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 “Personhood” movement 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.