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 said “It 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.