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 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.