For human beings that live in a free society, it is impossible to imagine how horrible it would be to live in an uncivilized Hell where it is necessary to pass a law to protect a woman’s personal freedoms and privacy. In a free society, those personal freedoms and privacy are generally guaranteed to all citizens, so it would never be necessary to even consider a law that protected women from being punished for anything legal, much less for their personal choices. Conversely, patriarchal theocracies controlled by a religious sect would likely forbid such a law from being considered in the first place, much less debated and passed.
In the American state of Missouri, when a city had to pass an ordinance that prohibited employers and landlords from punishing women for exercising their legal Constitutional right to use contraceptive birth control, the religious Republican legislature and governor reacted like the Taliban – minus the guns.
The religious Republicans running the state of Missouri, under direction from the religious Republican Missouri governor, are deep into the process of enacting legislation granting religious individuals authority to punish women if they dare exercise their Constitutionally-protected freedom to use birth control or have an abortion without facing the wrath of the religious right. It is important to note, this is Missouri in America, the Show Me State. And the religious Republicans are showing the nation they are doing exactly what this author has warned about for a decade; use their ugly, savage, insidious religion to control women by punishing them for disobedience. The Missouri Republicans initial form of punishment is being fired and homeless, or become a slave birth machine for evangelical Jesus and the Vatican.
The anti-women legislation was the subject of a “special legislative session” convened by Missouri Governor Eric Greitens to put a screeching halt to a recently-passed ordinance that “prevents employers and housing providers from punishing women for their “reproductive healthcare choices.” The focus of the special session was to, as quickly as possible, overturn what in a civilized society should have been a completely unnecessary ordinance. Apparently, the city of St. Louis must not feel Missouri is civilized if they had to pass a law to protect women’s personal privacy and freedoms already guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.
The ordinance enraged religious Republicans in the governor’s mansion and both chambers of the state legislature that concurred with the governor; the St. Louis ordinance is “a radical attempt” to transform the area into “an abortion sanctuary city.” So the state’s House and Senate quickly passed SB5 on June 14 to put women back under religious men’s control. But still, the legislation wasn’t nearly harsh enough so six days later (June 20) the Republican House passed “an expanded version of SB5” awaiting Senate passage and the governor’s promised signature.
The new and improved SB5 authorizes any landlord or housing provider to refuse housing to any woman based on their reproductive health choices, such as using birth control or if they ever had or contemplate having an abortion. And a landlord can evict a woman for using birth control, having or had an abortion, or for “becoming pregnant while unmarried.”
Employers will have the power to fire any “female staff members” who use birth control, or refuse to hire them for being “non-compliant” to a church-driven edict. And to skirt any federal or state privacy laws, particularly medical privacy laws, the theocratic SB5 authorizes employers and landlords access to “what forms of reproductive health care they are using.” Obviously, men who have had a vasectomy or use “rubbers” are exempted from religious control.
This hideous religious legislation, and that is all it is, puts the great majority of Missouri women at risk of losing their employment or their residence according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) because,
“99 percent of all sexually-active, reproductive-age women have used contraception.”
As Sejal Singh of “Feministing” opined, “whether or not someone is part of that 99% is none of their boss’ goddamn business.” Missouri’s religious right Republicans, like all nasty religious right Republicans, disagree that it is none of their business. They claim it is their biblical right to “invasively give employers and landlords power to police highly personal choices women make about their bodies and lives.”
There is already a federal law, the Federal Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating against women because they have had or considered having an abortion, but there is no specific federal legislation protecting women from being punished for using some form of birth control, or becoming pregnant while unmarried; in a free society there is no need for those kinds of legislation. However, in Trump’s savage America, his evangelical administration is frantically rolling back or stripping civil rights protections across the board, and with a conservative Supreme Court anxious to expand evangelicals’ religious liberty to impose biblical edicts as the law of the land, women are in serious peril and not just in Missouri.
Most Americans oppose being ruled by a theocracy, and yet that is precisely what is unfolding now that religious Republicans own the federal government. All of these anti-women’s choice measures are attempts by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to exert control over American women and impose the Vatican’s 1968 Humanae Vitae that forbids sexual activity not intended to produce offspring.
A major reason this religious savagery continues unabated is because the media, Democrats, and women’s rights activists and advocates are terrified to cite the only source of any and all of these anti-women laws. Until the media, women’s rights activists, and Democrats start citing the Vatican and evangelical fundamentalism as the only source of terror being inflicted on American women, legislation like Missouri’s SB5 will continue spreading across the land. And with an evangelical maniac like Mike Pence directing Trump’s domestic policy, Americans can look for more extreme versions of SB5 being enacted at the federal level.