious Republicans in three states are forcing doctors to inform patients about some idea.

It isn’t unexpected the religious right and Vatican defends these anti-women charlatans; they exist to control women. However, Republicans, and any idiotic Democrat, who supports misleading women using fear or fake “science” is beyond despicable – they are supporting religious extremism targeting American women. But by dog, because this is a religious patriarchy the religious Republicans and their anti-women evangelicals continually get a free pass; because they are using religion to control women.

Image: Eclectoblog

Trump’s Evangelical War Against Women Took A Dangerous Turn

In yet another despicable move to sate evangelicals crusading towards transforming America into an evangelical theocracy, Trump continued 2017’s pandering to the religious right with another attack on a greater number of the people. Anyone still curious about why the evangelical right adamantly supports a proud sinner who blatantly rejects the concept of repentance and contrition, Trump’s prioritization of evangelical’s freedom to control the rest of the population should explain why bible-thumpers love what decent human beings consider to be a seriously evil man.

For an administration allegedly opposed to federal regulations and federal government agencies, Trump announced some new federal regulations and created a new federal government “division” to protect evangelical workers who refuse to do their jobs and provide medical care. That medical care can be anything that offends the “conscience” of the evangelicals who are cheering Trump for finally  “prioritizing” their religious freedom to discriminate according to their religious conscience. Make no mistake, this new “division” and “new regulations” are specifically protecting evangelicals who intend to discriminate primarily against women and gays by refusing to provide medical care and services that are required as part of their jobs.

If an atheist public school teacher refused to teach any student who was an evangelical Christian on the grounds it violated their conscience, religious Republicans would go ballistic and attack that teacher mercilessly; despite the teacher was immediately terminated for refusing to do the job they were hired to do. Likewise, if a Jew or Muslim worker claimed it violated their conscience to accommodate an evangelical or Catholic because they ate pork products, then they would be summarily fired and Republicans and the evangelical right would go ballistic and attack them mercilessly.

But when pharmacists refuse to fill a physician’s prescription because the medication offends their morality, or the patient is not in compliance with the evangelical’s religious edicts,  there is a new Trump-created federal agency to protect their jobs; because Trump is all about “prioritizing” conscience protections for evangelicals that allow them to violate anti-discrimination laws.

Many have warned for years that so-called “conscience protections” for evangelicals pose a serious danger to the population, and now there is an official division in the Department of Health and Human Services. It is not, as Trump or the White House claim, about protecting healthcare workers opposed to abortion or assisted death based on their “religious” or “moral beliefs;” it is another Republican “license to discriminate” with lifelong, and possibly, life-threatening consequences for a large percentage of the population. Basically, any American who fails to hew closely to religious edicts evangelicals believe should be federal law is open for trouble from the faithful who work in the healthcare industry.

The new theocratic agency, the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, is a monumental victory for evangelicals who complained bitterly for eight long years that President Obama failed to give evangelicals what they demanded – much more authority under the guise of “religious freedom.” And it is noteworthy that in 21stCentury America, religious freedom means federal power for evangelicals to impose their religious beliefs on the nation to control women and impose some biblical punishment on members of the LGBTQ community.

The language in the new regulations is so broad that only an idiot cannot see that the “rule” is a veritable license to discriminate and withhold “access to medical care” from anyone if the religious worker does not approve of that “medical care” or the patient’s lifestyle. It is about more than just evangelicals opposed to abortion or birth control, it will lead to legalized discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity, lifestyle, marital status, and sexual orientation; the main categories evangelicals firmly believe fall under their purview as theocrats running the government.

In keeping with the “poor persecuted Christian” sentiment based on the inability to control the population, the “poor persecuted” president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s lobbying arm said:

I am thankful that [Trump’s] HHS recognizes how imperiled conscience rights have been in recent years in this arena and is actively working and leading to turn the tide in the other direction.”

It is important to note that this new theocratic solution for persecuted evangelicals and their wicked imperiled consciences is about much more than giving pro-life healthcare workers the religious right to refuse performing an abortion or sterilization as HHS claimed. The Obama Administration left in place the decades-long federal protections for evangelical healthcare workers who objected to performing abortions or sterilizations. President Obama’s HHS also kept the George W. Bush rule’s formal process for workers to file complaints if they were expected to do the job they applied for and were hired to do, and then refused according to their “godly morality” or “deeply-held beliefs.”

This latest theocratic advancement is primarily an attack on women’s right to self-determination regarding their reproductive health, but no American is safe from evangelicals who believe their “conscience rights” have been “imperiled” for too long; now they want revenge and Trump willingly  complied.  What is new in 2108 is a full frontal assault on transgenders to bolster the already vicious religious attacks on the LGBTQ community based on evangelicals’ morals and their renowned Christian consciences.

Here’s the thing, if any of these cretins had a conscience, especially a “follower of Christ” conscience, they would never support Republicans who are gleeful at taking away healthcare, food, retirement, and housing from Americans to enrich corporations and the wealthy. Their objections to providing healthcare services, whether it is contraception, abortion, or transgender hormone therapy are not founded on their morality or religious conviction. They object to being prohibited from controlling other Americans who fail to toe the religious right line; it is the only reason why evangelicals vote for Republicans religiously. If they were “followers of Christ” or “Christians,” they would oppose Republicans like plague.

It is a dangerous sign that despite at least four or five Trump administration actions legalizing discrimination against women and the LGBTQ community in 2017, now the religious people who provide healthcare services possess their own federal license to discriminate. Trump’s Department of Justice and Education have openly legalized discrimination against women and the LGBTQ community under the heading “protecting evangelicals’ religious liberty,” and last month the Republican Congress followed suit in an education bill. This latest move at the start of 2018 is the result of an executive order Trump signed last May.  As noted by Sarah Warbelow in the U.S. News and World Report, “Trump’s executive order directed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to seek a license to discriminate in agencies across the federal government.”

There has been a deliberate and concerted effort to impose religion as governance and law for a couple of decades, but now that Christofascists co-own and co-control the federal government, the theocrats are having a field day. All the while, Americans await Trump’s next “tweet” with bated breath and many could not possibly care less because they are not women or members of the gay community. Remember, religious zealots are not known for restraint when they are empowered and when Mike Pence and his religious right fanatics finish putting women and gays in their “biblical” place, they will turn their attention to the rest of the population. If anyone is not terrified at the idea of medical professionals refusing to treat anyone based on conscience objections, then maybe understanding that now fire fighters, police officers, and paramedics can refuse to do their jobs according to their consciences represents a clear and present danger to all Americans.

To Celebrate Roe v Wade Senate GOP Plans A Religious Attack On Women

While many Americans are either mesmerized over another wealthy celebrity entertainer contemplating a run for the presidency, or the current White House occupant’s racist pejoratives aimed at other countries’ citizens, the Senate is poised to attack women on behalf of the Vatican and evangelical personhood movement.

Of course another religious attack on women is the new normal since America was taken over by evangelical theocrats at the highest levels of government, but it doesn’t mean the media or the resistance should keep silent over another assault on 51 percent of the population. What it does mean is that the so-called “resistance” had better start confronting these evangelical machinations head on before Republicans deal a deathblow to women’s constitutional right to self-determination; a right religious Republicans are crusading to eliminate. And that deathblow starts with controlling women’s reproductive choices with theocratic legislation with no basis in reality – like “The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

It is noteworthy to state right away that this piece of legislation is based on a seriously bastardized and heretical interpretation of the Christian religion. It is, however, part and parcel of the Catholic faith founded on a 1968 Papal encyclical, but it is not “scriptural” to evangelicals by any stretch of the imagination. Evangelicals and Republicans embrace the Catholic  personhood movement’s biblical heresy because it originated in the mind of a powerful male tyrant who devised a simple means of controlling his Catholic adherents around the world. Religious Republicans and their evangelical masters are using “the fetus” in hopes of controlling American women and keeping them “in their place” as birth machines like god and the male clergy intended.

According to reports from women’s rights activists, while the public is waiting for Trump’s next Twitter tirade Senate Republicans are preparing to vote on a 20-week abortion ban next week. It looks as if the vote is going to be on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade as a nod to the fanatical personhood movement that the GOP is  repaying loyal evangelical voters by using religion to control women with a ban on their right to self-determination. Trump promised his extremist religious disciples that he would sign the Vatican-inspired ban when it reaches his desk.

The Republican dominated House already passed a 20-week ban based on radical Christian claims that a 20-week fetus is a child that feels pain. It is noteworthy to mention that the age of fetal viability is pegged at 28 weeks” when pathology shows there is enough  neurological development in a fetus to breathe oxygen and start feeling anything, even though at 28 weeks the survival rate is at about 50 percent.

The religious Republican ban is founded on the stunningly absurd notion that at 20 weeks of gestation a fetus has full neurological development more than sufficient to feel pain. The reality is that at 20 weeks there are no neurological structures in place for that organism to feel anything according to a clinical professor and OB-GYN at Stanford University. Jennifer Conti is also a fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health and she said:

Twenty weeks is just an arbitrary limit set in place by [religious Republican] politicians that has no medical or scientific backing. There’s actually conclusive evidence that shows that the neurologic structures in a fetus aren’t complete and working until much further along in pregnancy, we think the third trimester.”

Ms. Conti is right, of course, and the scientific medical community concur that the neurological structures are “probably in place at about 28-29 weeks,” not 20 weeks. In fact, according to a comprehensive review reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, “the structures needed for fetuses to feel [anything] only begin to develop between 23 and 30 weeks of gestation.” That biological fact was verified by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists who reported that “premature babies cannot feel anything [much less pain] until 29 or 30 weeks.

For the ignoramus zealots among the evangelical sect, a “premature” baby is one that has left the mother’s womb and breathes oxygen; what the evangelical god of the bible calls “a living being.” It is not a zygote, not an embryo or a fetus that the anti-choice morons claim are “children” that feel pain. The point is that If a living, oxygen-breathing “premature baby”  cannot feel anything until 29 or 30 weeks, then it is biologically impossible for a 20-week old fetus to be “pain capable.

It is questionable whether the Senate version of the 20-week ban will pass due to requiring a supermajority vote (60) to advance to Trump’s desk, but that is not a completely unwanted result for the religious Republican movement. In fact, it is likely that anti-women’s rights groups, evangelical fanatics, Republicans, the Vatican, U.S. Catholic Bishops, the personhood movement, and all Christofascists want to see the ban fail for an obvious reason; to use the legislation’s defeat during an election year to focus attention on every candidates’s position on women’s reproductive rights.

If the measure fails in the Senate, Americans can expect a very heavy dose of attacks by religious Republicans on any candidate who either voted against, or would have voted against, a theocratic fetus law. And that opposition would be heavily promoted as Democrats who “willfully refuse to protect the voiceless, the vulnerable, the marginalized children who science has proven can feel pain.”

As noted above, fetuses are “not children” and they are not living beings according to the evangelical Christian’s god of the bible. And, science has proven that a fetus at 20 weeks has no neurological structure to feel anything. Still, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said there are marginalized children in mothers’ wombs who are in pain and only Republicans can save them. Republicans will beat that dead horse mercilessly in the leadup to the 2018 midterms and the “resistance” will do what they typically do when confronted with “the fetus” by lying Republican theocrats, lose elections.

Republicans have had incredible electoral success with the fetus over the years and it was an important part in Trump garnering support from the evangelical extremists that make up the majority of his base. Besides bringing about the End Times, the religious right flocked to Trump on his pledge to put an end to women’s reproductive freedoms; and for the personhood evangelicals that means abolishing birth control according to the 1969 Papal document that bans abortion, the Humanae Vitae.

This ridiculous fetal pain nonsense has failed in the past but now that evangelicals co-own and co-control the federal government, their assault on women represents a clear and present danger.

Remember, one of the first acts of the evangelicals running the federal government was designating a eukaryotic cell (zygote) as a living human being worthy of federal government protection. Republicans followed suit in the House version of tax reform giving zygotes, embryos, and the fetus federal personhood status for the sake of evading taxation. Theocratic Republicans are setting a precedent to ban all forms of what the Vatican calls “artificial birth control” and every attack on women’s reproductive rights is setting up that ban; and all without the Catholic Pope ever having to utter one edict.

If there is a real “resistance” movement, they have been extraordinarily silent on the not-so-stealthy and sustained attack on women over the course of the past year. A monumental part of the problem is that no organization, or Democrat for that matter, is willing to cite the only source of these unrelenting attacks on women. Believe it or not, there are no laws forbidding anyone from condemning the Republican attacks on women as borne of religion. Oh some people will claim that mentioning religion will kill the message or alienate the faithful, but that kind of mindset is precisely what the religious right, Republicans indebted to the religious right, the religious right clergy, and the anti-women’s movement is counting on. They know that everyone in America is too terrified to say out loud that religion is the only basis for the misogyny and patriarchal attacks on American women and it is why they continue unabated.

Image: Eclectablog

Trump’s Evangelicals Target Title X in the GOP War on Women

In another attack on women’s reproductive rights, Trump’s evangelicals running the government are conspiring to attack Title X provisions and force primarily low-income families deeper into poverty based on a 1968 Vatican document.

Prior to the introduction of contraceptives such as birth control pills, there was no such thing as “family planning” save the only Vatican-approved “rhythm method” that may as well be no method based on its lack of efficacy compared to any and every other form of “family planning.” Apparently, the Vatican is more concerned with controlling sexual relations between consenting adults than they are families mired in poverty due to yearly pregnancies and the resulting offspring all but the wealthiest families can afford to provide for. The advent of oral contraceptives, and the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, were giant steps forward in “family planning,” and combined with the enactment of Title X during Republican Richard Nixon’s administration, American families could rest easy that they did not have to be burdened with too many children they would struggle to support.

Now that the religious right controls America’s domestic policy, the Trump administration is taking another step to force women back to an era when they either abstained from normal sexual relations or suffered yearly pregnancies and poverty to make ends meet. It is noteworthy that before the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) convinced the so-called “moral majority” to embrace the Vatican’s prohibition on any kind of “artificial” birth control, the religious right was an ardent supporter of “family planning;” it helped their adherents avoid having 14 children to support.

Now they have made banning abortion and contraception their primary emotional dog whistle to keep the “faithful” voting for Republicans.

There is a devious reason dirty Donald Trump appointed Teresa Manning as the deputy assistant secretary of the office of population affairs at the evangelical-run Department of Health and Human Services; she is “a prominent anti-abortion advocate and former lobbyist for the National Right to Life Committee.” That organization claims to be “pro-life” when it has only ever been “pro forced birth.” Manning is renowned for saying that “contraceptives are medically irresponsible” and if anyone still believes the Trump evangelicals are not driven to make any “artificial family planning” non-existent, they are stupid. Banning all forms of birth control is the ultimate goal of the people running HHS because the Vatican prohibits “all forms of birth control” that are considered “artificial.”

Manning oversees Title X and intends to set evangelical-approved anti-choice terms for organizations obtaining grants under the federally-funded family planning program. Religious conservatives have hated Title X since the Reagan era and they plan to “reshape the program to fit the anti-abortion views of the [evangelical] administration.”

Specifically, the theocratic Trump administration is targeting funding for Planned Parenthood and any other group that provides family planning information that includes abortion. The federal government already prohibits taxpayer dollars funding abortions and the HHS plan readily acknowledges their goal is banning funding for family planning organizations that provide information the anti-women’s rights cretins find unacceptable.

It is worth noting that this latest attack is laser focused on the 4 to 5 million low-income families that depend on Title X for all manner of “family planning” assistance. The program was enacted in 1970 by Richard Nixon and its purpose was then, and still is today:

To provide individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services. Title X is legally designed to prioritize the needs of low-income families or uninsured people (including those who are not eligible for Medicaid) who might not otherwise have access to these health care services. These services are provided to low-income and uninsured individuals at reduced or no cost. Its overall purpose is to promote positive birth outcomes and healthy families by allowing individuals to decide the number and spacing of their children. The other health services provided in Title X-funded clinics are integral in achieving this objective.” (author bold)

That objective, helping low-income families or uninsured people enjoy “positive birth outcomes and healthy families” is an atrocity to conservatives and they finally have an opportunity to, at least, reshape the program to meet anti-choice evangelicals’ demands. At most, because they are extraordinarily vicious, they will just abolish the program completely. It is noteworthy that the woman in charge of “reshaping” Title X today was a lobbyist for the same group that forced Reagan to enact severe restrictions in the 1980s in exchange for electoral support at the ballot box.

As the communications director for the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA), Audrey Sandusky, said:

This is the administration’s first attempt to really redefine what they want family planning to look like. We anticipate some attempt to undercut the program.” (author bold)

Title X supporters’ legitimate concern is that Trump’s evangelicals will prohibit funding for any clinics unwilling to toe the anti-choice line or may also provide abortions, restrict the type of services clinics can offer, place harsh limitations on accessing some types of birth control, or just drastically reduce funding for the program.

The big issue for the evangelicals running HHS and Title X now is to ban Title X “providers from offering abortion referrals or even mentioning abortion as a method of family planning.” According to the chief legal officer and general counsel for the evangelical Americans United for Life, Steve Aden:

The best thing for health care and for women is that they receive [family planning services] in a [religious] setting that’s devoid of the possibility of Planned Parenthood pushing quote unquote options, when what they’re doing is referring them to the abortion facility.

According to the most recent records available from 2015, through Title X, in that year alone Planned Parenthood helped low income women receive 800,000 Pap tests, one million breast cancer exams, and 6 million sexually transmitted infections (STI) tests. Planned Parenthood or any women’s health clinic does not exist to “push quote unquote” abortions; they are family planning clinics; at least until Trump’s evangelicals finish banning family planning that isn’t “natural” according to the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae.

These attacks on women’s right to self-determination regarding their reproductive health are coming fast and furious and they began shortly after Trump’s poorly-attended inauguration. Trump promptly signed a bill earlier in the year that rescinded a Title X rule enacted by President Obama that banned Republicans in the states from defunding Planned Parenthood for religious reasons, and it is no secret that Republicans in Congress want the women’s healthcare provider eliminated based solely on religious reasons.

The pro-choice organization, the Guttmacher Institute said “it would be naïve to think the [evangelical] Trump administration wouldn’t take the opportunity to put a flag in the ground on keeping Title X in tact. The administration has shown its cards in its opposition to abortion and providers who offer or are affiliated with abortion.”

It is noteworthy that abortion has been a legal medical procedure for 44 years and it has been assailed by the religious right since they lost their right to segregate schools in the South on pain of losing their religious tax exemption. It is unclear what part of legal the Trump evangelicals fail to comprehend, but women should beware that the “personhood” malcontents running the federal government are not going to be content banning abortions, legal or otherwise. They have been relentless for 40-odd years despite being smacked down by federal courts including the Supreme Court. They are, through their Republican facilitators, not going to rest until they have complete control over women’s reproductive health; including banning contraceptives.

Remember, Republicans are setting a dangerous precedent with their absurd notion that the moment of conception is a living American being worthy of constitutional rights superseding those of the woman. According to “the moment of conception” acolytes, anything that prevents ‘fertilization’ is abortion; see Hobby Lobby ruling.

These assaults on women’s rights are only going to get worse and with Trump appointing anti-women’s rights federal judges for life, it does not look promising for women’s reproductive rights much less the concept of “family planning.” And it should not surprise anyone that this latest threat targets low-income families who are on the verge of paying higher taxes, losing their healthcare and nutrition assistance. When Title X is reshaped to meet the evangelical family planning standards, those low-income families will lose their right to “decide the number and spacing of their children” because those decisions will be the purview of Trump’s evangelicals running the federal government.

Federal Judge Gives Texas Women a Victory in the War on Women

In a season when many Americans are searching for a reason to be thankful in a nation lurching towards a fascist theocracy, there was a bit of news Texas women should be thankful for; at least in the short term. It is worth noting that at the rate religious Republicans and the evangelicals running the Trump theocratic effort have been assaulting women’s rights, the concept of good news for women is nearly non-existent.

The good news is that a United States District Court Judge issued a permanent injunction against theocratic legislation in Texas that restricted “the most common type of second-trimester abortions.”

The legislation, Senate Bill 8 (SB-8). was set to go into effect this year but it is “facially unconstitutional” according to Judge Lee Yeakel who issued the permanent injunction. The Judge, appointed by George W. Bush in 2003, issued a temporary injunction earlier in the year, and besides being unconstitutional on its face, Judge Yeakel said the religious legislation “intervenes in the medical process of abortion prior to viability in an unduly burdensome manner.” Of course the Judge didn’t really call SB-8 “religious legislation” and it is shameful he didn’t, but he did, however, say most of the right things in regard to how the Republican legislation is a deliberately “undue burden on women.”

At issue was the second-trimester procedure known as “dilation and evacuation” that is used in about 8 or 9 percent of abortions. According to the Guttmacher Institute, “nearly 90 percent of abortions are performed in the first trimester” so naturally the “D&E” procedure is relatively rare. Republicans were intent on forcing physicians to use an unnecessary medical procedure that has no medical benefit to the woman and it was just one of the multiple things the Judge found fault with the religious legislation.

In his ruling Judge Yeakel wrote:

The court is unaware of any other medical context that requires a doctor — in contravention of the doctor’s medical judgment and the best interest of the patient — to conduct a medical procedure that delivers no benefit to the woman [patient].

 Supreme Court precedent leads inescapably to the conclusion that the state’s legitimate interest in fetal life does not allow the imposition of an additional medical procedure on the standard D&E abortion — a procedure not driven by medical necessity. Here the state’s interest must give way to the woman’s right.

 Based on existing precedent alone, the Act must fail. Once the Supreme Court has defined the boundaries of a constitutional right, a district court may not redefine those boundaries. Further, the role of the District Court is to preserve a right, not to search for a way to evade or lessen the right.”

It it noteworthy that just last year, and on multiple occasions in the past, the Supreme Court has held that the government cannot impose an “undue burden” on women’s access to abortion before a fetus is viable, even if the statute in question promotes a “valid state [religious] interest.” The High Court also ruled last year that states are free to pass laws that express evangelicals’ profound respect for a single-called organism such as a zygote, or even an embryo or a fetus, “but not if those laws create substantial obstacles for women.”

At least for the time being, the courts still recognize that women’s rights supersede those of fanatical evangelicals who claim zygotes, embryos and fetuses are living human beings superior to the woman carrying them. This bizarre belief is despite the immutable word of the evangelicals’ almighty god that there is no “living being” until the fetus exits the womb and “breathes the breath of life.

The ruling was regarded as a complete victory by women’s rights advocates such as Amy Hagstrom Miller, the president of one of the lawsuit’s plaintiffs, Whole Women’s Health. Ms. Miller said:

This is a huge win for Texas women and families.”

However, that celebratory sentiment may prove to be premature at best. Remember, Texas attacks on women’s reproductive rights have been regularly struck down as “facially unconstitutional,” and for “placing an undue burden on women and not promoting public health;” but the religious Republicans return time and time again. Evangelical zealots are regarded as fanatics for a reason; their religion forbids them from recognizing the validity of the U.S. Constitution or that they do not have the authority to use religion to place “undue burdens on women.”

As expected, the evangelical fanatic serving as Texas attorney general, Ken ‘preacher’ Paxton. promised that he would appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and “all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary;” punishing  women with “undue burdens” is really important to Paxton and his evangelical extremists cult and they will not stop until the win. Through a statement preacher Paxton said:

Through extraordinary evidence and expert witness testimony, we established that Senate Bill 8 is lawful, treats the unborn with dignity and respect, and protects the integrity of the medical profession.”

The Republican appointed federal judge didn’t buy any of Texas evangelicals’ arguments for a slew of reasons he had no problem citing. So the religious zealots will seek out a judge who doesn’t adhere to the Constitution or one who inherently hates women’s rights; like those Trump has been appointing to lifetime positions.

It is unclear if Paxton will be the evangelical freak appealing another unconstitutional piece of  religious legislation designed to force doctors to “conduct a medical procedure that delivers no benefit to the woman patient.” Paxton is among a trio of religious right Republicans from Texas dealing with a world of serous legal issues of his own making. What Paxton does know is that the Texas legislation is part of a larger effort to confer ‘personhood’ on the ‘moment of fertilization’ to put a quick end to women’s reproductive rights whether it is the right to choose to terminate a pregnancy or use “artificial” contraceptives.

The evangelical right is setting a perilous precedent every day that no entity is challenging the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and House Republicans who have designated the ‘moment of conception’ as a valid American citizen worthy of constitutional rights superseding those of the woman carrying the organism. It is likely that few Americans are aware of the despicable attack on women’s right to self-determination that will come to an abrupt and painful end if religious Republicans are able make women’s rights secondary to the moment of fertilization and the resulting single-celled organism.

This author is just sick to death of these evangelical freaks-of-nature pushing their bastardized version of something hardly related to Christianity on the population with special focus on women under the dirty lie they are pro-life. They are not pro-life, and they do not give a rat’s ass about “treating the living with dignity and respect.” If that was remotely the case they would not champion taking food, shelter, clean water and healthcare from real living human beings.

Since there has been nothing but assaults on women’s rights, maybe this Texas ruling is good news, but it is rare. At the rate religious Republicans are attacking women’s reproductive rights on all fronts, coupled with Trump’s appointments of anti-women’s rights federal judges, it is just a matter of time until one of them cites the HHS and House Republican precedent that according to the federal government, the moment of fertilization is a person. And they will prevail because no women’s advocacy group or Democrat has the courage to challenge that atrocity. Because doing so will mean citing religious imposition contrary to the Constitution and if there is only one thing women’s groups and Democrats are terrified of doing is stating publicly that all of these vicious attacks on American women are coming from evangelical extremists.

Appeals Court Nominee is Another Trump Anti-women’s Rights Extremist

There can be little doubt any longer that there is an official, administration wide, war on American women in this country and if any American doesn’t believe it the  people are stupider than one originally thought possible.  Republicans have waged a non-stop war on women for decades, but Trump’s election empowered them to take extreme measures against women because a rubber stamp is in the Oval Office. Based on Trump’s selection for a seat on a U.S. District Court of Appeals, there will be another patriarchal rubber stamp on the federal judiciary and this particular anti-women’s rights malcontent believes that there are no rights worth affording over half the population; simply because they are women.

Today the Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on Trump’s nomination to serve on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for the rest of his misogynistic life. The current justice on the Texas Supreme Court, Don Willett, was in the running as a “potential” Supreme Court justice while Trump was campaigning for a job he is unqualified to hold, so it begins to make sense why he tapped Willet for an Appeals Court appointment he is unqualified to fill.

Willet has not altered his opinions since 2000 when he sent a “memo” demanding that then-Texas governor George W. Bush refrain from praising the Texas Federation of Business and Professional Women because they supported equal rights for women. Bush does have two daughters, a wife, and a mother and no doubt he considered their plight in a decidedly patriarchal society and had a semblance of appreciation for a Texas Business group advocating for women’s rights.

The letter Willet wrote to his boss, the Texas governor, was about a litany of policies he vehemently opposed; basically  anything remotely related to women’s equal rights. It was former head of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and current head of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Vanita Gupta, who sent the “memo” in a letter to the Senate prior to Willet’s confirmation hearing to alert them to Willet’s extremist position on women’s rights..

In his “memo” to Bush, Willet not only questioned the need for any laws protecting women from all manner of discrimination, he mocked the policy positions of the Texas Federation of Business and Professional Women. It is noteworthy that then Governor Bush was only going to make an “official proclamation” praising the business group’s advocacy for women in business; still, it was too much for Willet to take. He wrote:

They support the ERA, affirmative action, abortion rights, legislation adding teeth to the Equal Pay Act, etc. and they regularly line up with the AFL-CIO and similar groups. I resist the proclamation’s talk of ‘glass ceilings,’ pay equity (an allegation that some studies debunk), the need to place kids in the care of rented strangers, sexual discrimination and harassment, and the need generally for better ‘working conditions’ for women. I strongly resist anything that shows we believe the hype.”

Willet didn’t elucidate exactly what “hype” he or other Republicans don’t believe, but it appears that anything giving women the equality the U.S. Constitution guarantees all American citizens is an atrocity in his mind. Equal pay, not happening. The right to self-determination in reproductive health choices, definitely not acceptable. Placing children in day care while women work, for lower pay, also not acceptable. And the idea of better working conditions, such as protection from gender discrimination and sexual harassment cannot be allowed to take place.

No doubt Willet and his supporters will claim those were his deeply-held religious beliefs two decades ago and he’s a changed patriarchal conservative. That would be bullshit. Republicans still oppose equal pay, equal rights, protection from sexual harassment and reproductive freedom and Willet is, if nothing else, a dyed-in-the-wool patriarchal Republican. And, just two years ago he praised a 1905 case banning labor from suing employers for discrimination and minimum wage violations. He is anti-labor as well as an enemy of women and their Constitutional rights; it is precisely why Trump tapped him to sit on a federal appeals court for the rest of his life.

This latest assault on women by the Trump administration is more than a trend; it is an ongoing and concerted government-wide agenda that shows no sign of letting up. Putting an avowed anti-woman’s rights sycophant on a federal Appeals Court for life virtually guarantees women far into the future will have to contend with patriarchs who oppose equality for women – probably because it is a biblical construct. Now it is safe to assert it is the official policy of the Trump administration that no small number of white women helped elect because they wanted the country to go in a different direction and revert to a different era.

 

 

Evangelical Attack On Women’s Rights Hidden In GOP Tax Reform

Religious Republicans made another sneak attack on American women’s right to self-determination last week and there was barely a whimper; which is the reason the attack was done through subterfuge. And besides a lack of outrage,  there was a lack of media reporting that Republicans are embracing a Vatican dictate as the official stance of the GOP in the war on women. Based on the machinations Republicans are using to eliminate women’s reproductive rights, including the right to use contraceptives, they certainly know their agenda is highly unpopular; it is precisely why they ensconced a “personhood” provision deep in the 429-page Republican House’s tax reform legislation.

Despite several Varied states rejecting the bizarre, and frankly absurd, idea of “personhood,” as a legal provision and as a concept, Republicans are pushing the issue as a means of completely controlling women’s reproductive lives. For the second time in Trump and preacher Pence’s burgeoning theocracy, the federal government is officially  designating “personhood” status to a “eukaryotic cell formed by a fertilization event between a male (spermatozoa) and female (ookyte) gamete;” it is the result of the “moment of conception” Republicans consider sacrosanct.

Some Americans might recall from 8th grade Health Class that the human “eukaryotic cell” is known as a “zygote;” the single-celled organism Republicans are crusading to grant full citizenship and constitutional rights to as a means of creating a nation of women relegated to the 18th Century Hell of being perpetual birth machines or celibate.

As anyone with a pea-brain understands, Republicans indebted to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), evangelical fanatics, and the anti-women personhood movement  inserted the provision giving “personhood” rights to a fetus from the moment of conception as a prelude to banning abortion and birth control.

The provision seems harmless enough to an idiot, but it is the second time the federal government stated that the “moment of conception” (zygote) has the same rights as real living, and breathing, human beings. Even the evangelicals’ god of the bible said more than once that there is no “living being” until the fetus is out of the womb and breathing under its own power, but that “immutable word of god” doesn’t help evangelicals control women so they ignore it as if it came from Satan the Devil.

Republicans want to allow expectant parents to start putting away money into “tax-sheltered” savings accounts for college and private religious school tuition for the “child in utero.” If that is the case, then the next logical step is assigning the zygote, embryo, or fetus a Social Security number like any other living human being with their name on a tax or savings account. This atrocity is as serious as the Department of Health and Human Services “Mission Statement” providing full protections to “all Americans through every stage of life beginning at the moment of conception.

If anyone is dense enough to doubt that this sneak attack is not specifically for the benefit of the Vatican, personhood movement and anti-women’s rights evangelical groups, the statement by the president of the March for Life organization should dispel any doubt. Jeanne Mancini said:

A child in the womb is just as human as you or I yet, until now, the U.S. tax code has failed to acknowledge the unborn child [fetus, zygote]  — all while granting tax breaks for those seeking an abortion under the pretense of healthcare. The proposed tax plan is a huge leap forward for an antiquated tax code, and we hope this is the first step in expanding the child tax credit to include unborn children [fetuses] as well.”

Think about the absurdity of Mancini’s statement and consider that the so-called right to life cabal, with religious Republican assistance, wants to give tax-sheltered savings accounts and taxpayer-funded “child tax credits” to zygotes, embryos, and fetuses. Not because they care anything about life, but because they care about controlling women; a concern Republicans are happy to accommodate.

No doubt House Republicans will offer a tax credit for zygotes if it will further set in stone that the federal government of the most technologically advanced nation on Earth considers a zygote, embryo, or fetus a living breathing human being.

March for Life’s president of its political arm, Tom McClusky, said he was surprised Republicans were stealthy enough to sneak “personhood” language into tax reform language about college and private religious school savings plans. He said:

We’re thrilled about it, but it wasn’t something that we were specifically calling for. We’ll fight to make sure it stays in there.

The evangelicals and personhood movement will face opposition from women’s reproductive rights advocates such as NARAL, Pro-Choice America. A spokeswoman for the group said something they’ve said often since the Trump and preacher Pence administration began.

The GOP’s relentless obsession with advancing its dangerous anti-choice ideology knows no boundaries and no common sense. Inserting ‘personhood’ language into their tax bill is just the latest example of how they’re trying to turn back the clock on this country.”

And Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) said:

This is a back-door attempt to establish personhood from the moment of conception. What’s next, giving a Social Security number to a zygote?”

The devious Republican maneuver to establish “personhood” on a zygote eliminates Coverdell Education Savings Accounts that allow families to put aside up to $2,000 for college savings accounts for living breathing children. Instead, religious Republicans are expanding 529 savings accounts for in utero beings to cover up to $10,000 per year for private and religious school costs.

The pro-choice movement is rightly concerned that bestowing personhood on a zygote is a “back-door” attempt to abolish Roe v. Wade, but they should be just as worried that contraception is next on the chopping block; it is right there in the 1968 papal encyclical Humanae Vitae.

That same document that prohibits abortions also prohibits any form of birth control that is “artificial;” only the “rhythm method” is considered “natural” and Vatican approved. By declaring a zygote, or the “moment of conception,” a living breathing human being, Republicans are setting the stage to ban contraception because it prevents fertilization and is tantamount to abortion.

Remember, the idea of preventing the formation of a zygote, which is how contraceptives work on a very basic level, is what the Vatican considers abortion. That was the premise Hobby Lobby’s owners proffered when they went before the United States Supreme Court to argue that no matter what human biology or medical science says, birth control is abortion. Although the Justices acknowledged the veracity of medical science and biology, they ruled that if Hobby Lobby’s evangelical owners deeply held religious belief says birth control is abortion, then birth control is abortion. It is why Hobby Lobby won its case and why women’s advocates, and opinion column writers, went ballistic warning it was the first step in banning women’s choice completely.

If anyone doesn’t believe that is the Republicans’ goal, just last week in Wisconsin Democrats attempted to add an amendment to another state-level Republican assault on women’s reproductive rights. That amendment simply called on Republicans to ensure that the evangelical attack would not prohibit women from using contraceptives; Republicans rejected the amendment out of hand. Remember, according to the Vatican, all contraceptives are regarded as “artificial” forms of birth control and are banned. For dog’s sake, even the Muslim religion doesn’t ban any “artificial” form of birth control; they do not want the religion’s adherents mired in poverty as a result more children than a family can support.

It is curious that women, and the men who claim to care about them, are not in the streets demanding an immediate halt to these religious Republican attacks on women’s rights. Nearly every two weeks there is a new attacks on women’s reproductive rights and except for a few advocacy groups complaining about “Republicans’ obsession” with women’s reproductive rights, there is relative silence. If pro-choice groups, and Democrats, would cite the real source of this war on women, male-dominated religion, it is likely the people would react. But no-one is willing to tell the people that their wives, sisters, mothers and daughters are under an assault from an extremist religious sect; and it is not Islam.

Women have a bleak future in store when Republicans finally win the war on women, and at this point it appears they are winning. America is still a vicious patriarchal society and the easiest way for Republican men to keep women out of politics, out of the workforce, and without a voice is keeping them in a perpetual state of childbirth. That is what will happen when Republicans succeed in eliminating women’s right to self-determination and at the rate this administration is going, it will be sooner than later and it happened while the people were laser focused on Trump’s tweets and not a bloodless coup d’état by evangelicals serving the needs of the Vatican.

Image: Eclectablog

New GOP Tactic in the Evangelical Forced Birth Crusade 

In a scene right out of a dystopian novel about a future evangelical theocracy in the former United States of America, a Wisconsin Republican claimed America needs “forced birth” policies for the continued success of economic prosperity. As absurd as it sounds, this latest ploy should convince naysayers that evangelical Republicans are pulling out all the stops to to force women to be human incubators by theocratic fiat.

The evangelicals and Republicans waging war on women’s reproductive rights and freedom of self determination have employed every conceivable argument to avoid admitting controlling women’s lives is a religious crusade. So it was not that unexpected that Wisconsin Republicans were restricting women’s right to choose on a familiar “excuse” to control women. But it was a new low for one evangelical Republican state representative, a reprobate Republican named Scott Allen, to defend another attack on women’s rights by saying abortions are bad because “labor forces are tied to population declines.”

Allen was arguing in favor of Assembly Bill 128 that prohibits health insurance coverage for abortions. Wisconsin already prohibits public employee’s healthcare plans from covering abortion services unless it is medically necessary, but it wasn’t harsh enough for evangelical Republicans. In fact, it is safe to say nothing is harsh enough for evangelical Republicans in their war to control women.

Wisconsin Democrats attempted to add two amendments to the anti-women bill, but Republicans said no, the personhood movement won’t allow it. One of the amendments should be shocking it had to be proposed, but to prevent America from becoming Gilead, Democrats sought to ensure that the evangelical measure would not prohibit women from using contraception. Republicans rejected that idea out of hand. As per the Catholic Humanae Vitae, contraceptives are considered “artificial” birth control and thus are on the legislative chopping block.

The second amendment attempted to eliminate the requirement that a sexual assault or incest victim report the crime to law enforcement to be legally eligible for an abortion; evangelical Republicans rejected that measure also. When they say they want to control women’s right to self-determination about their reproductive lives, they mean there are no barriers and no exceptions to their religious tyranny. That’s why Scott Allen’s contention that women choosing when to give birth is bad for the economy was a canard and a dangerous one at that.

In his speech Allen said:

Often in public debates people are afraid to say it, but let me just say it: Abortion is wrong. Although it may be legal we should in no way shape or form should we provide public funding for abortion.

Labor force shortages are tied to population declines. And labor force shortages are a limiting factor in economic growth. And limited economic growth poses a problem when government tries to pay for public services and infrastructure. In spite of this … the Democrats continue their effort to support the abortion industry.”

There are a few things in Allen’s statement that have to be addressed. First, according to Governor Scott Walker, the Wisconsin “total labor force reached an all-time high in September.” The evangelical state does not have to enact “forced birth” laws because there is a labor shortage.

Second, this notion that “we provide public funding for abortion” is an oft-cited fallacy and one that is never addressed or corrected. Any employer, public or private, that offers healthcare insurance is doing so as “part of the employee compensation” package for work performed. What an employee does with that “compensation” is none of the employer’s, or religious Republicans’ business, but it has been an easy means of the righteous theocrats to control women. The Republican men passing these laws would react violently if women employers prohibited male workers from using part of their  “employee compensation package” to buy “boner pills.”

Third, Allen’s smart-ass remarks about “economic growth” and government revenue falling short to pay for “public services and infrastructure” is pure bullshit, and Allen knows it. He is a Republican and like all other Republicans he doesn’t believe government should pay for anything; except his salary and his  employee benefit package.

Allen’s claim to fame is being a champion to reform (eliminate) prevailing wage laws and crusading to enact “right to work for less” laws; he is an ardent anti-organized labor cretin who supports slave wages that are the bane of “economic growth and prosperity.” He also opposes fair taxation. And coupled with a labor force earning poverty wages that Allen supports, tax cuts for business and the wealthy are what “pose a problem when government tries to pay for public services infrastructure,” not access to abortion.

Now, it is likely that Allen doesn’t even believe his own argument opposing women’s choice, but these absurd reasons to control women never stop with one idiotic evangelical Republican. It should be expected that other Republicans will embrace the “economic” reasons for restricting women’s autonomy on their reproductive choices. Contraception in health plans was once considered a non-controversial part of basic healthcare until religious Republicans discovered “the fetus” as an emotional campaign tactic. Even Hobby Lobby’s owners “lavished” contraception coverage on their employee’s health plans prior to the Affordable Care Act. Now denying, and banning, contraception is a tried and true means of controlling women. It is no coincidence that Wisconsin’s religious Republicans rejected language prohibiting the state from banning women from using contraception and it means it is in the offing.

It is still a mystery why women are not taking to the streets in massive numbers to protest their certain loss of autonomy as American citizens since the religious right took power after last year’s election. Even a bigger mystery, really, is why the men that claim to love their mothers, wives, girlfriends and daughters are not storming the White House, Congress and Republican statehouses to confront this group of white religious Republican men attacking their loved ones; especially to impose evangelical tyranny on over half the population. It is incomprehensible that in the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” a religious minority is imposing its tyrannical edicts on America’s women without any opposition.

It is true that women’s reproductive rights advocates are fighting the good fight, but they never cite the real reason women are under a sustained assault. One of the primary reasons the religious right, and many in the clergy, are escalating their attacks on women is because they know that they can work behind the scenes and prevail because no-one is identifying religious tyranny as the source of the assaults. It may be Republicans introducing and enacting anti-women’s rights laws, but they are simply surrogates for the Vatican and personhood religious movement. Now they are employing a new tactic and fear-mongering that if the religious right is prohibited from forcing women into perpetual child birth, the nation’s economy will suffer. It is an obscene and absurd assertion, but the stupid quotient in the population means a significant number of idiots will believe it is an immutable truth.

Image: Daily Kos

White House Memo Signals Massive Religious War On Women in 2018

Any American who believed the Trump White House was finished ravaging women’s healthcare after past two weeks was sadly mistaken. It seemed impossible the evangelicals running Trump’s America could get any worse after the Health and Human Service’s (HHS) declaration that a single-celled organism is a living person worthy of federal government protections. That biblically- and biologically-incorrect “myth” that the moment of conception is a person according to Vatican dogmata was a preview of what the Trump theocrats have in store for women in 2018.

A recently leaked White House memo portends an America in the image of the Emmy Award Winning HULU original series and 1986 dystopian novel “The Handmaids Tale” and the beginning of the end of birth control in America.

Two weeks ago Trump granted religious authority to all employers to withhold contraceptives from their employees according to their Vatican-inspired belief that “any artificial” means of birth control is an abortion and a mortal sin. Trump granted that religious authority to protect evangelicals’ religious liberty to control women.

One week ago, the Department of Health and Human Services “mission statementrevealed that going forward in the United States, a zygote is a living person the government exists to protect. Both of those actions insinuated exactly what the evangelicals Trump authorized to wage war on women and families are planning for 2018 according to the leaked White House document.

The memo was acquired by Crooked Media and it was almost certainly written by the evangelicals running domestic policy and prosecuting Trump’s war against women, families, and their freedom of self-determination; all to protect evangelicals’ religious freedom to control women.

The Trump administration’s policy agenda on women’s reproductive health “guts” funding for all evidence-based pregnancy prevention programs and transfers that  money directly to evangelicals’ failed  “abstinence only education” and “fertility awareness programs.” Fertility awareness is code for the only Vatican-approved form of “natural” family planning and birth control, the unreliable “rhythm method.” It is important to note for the ten-thousandth time the according to the 1968 Papal encyclical Humanae Vitae, using “unnatural” or “artificial” forms of birth control is a ticket straight to the biblical Hell; even though it doesn’t say that in any Christian bible.

Some of the “wish list’s” more offensive features are defunding “Title X” because it is the only federally-funded family planning initiative and it does not ban “artificial” contraception and it doesn’t  promote “abstinence only education” or “fertility awareness” programs as the only acceptable form of birth control. They aren’t promoted because they don’t work.

The “list” also included ending the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) budget because, that’s right, it doesn’t promote “ abstinence only and fertility awareness” as the only Vatican-approved form of “natural” birth control.

Also on the evangelicals’ chopping block is a federal Teen Pregnancy Prevention program (TPP) because it doesn’t mandate abstinence-only education. And just to demonstrate that the evangelicals are not content warring against American women, the World Health Organization (WHO) is on the outs because of the “Let Girls Learn” initiative that’s part of USAID.

The memo calls for cutting Title X fundingat least in half” because it helps low-income women afford “artificial” and “unnatural” forms of birth control banned by the Vatican. The evangelicals want the money diverted to what Republicans in Congress might allow to remain of “childcare programs” because according to the Guttmacher Institute, Title X is preventing at least one million unintended pregnancies every year.

The remaining Title X funds will go straight to “fertility awareness” programs; that is code for the so-called “rhythm method.”  It is the only Catholic approved “natural” form of birth control and relies on abstinence during the period a woman is fertile each month. But it is not dependable by any measure and that appears to be the point.

The “rhythm methodfails to prevent pregnancy over 25 percent of the time and was appropriate for 19th Century “family planning.” Conversely, Vatican-condemned “unnatural” and “artificial” forms of birth control have failure rates of between “less than one percent to one percent” when used correctly.  To make sure young women are ignorant of using any form of “unnatural” or “artificial” birth control “correctly,” the evangelical memo calls for completely wiping out the “Teen Pregnancy Prevention” program (TPP).

That highly successful program initiated in 2010 is “evidence-based policymaking” and not founded on a 1986 papal encyclical, so Trump’s evangelicals say it absolutely has to be eliminated. Trump’s evangelicals said “the program has not worked and there is no positive evidence and some negative evidence.”

Trump’s lying evangelicals made an easily debunked and “categorically false statement” about TPP in their crusade to control women.  According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), just between 2010 and 2015 the teen pregnancy birth dropped a whopping 35 percent; currently the teen pregnancy birth rate is at “an all time low.”

Obviously the Trump administration is making it more difficult for women to access effective forms of contraception and want taxpayer dollars spent teaching women how to use the least effective method because it is Vatican approved. This is not a religious liberty issue, or a pro-life issue; it is a forced childbirth crusade and nothing else.

It is stunning, really, that few Americans recognize the pattern of attacks on women over the past seven years, or that it is a religious attack on women, and families. It should have been a clarion call to action when evangelical employers won the right to deny birth control access to their workers, but it wasn’t. Now, all employers can claim “religious freedom” to withhold contraceptives from their employees and the federal government says a zygote is a living person. This is an evangelical holy war against birth control and the religious right is winning with little to no opposition.

One would like to claim that it is high time for women to take to the streets to save their right to self-determination, and personal freedoms, but it is too late. The religious right controls the halls of power and they are using that power to control women and force them into perpetual childbirth to sate the whims of a religious edict with no scriptural basis; not that a “scriptural basis” would make these attacks any less of an affront. America is still a secular democracy, although a dying one, and there is no place for scripture in government policy.

If men think they aren’t affected by an evangelical administration they are stupider than the moron in the Oval Office. It’s likely there aren’t too many men that relish struggling to support a family of ten or eleven children, or remain celibate to avoid living in poverty, but that is precisely what Republicans and evangelicals are pushing to fruition. If nothing else, men should be enraged that a bunch of old white Republican guys with bibles and misogynists wearing funny religious costumes are crusading to control their wives, daughters, mothers and sisters, but it’s glaringly apparent they are not.

Most Americans with an ounce of awareness knew a Republican-dominated government would attack women’s rights; they have to pay tribute to their evangelical voting bloc. However, it is unlikely they were aware the attacks would come as fast and furious as they have thus far. If the Trump evangelicals get their way, and there is every reason to believe they will, 2018 will be the beginning of the end of women’s reproductive rights and they will have imposed a Vatican policy nationwide with little opposition. This is a monumental escalation in the war on women and a damn dark sign America is inching closer to being a theocracy where women are nothing more than birth machines. Still, there is more outrage over Trump’s tweets than the vicious religious assault on women.

Vatican Edict In Trump’s HHS Portends Extreme Danger for Women

When the right-wing screams they want to take their country back to a dark era when women were relegated to third class status, they likely didn’t count on going back to the 14th Century. That was smack in the middle of the seriously dark era when the Catholic Church virtually ruled the world by controlling nearly all of western civilization by imposing its theocratic will on leaders of most nations.

Now, the Catholic Church is influencing America’s leaders according to an abominable three words in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) draft mission statement. Although it defies science, the Christian bible, the Catholic and evangelical right’s almighty god and just plain common sense, Trump’s evangelical cabal inserted a purely religious edict as government policy to sate the religious right and United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). They are the two extremely dangerous groups that vehemently oppose a woman’s right to make any decisions about their reproductive health and lives. This is really that serious and a sign of terrible imposition of religion by government fiat.

Some Americans know there was a Republican war on women but it was really always “religious” war on women. Now that war is being conducted by Trump’s federal theocrats who inserted a Vatican phrase into the HHS mission statement lifted right out of the 1968 Papal encyclical on life –  Humanae Vitae subtitled “On the Regulation of Birth.”

During previous administrations, the HHS mission statement was:

HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving Americans at every stage of life.”

 Now, with an administration hewing close to the standard Catholic discriminatory religious orthodoxy on women’s health and personal life decisions, the HHS mission statement says:

HHS accomplishes its mission through programs and initiatives that cover a wide spectrum of activities, serving and protecting Americans at every stage of life, beginning at conception.”

Those three words, “beginning at conception,” are the sole basis for the Vatican’s unholy and unscriptural opposition to “any form of ‘unnatural’ or ‘artificial’ birth control.” It is noteworthy that the only form of ‘natural’ birth control that literally guarantees “birth control” is celibacy.

Some Americans are aware that under the Affordable Care Act birth control was required to be covered with no co-pay as a preventive health service for women and their families. It was an attempt to correct the bias against women in the insurance industry as well as provide Americans with valuable assistance in family planning. That “assistance” was too much for Republicans indebted to the radical evangelical cult that exists to control and dominate women. So Trump jumped at chance to repay the patriarchs in the religious right and scrapped the contraception mandate in a blatant religious attack on American women.

The new theocratic ruling will impact the millions of women who now receive contraceptives at no cost under the “former” provision and it was a ruling the evangelical fanatics and USCCB wanted to eliminate. The idea of women getting or using contraceptives at all is an abomination to the Vatican, so in conjunction with the religious right they tasked Republicans to oppose the mandate and Trump made it go away.

The new rules allow all manner of employers, including nonprofits, private companies, and publicly traded corporations to join radical evangelicals like Hobby Lobby’s owners and ban contraceptives in health insurance plans based on a “sincerely held religious or moral objection;” an objection founded on the Vatican’s 1968 “encyclical on life.”

Tragically, now that the evangelical extremist sect got the basis for the Vatican’s edict on life inserted into the federal Health Department’s mission statement, the stage is set for the personhood movement to abolish, not just restrict,  any form of ”unnatural or artificial birth control,” fertility treatments, abortion, or anything to do with stem cell research; all forbidden in the 1968 Roman Catholic encyclical on life and founded on the religious fantasy that “life begins at conception.”

The idea that life begins at conception is a Catholic construct with absolutely no scriptural, biological, or medical science basis whatsoever. In fact it contradicts what the Christian bible’s almighty god said several times about when life begins. As a reminder, according to the “immutable and unerring word of god” of the Christian bible; there is no life, or “living being,” until a fetus leaves the womb and draws “the breath of life.” No zygote, embryo or fetus can possible draw “the breath of life;” but that inconvenient truth doesn’t fit the Vatican, and now bastardized American Christians, plan to control women’s reproductive lives.

Of course the evangelical fanatics and Vatican control freaks know exactly what their god said regarding living beings, but they cannot control women’s reproductive health choices unless a single-celled zygote is a person; that is exactly what the Catholic ‘personhood’ movement claims. Now the United States federal government claims it as official policy.

It was that “life begins at conception” absurdity that Hobby Lobby used to convince the conservatives on the Supreme Court that birth control pills are “abortifacients.” For the uninformed, an abortifacient is a drug used to induce an abortion or cause a miscarriage after a sperm cell fertilizes an ovum; the definition of “ the moment of conception.”

Hobby Lobby, following the Vatican’s encyclical on life, claimed that using birth control prevents conception and is therefore abortion. Of course the conservatives on the High Court conceded that using contraceptives is not “an abortion,” but because it was contrary to Hobby Lobby owners’ “sincerely held religious or moral objections,” the Court acquiesced to the Vatican edict and ruled in Hobby Lobby’s favor.

It is likely that many Americans, including religious Americans and women, have no concept of the danger inherent in an extremist religious edict such as “life begins at conception;” it will have a deleterious impact on women and men. Remember, according to the Vatican edict, any unnatural form of birth control is strictly verboten on pain of everlasting torment in Hellfire; because birth control prevents “conception” the clergy claims is tantamount to murder. That means birth control pills, IUDs, diaphragms, tubal ligations, hysterectomies, vasectomies, condoms and any other “unnatural or artificial” form of birth control are abortion; because they all prevent “conception.”

Now that America is in the clutches of a cabal of radical religious extremists, every nightmarish scenario possible is just another executive order away from becoming reality. It is worth remembering that the religious right was not always opposed to abortion or contraception. They embraced the issue as their own after they lost the right to impose school segregation in the South on counsel and advice from the United States Conference of Bishops (USCCB). The religious right needed an emotional cause célèbre to garner electoral support for Republicans and the USCCB gave them one straight from the Vatican – “life begins at conception.”

To be perfectly clear, and head off criticism, this is not condemning Catholics any more than it is condemning Christians; just those extremists, organizations, and clergy forcing their dangerous pseudo religious dogmata on all Americans. It is almost certain that most Catholics and Christians would be appalled if they understood the danger of theocratic edicts like “life begins at conception” as a federal government policy.

As an aside, it is odd that a very high percentage of Catholic women have used birth control and it leads one to wonder if making it harder to acquire contraception in America is driving this bizarre fantasy that life begins at conception. According to the Catholic god’s immutable and unerring word, life begins when a fetus exits the womb and draws “the breath of life.”

The only thing that begins at conception is a diploid cell (zygote) resulting from the fusion of two haploid gametes; a sperm and an ovum. It is a basic biological fact that the Vatican, evangelical fanatics and Republicans refuse to grasp even though their god explained it so a three-month-old Rottweiler could understand it. Now America is in the grip of these religious maniacs, and it appears women are in the grip of the Vatican’s 1968 Humanae Vitae; a document well-suited for the 14h Century the Trump administration and evangelical right are imposing in 21st Century America.

Image: CNS/Bob Roller