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.

GOP House Bill Bans Abortion Before Women Know They’re Pregnant

The horrendous saga known as the evangelical Republican war on women continues unabated with a simply horrific bill rapidly advancing in the theocratic House of Representatives. Every week there has been a new development informing the Vatican-influenced “Personhood” movement and evangelicals led by Mike “preacher” Pence have made their raison d’être banning all forms of birth control as well as bestow full constitutional rights on a single-celled organism that supersedes those of the impregnated woman. None of these vicious evangelical attacks on women are unexpected, and it is the primary reason a few journalists are heartsick after writing prolifically for years on the dangers of allowing theocratic-minded Republicans to take control of the government. It is with no satisfaction that those journalists can legitimately say “we told you so.”

The latest abomination is a bill banning abortion at six weeks, before most women know their egg was fertilized and they are pregnant. The religious zealots behind the bill are the “Personhoodmovement and their obscene claim that an embryonic heartbeat means an abortion is a federal crime and grounds for a fine and prison time.

It is noteworthy to reiterate for the ten-thousandth time that the Personhood movement bases its entire attack on women’s reproductive rights and self-determination on a 1968 papal encyclical, Humanae Vitae. In that Vatican document any attempt to prevent a male gamete (spermatozoa) from joining with a female gamete (oocyte) to produce a eukaryotic cell (zygote) is abortion and a mortal sin. It is precisely the stance taken by the evangelicals now running the United States government.

The bill’s sponsor, Representative Steve King (R-IA), said his legislation is purposely in opposition to “national abortion protections” he claims are patently unconstitutional; passing an embryonic heartbeat bill is the first step in criminalizing abortion. King said:

Since Roe v. Wade was unconstitutionally decided in 1973, nearly 60 million innocent babies’ lives have been ended by the abortion industry, all with a rubber stamp by the federal government. If a heartbeat is detected, the baby is protected. We think this bill properly applied does eliminate a large, large share of the abortions—90 percent or better—of the abortions in America.”

There is so much wrong with King’s statement. The idea that a Supreme Court ruling is “unconstitutional” because it contradicts a Vatican document and King’s religion should preclude him from ever serving in any capacity in any government entity. He can be a preacher with that mindset, but not a member of Congress. He did, in fact, take a “so help me god” oath to support the Constitution that says the Supreme Court is the arbiter of what is and is not constitutional. A Republican theocrat does not determine what is constitutional. But that is precisely what King claims and he admitted that his legislation is correcting the “unconstitutionality” of Roe v Wade; that is the purpose of H.R 490, the so-called “Fetal Heartbeat Protection Act of 2017.”

If the bill becomes law, abortion will be banned “in cases where a fetal heartbeat is detectable” or in “situations where doctors intend to move forward without determining whether the fetus [embryo] has a detectable heartbeat.” The personhood zealots began the ‘fetal’ heartbeat assault on women’s reproductive rights when modern technology was capable of detecting an embryonic heartbeat at six weeks, before most women even know they are pregnant.

It is noteworthy that at six weeks, not only is there no baby and no “person,” there is no fetus; it is an embryo. King’s legislation can’t even get the biological terminology right due to his faith-driven stupidity.

There is also the issue of a zygote, an embryo or a fetus being “a baby.” For dog’s sake, even an imbecile understands what “a baby” is and they know it isn’t a stinking zygote, an embryo or a fetus. When the fetus leaves the womb and breathes air without medical intervention, then and only then is it “a baby;” or according to the god in Steve King’s holy bible “a living being.” That is his god’s determination and it was so important he made the remark several times in Steve King’s holy rule book and never once mentioned a zygote, embryo or a fetal heartbeat.

Religious Republicans have attempted these insane “heartbeat” bills at the state level only to see them either struck down as unconstitutional or shelved because the legal costs of losing in court was too great; and those unconstitutional ‘fetal heartbeat’ laws banned abortion at 12 weeks instead of six. The latest effort at the federal level is no less unconstitutional, but religious Republicans will go to insane lengths to impose a Vatican edict as American law. On Thursday NARAL Senior Vice President Sasha Bruce said:

The GOP’s crazy obsession with banning all abortions in this country knows no end, no boundary, and no common sense. Their latest crazy, and clearly unconstitutional, idea is a ban that applies to [people] who don’t even know they’re pregnant yet, intentionally preventing them from accessing care altogether.

Americans are clear: they want their elected officials addressing the crises our country faces instead of wasting time and taxpayer dollars attempting to ban abortion. The majority of Americans stand on the side of abortion access, and seven in 10 Americans believe abortion should remain legal and accessible.”

Although everything Ms. Bruce said is true, it is a monumental mystery why she still hesitates citing the “unconstitutional” source of all these “obsessive, crazy and unconstitutional” ideas is religion.

Of course it’s the GOP pushing the unconstitutional laws, but it is only because the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the personhood movement and the Vatican are forbidden from passing and enacting theocratic legislation; that’s the job of their evangelical Republican surrogates. And it doesn’t matter what the majority of American want. This country is being run by a minority of evangelical fanatics who have as little regard for what Americans want as they do the Constitution or women’s right to self-determination about anything, but particularly their reproductive health rights. And those rights are closer to being abridged in a big way if King and his religious cabal have their way.

King and his personhood cohort want the legislation to pass and immediately face legal challenges all the way to the Supreme Court. King told the press that he does hope the bill makes it to the High Court noting that Trump already appointed anti-choice malcontent Neil Gorsuch to the bench and “hopefully” will appoint a couple more:

By the time we march this thing down to the Supreme Court, the faces on the bench will be different, we just don’t know how much different but I am optimistic.”

 This is the third flagrant religious attack on women’s rights to self-determination in three weeks and it is obvious it is not going to be the last by any means. All the while, most Americans are transfixed on Trump’s latest tweet instead of the non-stop attacks on over half the population’s constitutional rights.

The ultimate goal, of course, with all these “lesser assaults” on women’s reproductive rights is banning abortion and contraceptives. Don’t believe it? Just wait; because it is in the Vatican’s Humanae Vitae and every assault on women’s reproductive health since Trump’s poorly-attended inauguration have their foundation in this one religious document; something nobody wants to talk about as America inches closer to being a theocracy.

Image: Eclectablog

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.