Trump’s Evangelical War on Women Goes Global

If not for the flood of news regarding guns and Trump’s Russian problem, there may have been more reporting on yet another in a long line of Trump’s attacks on women on behalf of the religious right.

This administration has been on a tear in its relentless assault on women’s reproductive and equal rights since Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, and now it is obvious that a leaked White House memo last October outlining the escalation in the evangelical war in 2018 was not an aberration.

Instead of attempting to stealthily subvert women’s rights, the Trump administration is making it known globally that going forward, America does not regard women’s reproductive rights, or discrimination based on sex, gender, race and ethnicity as any kind of priority. Of course a couple of Americans are aware this evangelical-driven administration is engaged in a vicious war against women, the LGBTQ community and people of color, but it is stunning that the administration is making a global statement affirming to the world that Trump’s nasty evangelical agenda is official policy. Don’t believe it?

Last week current and former State Department officials say they were ordered to eliminate passages in its annual report on global human rights  that “traditionally discuss[es] women’s reproductive rights and discrimination.” It is a clear signal that Trump and his religious Republican cabal are serious about putting women in a place America’s religious patriarchs believe they belong – as second class citizens at the mercy of evangelicals.

It is also clear that Trump is giving a nod to other patriarchal nations that controlling women and subverting their human, equal, and reproductive rights is approved by America. It is a gross departure from America’s leadership on women’s rights under President Obama’s administration and what Trump and his acolytes insist is making America great again.

Politico reported that someone at the State Department, likely an aide to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, ordered officials to omit any mention of women’s reproductive rights and discrimination on the basis of sex, race, and ethnicity in its annual human rights report to reflect America’s new global focus. Trump’s message is that America is not concerned with human rights for women, people of color, or the LGBTQ community, and that women’s reproductive rights are officially under an evangelical assault. The dirty pig did pledge to the radical anti-women’s movement that the White House was firmly behind the evangelical crusade while boasting of his religious assault on women’s right of self-determination so far during his brief tenure in a place he does not belong.

Apparently, the evangelicals driving Trump’s anti-women’s rights crusade are hoping other nation’s will follow the United States in attacking women’s rights and legalizing discrimination for religious bigots. It is also likely that someone at the State Department is aware that any American report mentioning women’s reproductive and equal rights will put the focus on the Trump administration’s violations.

In past annual reports there were extensive details on women’s reproductive rights, but Trump’s evangelicals believe reproductive rights are an abomination leading the administration to attack them with a vengeance. In fact, in the “soon-to-be released report,” a section that was previously titled “Reproductive Rights” has been changed to “Coercion in Population Control.”  That phrase is as bad as it sounds and frames family planning and women’s reproductive rights advocates as tyrannical monsters.

The immediate meaning and reason for the name change is to portray advocates of women’s reproductive rights are part of a plot to force contraception, sterilization, and abortion on the rest of humanity. The anti-reproductive rights movement claims the only solution to those governments that are “coercing women” to stop reproducing is to abandon “reproductive rights” and promote the only Vatican approved method of “birth control,” the high failure rate rhythm method.

According to one current official at the State Department, the directive is intended to “send a clear signal that women’s reproductive rights are not a priority for this administration, and that it’s not even a rights violation we must or should report on.” However, the “official” Trump State Department spokesperson, Heather Nauert, said that completely stripping  entire passages about family planning, access to contraception and abortion, and another section dealing with discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity and sex was to bring some  “clarity and focus” to America’s foreign policy agenda.

Ms. Nauert said the move had nothing to do with “downgrading coverage of LGBT or women’s issues” like Trump began immediately after his poorly attended inauguration. If the statistics were included in the annual report, an inordinate amount of space would have to be devoted to the Trump administration’s rampant and relentless religious attacks on women’s reproductive rights.

Thus far Trump’s evangelical war on women includes giving religious employers authority to withhold contraceptives from their employees according to their Vatican-inspired belief that any “artificial” means of birth control is abortion; probably as remuneration for the religious rights’ electoral support. As part of the payment, Trump’s Health and Human Services Department mission statement was rewritten to include “personhood” language denoting a single-cell organism (zygote) as a living person worthy of federal government support.

Trump’s evangelical Health, and Human Services have twice dealt women’s rights a serious setback and like the State Department action, it had everything to do with bringing “clarity and focus” that Trump’s war on women is driven by religion. In both cases, women are relegated to third-class status and religious extremists gained federal authority to discriminate against women with impunity.

In that leaked memo from October outlining the 2018 war on women tactics, although it did not mention the State Department’s action, it did promise that one of the first acts is to “gut all funding” for any evidence-based pregnancy prevention programs. Instead, that funding will be transferred to evangelicals to promote failed “abstinence only education” and “fertility awareness programs” as family planning. It is noteworthy that the so-called “fertility awareness program” is the only Vatican approved method of family planning because it is not artificial – it is the failed  “rhythm method.”

America’s leadership internationally in several areas has suffered the Trump administration and international organizations are well aware that equal and human rights are no exception. Now it is glaringly obvious that women’s reproductive rights, like equal rights, are not any kind of priority for America domestically or globally, and that should concern the rest of the civilized world. The only “clarity and focus” the State Department is projecting by omitting of any mention of women’s reproductive rights is that the domestic assault on women driven by the theocrats running America is going global.

Image: Stephanie Keith/Reuters]

New GOP Tactic in the Evangelical Forced Birth Crusade 

In a scene right out of a dystopian novel about a future evangelical theocracy in the former United States of America, a Wisconsin Republican claimed America needs “forced birth” policies for the continued success of economic prosperity. As absurd as it sounds, this latest ploy should convince naysayers that evangelical Republicans are pulling out all the stops to to force women to be human incubators by theocratic fiat.

The evangelicals and Republicans waging war on women’s reproductive rights and freedom of self determination have employed every conceivable argument to avoid admitting controlling women’s lives is a religious crusade. So it was not that unexpected that Wisconsin Republicans were restricting women’s right to choose on a familiar “excuse” to control women. But it was a new low for one evangelical Republican state representative, a reprobate Republican named Scott Allen, to defend another attack on women’s rights by saying abortions are bad because “labor forces are tied to population declines.”

Allen was arguing in favor of Assembly Bill 128 that prohibits health insurance coverage for abortions. Wisconsin already prohibits public employee’s healthcare plans from covering abortion services unless it is medically necessary, but it wasn’t harsh enough for evangelical Republicans. In fact, it is safe to say nothing is harsh enough for evangelical Republicans in their war to control women.

Wisconsin Democrats attempted to add two amendments to the anti-women bill, but Republicans said no, the personhood movement won’t allow it. One of the amendments should be shocking it had to be proposed, but to prevent America from becoming Gilead, Democrats sought to ensure that the evangelical measure would not prohibit women from using contraception. Republicans rejected that idea out of hand. As per the Catholic Humanae Vitae, contraceptives are considered “artificial” birth control and thus are on the legislative chopping block.

The second amendment attempted to eliminate the requirement that a sexual assault or incest victim report the crime to law enforcement to be legally eligible for an abortion; evangelical Republicans rejected that measure also. When they say they want to control women’s right to self-determination about their reproductive lives, they mean there are no barriers and no exceptions to their religious tyranny. That’s why Scott Allen’s contention that women choosing when to give birth is bad for the economy was a canard and a dangerous one at that.

In his speech Allen said:

Often in public debates people are afraid to say it, but let me just say it: Abortion is wrong. Although it may be legal we should in no way shape or form should we provide public funding for abortion.

Labor force shortages are tied to population declines. And labor force shortages are a limiting factor in economic growth. And limited economic growth poses a problem when government tries to pay for public services and infrastructure. In spite of this … the Democrats continue their effort to support the abortion industry.”

There are a few things in Allen’s statement that have to be addressed. First, according to Governor Scott Walker, the Wisconsin “total labor force reached an all-time high in September.” The evangelical state does not have to enact “forced birth” laws because there is a labor shortage.

Second, this notion that “we provide public funding for abortion” is an oft-cited fallacy and one that is never addressed or corrected. Any employer, public or private, that offers healthcare insurance is doing so as “part of the employee compensation” package for work performed. What an employee does with that “compensation” is none of the employer’s, or religious Republicans’ business, but it has been an easy means of the righteous theocrats to control women. The Republican men passing these laws would react violently if women employers prohibited male workers from using part of their  “employee compensation package” to buy “boner pills.”

Third, Allen’s smart-ass remarks about “economic growth” and government revenue falling short to pay for “public services and infrastructure” is pure bullshit, and Allen knows it. He is a Republican and like all other Republicans he doesn’t believe government should pay for anything; except his salary and his  employee benefit package.

Allen’s claim to fame is being a champion to reform (eliminate) prevailing wage laws and crusading to enact “right to work for less” laws; he is an ardent anti-organized labor cretin who supports slave wages that are the bane of “economic growth and prosperity.” He also opposes fair taxation. And coupled with a labor force earning poverty wages that Allen supports, tax cuts for business and the wealthy are what “pose a problem when government tries to pay for public services infrastructure,” not access to abortion.

Now, it is likely that Allen doesn’t even believe his own argument opposing women’s choice, but these absurd reasons to control women never stop with one idiotic evangelical Republican. It should be expected that other Republicans will embrace the “economic” reasons for restricting women’s autonomy on their reproductive choices. Contraception in health plans was once considered a non-controversial part of basic healthcare until religious Republicans discovered “the fetus” as an emotional campaign tactic. Even Hobby Lobby’s owners “lavished” contraception coverage on their employee’s health plans prior to the Affordable Care Act. Now denying, and banning, contraception is a tried and true means of controlling women. It is no coincidence that Wisconsin’s religious Republicans rejected language prohibiting the state from banning women from using contraception and it means it is in the offing.

It is still a mystery why women are not taking to the streets in massive numbers to protest their certain loss of autonomy as American citizens since the religious right took power after last year’s election. Even a bigger mystery, really, is why the men that claim to love their mothers, wives, girlfriends and daughters are not storming the White House, Congress and Republican statehouses to confront this group of white religious Republican men attacking their loved ones; especially to impose evangelical tyranny on over half the population. It is incomprehensible that in the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” a religious minority is imposing its tyrannical edicts on America’s women without any opposition.

It is true that women’s reproductive rights advocates are fighting the good fight, but they never cite the real reason women are under a sustained assault. One of the primary reasons the religious right, and many in the clergy, are escalating their attacks on women is because they know that they can work behind the scenes and prevail because no-one is identifying religious tyranny as the source of the assaults. It may be Republicans introducing and enacting anti-women’s rights laws, but they are simply surrogates for the Vatican and personhood religious movement. Now they are employing a new tactic and fear-mongering that if the religious right is prohibited from forcing women into perpetual child birth, the nation’s economy will suffer. It is an obscene and absurd assertion, but the stupid quotient in the population means a significant number of idiots will believe it is an immutable truth.

Image: Daily Kos

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

Republicans Announce Another Extremist Evangelical Attack On Women

Republicans in the House announced yet another plan to ban women’s constitutional rights, and like everything driving the GOP’s war on women, the assault is driven by Christian extremists’ lust for control and dominance over women’s reproductive health. Although there is nothing in the Christian religion justifying these relentless attacks on women’s reproductive rights, Republicans all but admitted this is simply remuneration for the evangelicals’ electoral support.

The legislation, the “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” written for the anti-women’s choice sector by Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ) is founded on Vatican dogma, not science. It is another attempt to ban abortions after 20 weeks. The legislation does provide exceptions (with conditions) only “to save the life of the pregnant woman” or in the case of “rape and incest.” However those exceptions are only applicable if the woman “obtains counseling and treatment” for rape at least 48 hours prior to the procedure.

Standing alongside the proud religious Republicans during a press conference announcing the vote next were anti-women’s choice, and rights, group leaders. Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-women’s group Susan B. Anthony List was joined by National Right to Life’s Jennifer Popick who boasted that the religious legislation is a replica of her evangelical group’s model legislation attacking women’s rights.

The bill, a wet-knicker experience for Dannenfelser, is likely not biblically severe enough for her liking. During the House GOP fetal pain attempt in 2015, Dannenfelser was appalled at the rape exception. She said it was “abominable” and “regrettable”  that Republicans included it for “reasons of political feasibility.

She wanted a bill that hewed more closely to the religious Republican assertion that “the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life” in the attempt to ban abortion. An Oklahoma religious Republican went a step farther and saidgod uses rape to bring beauty from ashes” in his argument that there can be no exceptions to abortion bans.

Dannenfelser did what the religious right typically does and lied vy claiming her advocacy against women’s reproductive rights is helping women, but in order to really help “the woman” the anti-women’s rights movement really needs a law for the children. She said:

We want to be there for the woman, and we know we need a law to protect the children.”

This author is getting damn sick and tired of reiterating that a fetus, an embryo and a zygote are not “children;” regardless what the Vatican or religious right says. And to repeat for the ten-thousandth time; according to the religious right’s holy bible, there is no child, no infant, or no “living being” until the fetus exits the womb and breathes air sans medical intervention.

This entire issue is another religious attempt to control women and it is founded on an oft-debunked claim by evangelical know-nothings who claim a fetus feels pain at 20 weeks of gestation. That is literally and physically impossible. According to decades of medical and biological science, anatomy, physiology, and scientists who actually know of what they speak; a fetus at 20 weeks cannot possibly feel pain. Simply because the neurological development to sense pain does not occur until “about’ two months later, at 27 weeks. Still, a bunch of religious fanatics have convinced Republicans that they are better qualified than the preponderance of pathological evidence and the science.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) said it considers the case to be closed as to whether a fetus can feel pain at that stage in development.

Kate Connors, a spokeswoman for the ACOG, explained what medical professionals and scientists have know for ages: “The science shows that based on gestational age, the fetus is not capable of feeling pain until the third trimester.” The third trimester begins at about 27 weeks into the pregnancy.

Now, the religious right, the “Christ-centeredpersonhood movement, and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) representing the Vatican all claim science and medical professionals are wrong. Their claim is not founded on their bible, but on the 1968 papal encyclical on life, physiology, and apparently gynecology, “Humanae Vitae;” a document they believe supersedes all known medical science and physiological facts because god.

Anti-choice religious extremists damn sure couldn’t use their ‘holy bible’ as evidence to support the claim because their god says there is no living being until the fetus exits the womb and draws breath under its own power. If their god says there is no living being until after birth, then why are these vicious and unrelenting religious attacks on women continuing unabated? Because Republicans, like religious right extremists, want women where the religious right says they belong; birthing little Republicans, cleaning a man’s chamber pot, and remaining silent like the religious right’s bible commands.

A fair share of the blame for these unconstitutional attempts to legislate the establishment of religion on women’s rights belongs to Democrats, the media, pro-choice organizations, women’s advocacy groups, and Americans terrified of using the word “religion.” Oh, opponents of these horrendous attacks on women’s rights come up with all the popular and politically correct reasons to oppose these religious impositions, but not one of them ever cites the only reason they exist – evangelical extremist religion. If those opponents weren’t cowards, they would tell the people Republican legislation is precisely what the First Amendment of the Constitution prohibits: legislation establishing religion.

Even the man proudly announcing the anti-woman legislation didn’t dare admit it is founded on a bastardized version of Christianity or a 1968 papal encyclical. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) could have been honest and said the purpose of the legislation was to punish and control women on behalf of the religious right; instead he said:

Not only will passing this legislation keep a promise we [and Trump] made, but all the work is for the same goal: ending suffering and helping people live.”

The legislation will levy a penalty, including a fine and up to five years in prison, on any woman even “seeking” an abortion after 20 weeks; the medical professional performing the legal medical procedure will face the same punishment.

It’s possible these religious attacks on women will never cease; religious extremists never relent or ISIS and the Taliban would be long gone. However, it is damn high time that Democrats, women’s advocacy groups, pro-choice organizations, women and the men who care about them start calling these Republican attacks what they are; unconstitutional legislation imposing an extremist religious dogma. Maybe if the Republicans were exposed as a religious extremists attacking American women, the population may take countermeasures to put a stop to a nasty theocratic takeover. But if these religious Republicans continue being allowed to establish religion unimpeded, American women will have a legitimate reason to commiserate with women in Saudi Arabia, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, and ISIS. The only difference will be American women will complain about life under an evangelical theocracy dominated by radical “Christian” extremists.

Image: Eclectablog

California Bill Bans Employers From Firing Women Who Use Birth Control

Trump’s election was wildly celebrated by evangelical fanatics across the nation, and that cheering was certainly related to their potent new weapon in the Republican war on women. Having an anti-women’s rights and misogynist in the Oval Office is a serious threat to women at the federal level, but possibly more so at the state level. Women who are unfortunate enough to live in GOP controlled states are in serious trouble because with an anti-women’s rights administration appointing an anti-women’s rights religious attorney general, it is  certain the DOJ will always support anti-women legislation. Women who live in solidly red states are in the deepest  trouble, but only if they object to religious Republicans aiding evangelicals’ efforts to control their reproductive health choices.

Women in California are a governor’s signature away from receiving a lifeline in the form of legislation that forbids religious employers from forcing women to sign religious “statements of faith” or “codes of conduct” in order to keep their employment. The legislation also prohibits employers from retaliating against a [female] worker for making reproductive health decisions contrary to religious employers’ objects to. The truth is that the religious fanatics generally object to women making any reproductive health decisions that prevent them from becoming perpetual birth machines.

The legislation, AB 569 (Discrimination: Reproductive Health), was introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) who said religious employers have been regularly discriminating against female workers’ based on their reproductive health-care decisions in California. The legislation was sponsored by NARAL, Pro-Choice California, and California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, and sixteen faith-based groups signed a letter supporting the anti-discrimination legislation.

The legislation simply “protects workers from discrimination or retaliation for using any medications, medical service, or device related to reproductive health.” The legislation is particularly necessary now because a few months ago Trump signed an executive order  greatly “expanding religious imposition” authority while surrounded by that misogynistic group of Catholic nuns still furious that the Affordable Care Act contained contraception coverage; coverage they still assert is a violation of their religious freedom to control women’s reproductive health.

The bill’s sponsor said the legislation was necessary to stop religious employers from “infringing on a woman’s right to make personal decisions about birth control and pregnancy.” Religious employers, and not just “church-affiliated” organizations, are not shy about their intent to control women’s reproductive choices.

It is important to remember that the private company Hobby Lobby is not a “religious organization” or “church-affiliated.” And yet they convinced the conservative wing of the Supreme Court that contraceptives, including birth control pills, are “abortifacients” and tantamount to having an abortion. The Court’s “religious imposition” ruling was founded on Hobby Lobby’s owners’ “religious belief” that contraceptives are abortions, and since that was “their heartfelt religious belief,” they won the legal right to deny women’s access to contraceptives.

Ms. Gonzalez Fletcher wasn’t stretching the truth when she said religious employers discriminate against women’s healthcare decision. For example, a San Diego Christian College required a financial aid specialist to sign a document pledging to not to have premarital sex, and then fired her for “becoming pregnant” and using her “pledge” as proof she violated the employer’s religious code. In liberal San Francisco the Archbishop attempted to force teachers to sign a “code of conduct” pledging they would refrain from using birth control or attempting to conceive by artificial insemination; fortunately for female teachers in San Francisco the attempt failed, but the attempt should have incited a massive outrage. Instead, California Democrats had to pass legislation making those attempts illegal.

The bill’s sponsor said in a statement:

Women in this country have been fired for getting pregnant while unmarried, for using in-vitro fertilization and for other personal reasons related to their own reproductive health. No woman should ever lose a job for exercising her right to decide when, how, or whether to have a family.”

Sadly, the minority religious fanatics running the United States vehemently disagree with the legislation and one of the bill’s primary opponents is a revolting religious outfit, the California Family Council; It is the policy arm of the Family Research Council and its president was livid that pro-life employers may be prohibited from literally forcing their religious beliefs down their employees throats. Seriously, the California Family Council president, Jonathan Keller said:

“Every organization that promotes a pro-life message must be able to require its employees to practice what they [the employers] preach. It is unconscionable for any politician to attempt to abridge this sacrosanct religious liberty by inserting themselves into the employee-employer relationship.”

Keller, like his dirty theocratic ilk, firmly believes that evangelicals’ “sacrosanct religious liberty” includes controlling women by way of controlling their reproductive health. That bizarro-world version of “religious liberty” is fervently embraced by Catholic organizations and they present a monumental threat to women’s ‘personal liberty” to decide when, how, and if they give birth.

Over the last few years Catholic organizations have been buying up hospitals, clinics, medical networks, and physicians groups  and demanding absolute fealty to the Catholic Hospitals Association rules and regulations regarding women’s reproductive health choices. After coming under Catholic ownership, those physicians, hospitals, clinics etc. are required to abide by the United. States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services (ERDs). The Vatican-inspired ERDs strictly forbid abortions, even in the case of rape or incest,  and forbid access to contraceptives, sterilization procedures, in vitro fertilization or the use of sperm or egg donors.

If California Governor Jerry Brown signs AB-569, women will have a measure of protection from religious employers who believe infringing on a woman’s right to make personal reproductive decisions is just part of their “sacrosanct religious liberty.”

This dirty religious imposition situation is not going to get any better for women  and California women may want to put any wild celebrations on hold. No doubt if Governor Brown signs AB-569 there will be a flurry of church-funded lawsuits to protect employers’ right to impose their religion on their employees to control their reproductive lives. What should give every American pause is that in 21st Century America a state legislature has to pass legislation banning employers from attempting to control a woman’s reproductive life. It should also leave Americans asking what kind of leaders advocate allowing a fanatical religious sect to control women under the aegis of the federal government that is not the Taliban.

h/t Rewire

Rand Paul Beds Down With Organization Advocating Prison for Abortion

Republicans are being lured to do an anti-women’s choice organization’s bidding that includes advocating jail sentences for women who have an abortion. While the nation is mesmerized by a con man’s social media use and incompetence, the religious right is making unprecedented progress in the war on women while no-one is watching. Of course it is tempting to only monitor the criminal in the White House, but it is a distraction giving cover to religious anti-choice advocates and Republicans to pass legislation ending women’s reproductive rights and compelling them to become either birth machines or celibate.

It was reported that Rand Paul (R-KY) is pandering for donations for a personhood organization, the National Pro-Life Alliance, to give them more funding leverage to buy Republican support for Paul’s latest “fetal personhood” offering. The nasty religion-driven “non-profit” is making a major push to control women now because Trump signed a solemn pledge to support Paul’s “personhood legislation.” Trump also told the religious group that he supports a “federal” personhood bill, and they expect him to repay them for their ardent electoral support.

National Pro-Life Alliance recently sent out a letter supporting Paul’s “fetal personhood” bill bemoaning the fact that women who exercise their legal right to a medical procedure are not arrested, charged, prosecuted and sent to jail.

Rand Paul’s latestpersonhood” bill, “Life at Conception Act 2017” is short and says much more than it seems.

This bill declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual comes into being.”

What the bill doesn’t say is that anything the religious right deems an “unnatural interference” with that “moment of fertilization” will be considered a crime. Paul did add a “provision” to make his bill palatable to more senators, but it means nothing if the bill is passed and signed into law. The provision states:

Nothing in this bill shall be construed to require the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child, a prohibition on in vitro fertilization, or a prohibition on use of birth control or another means of preventing fertilization.”

If anyone believes the measures Paul inserted to make his anti-choice measure palatable are legitimate, they are stupider than dirt. Remember, once theses religious fanatics get their foot in the door, women’s right to choose their own reproductive health is finished. In the Hobby Lobby ruling, although the conservative Justices acknowledged that according to all known medical and biological science, birth control is not abortion, still ruled for Hobby Lobby. They claimed that because according to Hobby Lobby’s owners’ religious belief that birth control is abortion, then it must be abortion to them. It was that “religious belief” aspect that gave Hobby Lobby and the religious right another means of banning birth control because it is unnatural and interferes with “the moment of conception.”

Now, it is getting old having to remind these “Christ centered” personhood malcontents that according to their god in their Christian bible, there is no “living being” until the moment the fetus leaves the womb and draws breath. The result of “the moment of fertilization” is a single-celled organism called a “zygote.” It is not a living human being and deserves no more constitutional rights than an embryo or a fetus. It is noteworthy that Republicans, particularly the evangelical Republicans, are immensely concerned about protecting the rights of a non-living human being, but the second that fetus exits the womb and draws breath they have no use or regard for its well-being whatsoever.

These “Christ centered” personhood advocates could not care less what their holy book says, and despite that a zygote, embryo, or fetus is not a human being, they hew closely to a document created by a Catholic they believe should be enshrined as the law of the land in America. And it is terrifying that there are religious Republicans who share their conviction and now have the means to make it law.

Most Americans who have heard about the Catholic “Personhood Movement” are either completely clueless to its purpose or laugh it off as just another bizarro-world religious right worldview. Although they didn’t start the personhood crusade, the religious right embraced it whole-heartedly to keep the “faithful” electing Republicans who do the movement’s bidding. Prior to being convinced by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops that birth control and abortion were brilliant emotional appeals to sway evangelical voters for Republicans, the religious right was not anti-women’s choice.

The ultimate goal of the personhood movement is to force legislation that conforms to the 1968 papal encyclical on human life known as Humanae Vitae. The movement adheres to the “encyclical” thesis that all “unnatural” forms of birth control are sinful and that sexual relations are for the express purpose of producing offspring; but only in marriage.

That is a loose summary of Pope Paul VI’s instructions to the Catholic faithful that the personhood movement has adopted as its raison d’être. Now that the personhood movement has a White House occupant’s signature on a document supporting any personhood bill,  they see an opportunity to finally succeed.  With Trump, and Pence who supports jail for abortion, on board, and two Republican versions of “personhood” bills in the works in Congress, it looks very bad for women and their constitutional right to control their reproductive health.

There has been a methodical effort by the personhood movement, with valuable aid from religious Republicans, to create a strategy to eliminate any and all legal protections for abortions, and eventually any and all “unnatural” forms of birth control. Central to that effort is building a body of laws that define zygotes and fetuses as full U.S. citizens with the same legal and constitutional rights Republicans want reserved for white evangelicals.

Women have never been in as much peril of being controlled by the religious right regarding their reproductive rights as they are today. Since Republicans control all three branches of government, there is no firewall against something as absurd as personhood legislation or the real risk of women being imprisoned for choosing a legal medical procedure. It is true a personhood bill on its own will not technically overturn Roe v Wade, but the result will be exactly the same.

If women, or the men who love them, think the religious maniacs will stop at jailing women for having an abortion, it is worth reminding them that there are pro-life personhood zealots who support charging women for murder for choosing a legal medical procedure. No one should be shocked if Republicans “compromise” and settle for just jailing women who have an abortion.