Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Politics and rhetoric

I heard a quote last week from San Francisco “pro-life” group First Resort that their goal is "to make abortion unnecessary in the Bay Area."

My first thought was “Yes! They’re going to campaign for increased access to affordable birth control and better sex education!” Because if you want to make something unnecessary, you treat the problem causing it. Right? Right?! HAH.

Turns out, they seem to have confused the word “unnecessary” with “unsafe.”

Because the thing is, no matter how many pictures of dead babies you hold up, you can’t solve a problem by taking away a solution. Much like how turning the radio up really loud won’t “fix” your noisy muffler, making abortions harder to obtain or even illegal won’t make the need for abortions go away. Women will still obtain them, just like they did prior to Roe v. Wade and just like they do in other parts of the world where abortion is illegal, but more women will die from them. Despite the fact that we have the know-how and the technology and one would think the humanity to prevent that.

And this is why I have zero respect for the vast majority of the “pro-life” movement. Because it’s not about “life” at all – at least not for women – it’s about control. This is not rocket science – abortion rates are considerably lower in states with easier and cheaper access to birth control and accurate sex education.

Yet another study from St. Louis has laid this out in plain English. In a study of 9,000 women and teens, teen birth rates decreased by almost 82 percent when teenagers had access to affordable birth control, and abortion rates across all age groups of women in the study were HALF of the national average.  There. Done. Problem basically solved. Abortion was made unnecessary in 50 percent of cases, just by providing access to birth control. Isn’t that what the “pro-lifers” want?

Unfortunately, no.

You see, dead babies and religious freedom and “pro-life” are all just inflammatory rhetoric used to cover up the true goal, which is to keep women a permanent second class. They don’t care that we’re exercising a choice to end a pregnancy; they care that we’re exercising a choice to have financial security and bodily autonomy and remain outside the home and in the workforce. They don’t care about killing babies; they care about killing the entrenched patriarchy.

The threat to their religious beliefs has nothing to do with whore pills that thwart God’s will; it has everything to do with women who thwart their beliefs that men are superior.

The refusal to provide women with access to birth control under their company-sponsored health plans is mind-numbingly stupid, but when couched in terms of “religious freedom,” it gains a thin patina of legitimacy, and makes people scared to challenge it. Which is why Republicans do it. No one wants to be that guy who “restricts” religious freedom…  

The way company-sponsored insurance plans work is that an employer contributes access to/a percentage as part of a person’s compensation package. That access to insurance is part of your salary. If your employer can tell you how you can and can’t use that part of your compensation, they would also be able to tell you how you can and can’t use your monetary compensation. Which is utterly ludicrous. That would mean no more buying beer or going to bars if your employer is “religiously opposed” to alcohol. No more going to doctors if your employer is a scientologist. No more porn if your employer is a female who thinks men watch too damned much of it.

That’s not “religious freedom” – that’s fascism. Religious freedom is having the right to not use birth control if you don’t believe in it – it’s not having the right to enforce that belief on everyone else just because you think your religion is superior.

I’m truly scared about the direction this country is going. I don’t want to live in a place where if god-forbid something were to go wrong with my [hypothetical – don’t get excited yet, mom] pregnancy, I would be forced to die to assuage Mitt Romney’s convoluted morals. Where is the religious freedom in being turned into an effigy on the pillar of someone else’s male superiority complex?

This presidential election is a critical one, but these right-wing nutjobs don’t just magically appear on the political scene – get involved in local politics and vote these anti-science, anti-women, anti-equality, anti-freedom “pro-lifers” out of office. We deserve better. 


  1. I just want you to know that I completely agree with not only your sentiments, but your thoughts on the motivations of the religious right in this country.

    1. Thanks! I appreciate the comment - it's nice to know I'm not just screaming into the abyss over here :)

  2. Heather you're like having my own personal Rachel Maddow!!

    Awesome Points of view and like I said before, you, like Charming, always has Right on her side. You dont just spew forth unsubstantial information and unwarranted opinions, you actually give thought and body to the words you use and the order in which you use them. I agree wholeheartedly with you and i really enjoy your point of view. Sometimes when i read your blog i can hear the closed sections of my mind opening as you give me a newer way of seeing some things or you give me a new idea. Thanks alot Heather!!

    1. Thanks Regi! I'm glad you were able to get the commenting system to work!