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

DOJ Issues Religious License To Discriminate Against Women and Gays

The corrupt and radical religious cesspool known as the Trump-Pence administration ushered America one step closer to an extremist evangelical theocracy and assaulted the secular U.S. Constitution and federal laws in the process on Friday. The good news for evangelical fascists panting to punish Americans who fail to hew to the religious right’s nasty worldview came courtesy of Trump’s racist attorney general, Jeff “sermonizer” Sessions.

As a man who claims the religious “separation clause” in the U.S. Constitution’s is patently unconstitutional and unhistorical, Sessions laid down the evangelical law that going forward, no government employee, agency, or contractor has to adhere to anti-discrimination laws or the 14th Amendment if they claim doing so offends their religious beliefs.

This ultimate “license to discriminate” has been pushed in red religious Republican states since 2010, but prior to the last election there was a firewall at the federal level protecting equal rights. And no, the firewall was not the U.S. Constitution or federal anti-discrimination laws; they still exist but religious Republicans ignore them. The firewall was an administration that hewed closely to the Constitution replete with a Justice Department defending all Americans’ right to protections outlined in the 14th Amendment. It should be obvious by now that the Trump administration players have as much respect for the Constitution as they do veracity, or tolerance for Americans unwilling to subject themselves to radical evangelicals’ nasty form of “Christianity.”

According to the Trump administration’s latest theocratic edict, all it takes is a claim of “violating religious freedom” to “override any anti-discrimination protection for LGBT people, women, and many, many other Americans.” In fact, as the Associated Press noted:

The guidelines are so sweeping that experts on religious liberty are calling them a legal powder-keg that could prompt wide-ranging lawsuits against the government.”

The reality is that with a theocratic administration, Justice Department, Congress and Supreme Court, those “wide-ranging” lawsuits will be shut down with extreme prejudice. The DOJ under Sessions and Trump has already inserted itself into employment lawsuits on behalf of radical evangelicals who claim their religious liberty makes them immune to the Constitution’s equal rights provisions, employment laws, and anti-discrimination laws.

The humanitarian folks over at LGBT Weekly performed a preliminary analysis of this newest Trump-Pence theocratic assault on Americans and although they focused on the LGBTQ community and women, every demographic and American citizen are at risk. After all, the concept behind an overarching evangelical “license to discriminate” is providing radicalized Christians uncontested federal government authority to punish any American they believe violates their “religious freedom.”

Just a sampling of the horrors of the latest evangelical edict may provide a preview of what American citizens can expect with a federally-enforced “license to discriminate” declaration from Trump’s justice department. For example:

A Social Security Administration employee could refuse to accept or process spousal or survivor benefits paperwork for a surviving same-sex spouse. Government contractors will no longer be legally bound to  provide emergency services to unmarried women or members of the LGBT community because the risk of losing federal, state or city contracts no longer exists.

Organizations that receive federal tax dollars, like every church in America, that was at one time prohibited from demanding that all of their employees adhere to the tenets of the organization’s religion could now legally discriminate against LGBTQ, single women, and the non-religious by not providing employment benefits or employment.

Any agency, including churches and tax-exempt non-profits that receive federal aid in any form, and even those organizations’ individual staff members could refuse services for LGBTQ children in crisis. And they now have something they have fought tooth and nail to see implemented; unilateral authority stop  “placing adoptive or foster children with a same-sex couple or transgender couple;” or non-Christians and people of color if they claim doing so offends their religious sensibilities.

Women will face as much discrimination as LGBTQ people and that is part and parcel of the evangelical edict. The religious right Republicans have attempted to pass legislation forcing women to reveal if they use contraception, and organizations that receive federal funding have, in fact, attempted to require women, not men, to sign employment documents pledging to adhere to the organization’s owners religious standards on pain of employment termination.

This new theocratic edict will affect more than just “federal” agencies and contractors. There are very, very few state and local entities serving the public that do not receive federal funds whether they are public utilities,  public schools, police and fire departments, churches, hospitals and clinics, and emergency service providers. And it is noteworthy that this theocratic expansion of “conscience laws” now has the full weight and authority of the federal government based on religion. This is the new “religious liberty” radical evangelicals have lusted for and if any American thinks they are immune because they aren’t gay, aren’t women, or aren’t people of color, they are phenomenally stupid.

Of course the Trump administration’s latest theocratic edict elicited outrage from advocates for equal rights, but it is probably far too little far too late.

The president and CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) commented thus:

Today’s guidance by Jeff Sessions proves this [theocratic] Administration will do anything possible to categorize LGBTQ Americans as second-class citizens who are not equal under the law. Freedom of religion does not give people the right to impose their beliefs on others, to harm others, or to discriminate. Nothing could be more un-American and unholy than using religion to justify harm and discrimination to others.”

The president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Chad Griffin said:

Today the Trump-Pence administration launched an all-out assault on LGBTQ people, women, and other minority communities by unleashing a sweeping license to discriminate. This blatant attempt to further Donald Trump’s cynical and hateful [theocratic] agenda will enable systematic, government-wide discrimination that will have a devastating impact on LGBTQ people and their families. Donald Trump and Mike Pence have proven they will stop at nothing to target the LGBTQ community and drag our nation backwards.

It is noteworthy to remind the naysayers that religious freedom in 21st Century America is the freedom to impose the radical evangelical worldview on all Americans and punish those unwilling to comply with the bastardized version of Christianity. And yes, it is bastardized because the religion’s namesake, Jesus Christ, preached against everything the religious right stands for and promotes.

This latest theocratic assault on America and its Constitution will affect more than just the LGBTQ community and women; although they will bear the brunt of the attacks first. Like previous state-level “license to discriminate laws,” anyone remotely connected to an organization or agency receiving federal taxpayer dollars, can refuse to provide a service or assistance to anyone they claim violates their deeply held religious beliefs, even if they aren’t religious or affiliated with a religion. Bigotry is now a religious faith in America so everyone is a target.

This is not, as was once apt to say, ‘the way theocratic tyranny begins.” Theocracy is here in 2017 in the form of a federally-enacted “license to discriminate” and is not simply an invitation to discriminate, it is a signal to the extremist evangelical right that their “religious freedom” now includes federal protection to flout the equal rights of all Americans and the U.S. Constitution.

Tragically, with radical evangelical extremists running all three branches of the federal government, no American is safe. And there is no longer any freedom from imposition of religion by government fiat; something the Founding Fathers and Constitution’s Framers thought was so important they included it in the First Amendment.

Image: Gage Skidmore

Court Rules Against Kentucky’s Religious Abortion Law “With Prejudice”

As expected, women in Donald Trump’s America have already suffered assault after assault to their rights. There has been no good news for women since Trump’s poorly attended inauguration and it is likely there won’t be at the national level until the “pussy-grabbing” misogynist is out of the White House and Republicans lose control of both houses of Congress. However, there was a sliver of good news late this week at the state level when an evangelical extremist governor suffered a blow from a federal judge in Kentucky.

In the ruling handed down in an opinion that only required one page, Federal Judge David Hale told Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin that his cherished anti-woman law violated the Constitution. What that means for Kentucky women, and their healthcare providers is that they will no longer be forced into undergoing an ultrasound prior to terminating a pregnancy.

The law, H.B. 2, which was enacted in January, required doctors to perform an ultrasound and attempt to show an image of the fetus and play audio of its heartbeat to a pregnant woman before performing an abortion. Instead of being truthful and admitting that the barbaric law was the work of radical evangelical extremists, upon signing it Bevin hailed the law as “protect[ing] our most vulnerable, guaranteeing important freedoms for workers and setting our Commonwealth on a course for unparalleled opportunity and prosperity.”

It’s unclear exactly how forcing physicians to perform an ultrasound to demean the woman “guaranteed freedoms for workers” when it forced doctors to perform an unnecessary procedure, or set Kentucky “on a course for unparalleled opportunity and prosperity.” But it sounds more reasonable than Bevin explaining the real reason for the law; to control women, deny them their constitutional rights, and dictate to doctors how to practice medicine according to radical evangelical extremists.

Bevin was being honest when he saidIt is an honor for me to sign into law these historic pieces of legislation” because his evangelical bent informs his intent, and honor, to control women’s reproductive lives and force doctors to do the bidding of the radical evangelical extremists running Kentucky.

The Federal Judge’s ruling is just months after Bevin attempted to shutter EMW Women’s Surgical Center on “his claim” it didn’t meet state health requirements.  A lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of the woman’s clinic and said:

If EMW is forced to close its doors, there will be no licensed abortion facility in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Kentucky women would be left without access to a critical and constitutionally protected medical procedure.

Of course that was Bevin’s, and the Kentucky legislature’s, intent and it inspired the Judge to issue a tersely worded one-page decision slapping the evangelicals down like they deserved. The key part of the very short ruling said:

The defendants (Bevin et al) “are permanently enjoined from enforcing H.B. 2 by civil action, criminal proceeding … or any other means of penalizing any person for failure to comply with H.B. 2 by by civil actions criminal proceeding, administrative action or proceeding, or any other means; and applying, imposing, or requiring compliance with, implementing, or carrying out in any way any part of H.B. 2. This action is DISMISSED with prejudice and STRICKEN from the Court’s docket.” (Judge’s bold and caps)

In a statement the ACLU said the ruling was a “vindication of the rights of Kentuckians and their physicians.” A senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project, Alexa Kolbi-Molinas also said in the statement:

We are pleased that Kentuckians will no longer be subjected to this demeaning and degrading invasion into their personal health care decisions. This ruling puts us one step closer to getting Kentucky politicians out of the exam room.”

If Ms. Kolbi-Molinas were more forthcoming and not terrified of butt-hurting the evangelical extremists behind H.B. 2, she would have said the ruling puts “us one step closer to getting Kentucky evangelical extremists out of women’s vaginas.” But she made her point. As anyone with a pulse comprehends,  although it was Kentucky’s Republicans “in the exam room” and physicians’ medical practices, they were driven by evangelical interlopers to impose their bastardized religion on women and their medical providers.

It is true that this victory is noteworthy, but Kentucky is just one of the many Republican-controlled states on a tear to criminalize a legal medical procedure on religious grounds. Kentucky’s other attack on women is a ban on abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy, but the lawsuit only focused on “forcing doctors to perform ultrasounds” and not the 20-week ban. The evangelicals running the House of Representatives are set to vote next week on a federal version of H.B. 2 and never one to pass up an opportunity to punish women, Trump pledged to sign that 20-week abortion ban. It is unclear if the federal attack on women’s rights will advance past the Senate, but this Federal Court ruling may inform religious Republican senators that passing laws targeting a legal medical procedure is unconstitutional.

As this column has complained about relentlessly, neither the Federal Judge nor the ACLU ever mentioned that these and other attacks on women’s reproductive rights are founded solely on a genuinely bizarre version of Christianity championed by the radical evangelical personhood movement, and the Vatican. It certainly leads one to believe there is a federal law or article in the Constitution prohibiting anyone from uttering an unkind or accusatory word against a specific religion. Conservatives have no issue defaming other religions.

Despite spending no small amount of time studying the U.S. Constitution, and the U.S. Code, this author can find no state or federal law, or statute, or article in the Constitution banning any American from uttering an untoward comment about religion. Kentucky’s H.B. 2, like the House’s ridiculous fetal pain legislation, is founded on an absurd religious belief and according to the First Amendment, religious beliefs cannot be legislated into law. It’s damned high time women’s advocacy groups and Democrats, and Federal judges acknowledge that it is patently unconstitutional to legislate the establishment of religion; particularly legislating religion to punishing non-compliant women.

Image: LeoWeekly

Republicans Announce Another Extremist Evangelical Attack On Women

Republicans in the House announced yet another plan to ban women’s constitutional rights, and like everything driving the GOP’s war on women, the assault is driven by Christian extremists’ lust for control and dominance over women’s reproductive health. Although there is nothing in the Christian religion justifying these relentless attacks on women’s reproductive rights, Republicans all but admitted this is simply remuneration for the evangelicals’ electoral support.

The legislation, the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” written for the anti-women’s choice sector by Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ) is founded on Vatican dogma, not science. It is another attempt to ban abortions after 20 weeks. The legislation does provide exceptions (with conditions) only “to save the life of the pregnant woman” or in the case of “rape and incest.” However those exceptions are only applicable if the woman “obtains counseling and treatment” for rape at least 48 hours prior to the procedure.

Standing alongside the proud religious Republicans during a press conference announcing the vote next were anti-women’s choice, and rights, group leaders. Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-women’s group Susan B. Anthony List was joined by National Right to Life’s Jennifer Popick who boasted that the religious legislation is a replica of her evangelical group’s model legislation attacking women’s rights.

The bill, a wet-knicker experience for Dannenfelser, is likely not biblically severe enough for her liking. During the House GOP fetal pain attempt in 2015, Dannenfelser was appalled at the rape exception. She said it was “abominable” and “regrettable”  that Republicans included it for “reasons of political feasibility.

She wanted a bill that hewed more closely to the religious Republican assertion that “the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life” in the attempt to ban abortion. An Oklahoma religious Republican went a step farther and saidgod uses rape to bring beauty from ashes” in his argument that there can be no exceptions to abortion bans.

Dannenfelser did what the religious right typically does and lied vy claiming her advocacy against women’s reproductive rights is helping women, but in order to really help “the woman” the anti-women’s rights movement really needs a law for the children. She said:

We want to be there for the woman, and we know we need a law to protect the children.”

This author is getting damn sick and tired of reiterating that a fetus, an embryo and a zygote are not “children;” regardless what the Vatican or religious right says. And to repeat for the ten-thousandth time; according to the religious right’s holy bible, there is no child, no infant, or no “living being” until the fetus exits the womb and breathes air sans medical intervention.

This entire issue is another religious attempt to control women and it is founded on an oft-debunked claim by evangelical know-nothings who claim a fetus feels pain at 20 weeks of gestation. That is literally and physically impossible. According to decades of medical and biological science, anatomy, physiology, and scientists who actually know of what they speak; a fetus at 20 weeks cannot possibly feel pain. Simply because the neurological development to sense pain does not occur until “about’ two months later, at 27 weeks. Still, a bunch of religious fanatics have convinced Republicans that they are better qualified than the preponderance of pathological evidence and the science.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) said it considers the case to be closed as to whether a fetus can feel pain at that stage in development.

Kate Connors, a spokeswoman for the ACOG, explained what medical professionals and scientists have know for ages: “The science shows that based on gestational age, the fetus is not capable of feeling pain until the third trimester.” The third trimester begins at about 27 weeks into the pregnancy.

Now, the religious right, the “Christ-centeredpersonhood movement, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) representing the Vatican all claim science and medical professionals are wrong. Their claim is not founded on their bible, but on the 1968 papal encyclical on life, physiology, and apparently gynecology, “Humanae Vitae;” a document they believe supersedes all known medical science and physiological facts because god.

Anti-choice religious extremists damn sure couldn’t use their ‘holy bible’ as evidence to support the claim because their god says there is no living being until the fetus exits the womb and draws breath under its own power. If their god says there is no living being until after birth, then why are these vicious and unrelenting religious attacks on women continuing unabated? Because Republicans, like religious right extremists, want women where the religious right says they belong; birthing little Republicans, cleaning a man’s chamber pot, and remaining silent like the religious right’s bible commands.

A fair share of the blame for these unconstitutional attempts to legislate the establishment of religion on women’s rights belongs to Democrats, the media, pro-choice organizations, women’s advocacy groups, and Americans terrified of using the word “religion.” Oh, opponents of these horrendous attacks on women’s rights come up with all the popular and politically correct reasons to oppose these religious impositions, but not one of them ever cites the only reason they exist – evangelical extremist religion. If those opponents weren’t cowards, they would tell the people Republican legislation is precisely what the First Amendment of the Constitution prohibits: legislation establishing religion.

Even the man proudly announcing the anti-woman legislation didn’t dare admit it is founded on a bastardized version of Christianity or a 1968 papal encyclical. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) could have been honest and said the purpose of the legislation was to punish and control women on behalf of the religious right; instead he said:

Not only will passing this legislation keep a promise we [and Trump] made, but all the work is for the same goal: ending suffering and helping people live.”

The legislation will levy a penalty, including a fine and up to five years in prison, on any woman even “seeking” an abortion after 20 weeks; the medical professional performing the legal medical procedure will face the same punishment.

It’s possible these religious attacks on women will never cease; religious extremists never relent or ISIS and the Taliban would be long gone. However, it is damn high time that Democrats, women’s advocacy groups, pro-choice organizations, women and the men who care about them start calling these Republican attacks what they are; unconstitutional legislation imposing an extremist religious dogma. Maybe if the Republicans were exposed as a religious extremists attacking American women, the population may take countermeasures to put a stop to a nasty theocratic takeover. But if these religious Republicans continue being allowed to establish religion unimpeded, American women will have a legitimate reason to commiserate with women in Saudi Arabia, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, and ISIS. The only difference will be American women will complain about life under an evangelical theocracy dominated by radical “Christian” extremists.

Image: Eclectablog