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The ‘New Right’s’ War On Women

Posted by tbaker |
Photo Submitted Residents of NWA gather in Fayetteville last Spring for a rally against the war on women.

Photo Submitted
Residents of NWA gather in Fayetteville last Spring for a rally against the war on women.

The 89th General Assembly of Arkansas:

AN ACT TO ESTABLISH THE PREGNANT WOMAN’S PROTECTION ACT.  SB170 — Is now known as Act 156 as it has been signed into law.
TO TERMINATE CERTAIN PARENTAL RIGHTS OF A PERSON CONVICTED OF RAPE TO A CHILD CONCEIVED AS A RESULT OF THE RAPE AND TO DECLARE AN EMERGENCY. HB1002 — Is now known as Act 210 as it has been signed into law.
TO CREATE THE ARKANSAS HUMAN HEARTBEAT PROTECTION ACT; TO PROTECT UNBORN CHILDREN; AND TO DECLARE AN EMERGENCY. SB134 — Has been passed by both the House and Senate, vetoed by Beebe, With override of that veto from the Senate.
AN ACT TO PROHIBIT HEALTH INSURANCE EXCHANGE POLICIES FROM OFFERING COVERAGE FOR ABORTIONS EXCEPT THROUGH A SEPARATE RIDER. HB1100  — Is now known as Act 72 as it has been signed into law.
AN ACT TO CREATE THE PAIN-CAPABLE UNBORN CHILD PROTECTION ACT AND TO DECLARE AN EMERGENCY. HB1037 — Is now known as Act 171.

Special Editorial By Donna Shade and Claudia Reynolds-LeBlanc

Democracy is being hijacked and the women of Arkansas are the hostages. Relentless, the 89th General Assembly is diligently legislating women’s reproductive rights. Militant, polyester dinosaurs at the Capitol remain addicted to the idea of “sacred” reproduction. Their theocratic, corporate backed barrage of legislation is designed, whether consciously or otherwise, to treat women as broodmares. People like tenacious evangelist Senator Jason Rapert (R) are prepared to sacrifice women on the legislative altar, to honor personal agendas and the zygote.

Manipulation Of Faith

Something awful has happened within the community of practicing Christians over the past few decades. Women are the most recently targeted, of two or three groups, who are scapegoats for the outward expression of a deeper and more dangerous, hateful, New Puritan disposition. A large faction of those who profess Christ have been seduced into enabling and empowering a corporate backed cartel of ruthless political schemers, that has turned our nation into an empire reminiscent of regimes we were always told were criminal, moral opposites of all the United States stood for.

Long standing values and traditions of churches and political parties have been manipulated and twisted, re-packaged, and marketed through slick well-funded personalities and foundations. Most of the rest of us have been appalled, trying to make sense of the growing hardhearted psychopathy of not only those in power, but many average Americans too, who now so frequently think and act in terms of imperial exceptionalism.

History of Church & Abortion

It isn’t true that Roe V. Wade upset the evangelical Protestants. It was over five years after Roe V. Wade that The Moral Majority was founded. For decades evangelicals had little interest in politics. The issue that mobilized them was the IRS revoking the tax exempt status of segregated private religious schools.

So their characterization of themselves as the “New Abolitionists,” comparing their stance on abortion to that of the true abolitionists during slavery, is totally preposterous. Besides which, the original abolitionists advocated women’s equality too.

Before Roe V Wade — in 1971 the Southern Baptist Convention adopted this resolution: “We call upon Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother.” AFTER Roe V Wade — A Dallas Theological Seminary professor in an early 1980s Christianity Today article: “God does not regard the fetus as a soul, no matter how far gestation has progressed. The Law plainly exacts: ‘If a man kills any human life he will be put to death’ (Lev. 24:17). But according to Exodus 21:22-24, the destruction of the fetus is not a capital offense. … Clearly, then, in contrast to the mother, the fetus is not reckoned as a soul.”

W.A. Criswell, a past president of the SBC, and pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, regarding the Roe decision: “I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person…and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed.” W. Barry Garrett of Baptist Press: “Religious liberty, human equality and justice are advanced by the Supreme Court abortion decision.”

All of these leaders have since done an about-face on the issue, and it’s never mentioned that they ever said such things. Even one book was revised, with its author’s original position completely reversed.

Nothing about this is mentioned in the revised version.

Before 1979, the Catholic church was essentially the only one that ever showed any interest in eliminating legal abortion. They had already formed the National Right to Life Committee before Roe, in response to a rapidly growing trend in state legislatures. Arkansas changed its law to ease restrictions on abortion in 1969, four years prior to Roe, and it was one of many states. But when the IRS came to take away Bob Jones University’s tax exemption, the white evangelical establishment rallied the troops.

That’s when ultra-conservative strategists who wanted to create a powerful “New Right” in the Republican party saw an opportunity to galvanize the unhappy Catholic and evangelical establishments, and use them to mobilize a base that would propel their New Right to power. The Moral Majority’s creation and name was the idea of one of those strategists, Paul Weyrich. He enlisted Jerry Falwell as the co-founding figurehead and spokesman.

Well-Funded, Slick Personalities

Weyrich and other operatives worked with Falwell, James Dobson, and other fundamentalist personalities, to create new and powerful stories about the nation, and the Christian tradition within it.

These stories were not concerned with truth, but with what could stir up masses of people by playing on their fears and insecurities, following an era of social change, and correction of some past injustices.

They played dirty, and they were experts at revisionism and manipulation, as well as persuading and motivating people. They particularly played on fears of lost prosperity and hierarchical position.

Moreover, if the New Puritan Dominionists ever get the theocracy they’re after, and all abortions become criminal offenses in the U.S., they’ll have to backtrack just a little, and enact a law whereby a husband and the family’s clergyman (and it will be cclergyMAN) can force a wife to have an abortion.

According to Old Testament instructions, the husband is to bring the wife before the priest, who is to give her something called “bitter water” to drink. If she’s innocent, everything will be just fine. If not, then she’ll miscarry, and whether pregnant or not, be stricken with a very gnarly and painful sounding infection that will leave her sterile. Good Christian women rejoice.

All Jewish scholars and experts on Mosaic law will tell you that abortion was always allowed in Hebrew and Jewish tradition. As a matter of fact, Israelites were not even allowed to observe the traditional mourning rites if they had a child who didn’t live past thirty days. This is not to suggest, as those who call themselves “pro-life” do, that ancient Biblical laws should be written into our state or national codes, just that their anti-choice stance has absolutely no Biblical support.

Jesus Loves Women

Stanley Grenz in his Women in the Church: A Biblical Theology of Women in Ministry describes that “Jesus gave no explicit teaching on the role of women in the church. In fact, he left no teaching at all concerning women as a class of people…. He treated every woman he met as a person in her own right”.

The women Jesus befriended were many — but the compelling fact is that Jesus trusted women! The 89th General Assembly of Arkansas would best serve our state by emulating Jesus in seeing women as persons in their own right. The misogyny and patriarchy manifest in our General Assembly disparage Jesus’ example of acknowledging the dignity and honor of women. The multiple anti-woman bills of the 89th General Assembly are prejudicial, archfiend and a debasement of the whole, civilized society.

13 Comments

Anna March 7, 2013 at 2:05 pm

This is not a “war on women”.
The ONLY focus of the new legislature is to protect the unprotected…the unborn.
The woman just happens to be the vessel, if it were the man the same laws would apply.
As far as religion goes, since this article claims that this is all the doing of the “religious right”, This is what the bible teaches about the unborn..

Psalm 139
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Everyone has morals, religious or not, and abortion on demand is just morally wrong.
The majority of the laws of our great country are “moral” laws. It is against the law to steal, to murder, to assault or slander others. Most laws are put in place to protect people from harm inflicted by others. This is no different.

Reply to this comment
CraftMom March 7, 2013 at 6:14 pm

But that’s the problem, Anna. Women are more than just vessels for fetuses. They are citizens in their own right.

And I doubt mightily that if men were able to become pregnant that we’d have similar legislation. No man would willingly hand decision-making power over his own body to someone else, especially a politician.

Reply to this comment
Terrah Baker March 7, 2013 at 9:05 pm

Hey Anna! Thanks so much for commenting. You make great points, and always do! There’s only one thing I wanted to add for clarification. The term “abortion on demand” implies women WANT to make the decision of getting an abortion. I’ve known several people who have had abortions — as do you, considering statistics, although you might not know it — and not one of them wanted to make the decision. It’s important to remember that even when abortions are illegal, or restricted, abortions take place, they’re just dangerous, unsafe and a public health issue. That implies there are circumstances which can not be understood by anyone besides the woman, considering the lengths women will go through to terminate a pregnancy. Leaving abortion open as a medical option for the overall health of a woman, based on individual circumstance (because, again, we can’t understand theirs), is important. Your opinion is always appreciated at TFW, and thanks for indulging a short explanation! — Terrah, managing editor

Reply to this comment
Katie-Scarlett March 7, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Anna,
Although Psalm 139 praises God for creating a precious life, it does not say when that life began. You can throw around Bible verses all you want, but you are ignoring the fact that the authors provided one that plainly answers the argument at hand.
Exodus 21:22-24 very clearly states that if someone harms a pregnant woman and there is injury to the woman, that person must be punished. However it makes a point to say that if the woman miscarries do to this assault, the person should not be held accountable (because it is not yet a life).
What do you say to that?

Oh, I forgot. You evangelicals like to pick and chose WHAT you believe.

I will pray for you. It is saddening to see a fellow woman so ignorant of what is going on and blinded by shroud of your patriarchal religion that you can’t see that there is a war against women. Its not just an abortion issue, the issue spans all of our rights.

Reply to this comment
Kevin Lyon March 12, 2013 at 5:52 am

“Oh, I forgot. You evangelicals like to pick and chose WHAT you believe.”

Please don’t call them out on this. God forbid they ever correct this hypocrisy. I have read the bible cover to cover more than once…I think it best we allow them to pick an choose.

Reply to this comment
Anna March 8, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Ms Scarlett,
Firstly, I find it offensive that people like you label anyone with differing opinions as “ignorant”. We may not agree on this or any issue but name calling is never helpful.
Although I am a Christian I can argue the issue of abortion all day long without ever mentioning a bible verse.
If you don’t think abortion is murder then you are in serious denial. Just like the smoker who believes his right to smoke is more important than the rights of those he exposes his smoke to, abortion on demand is selfish and just plain wrong!
At conception we have our own unique DNA…we are an individual. At 22 days our hearts start beating. Modern medicine is saving pre-mature babies earlier and earlier in gestation. The earliest baby to survive to date was born at just under 22 weeks…just two weeks after she could have been legally aborted before the new law was passed.
Whose rights are more important, the mother’s right to choose or the child’s right to live? You wouldn’t allow a woman to kill her children that were fortunate enough to escape the womb, why is it acceptable if it’s just a few weeks earlier.
Our Constitution states that we are all entitled to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. So why doesn’t that right extend to the most vulnerable of our citizens?

What this all comes down to is that you don’t believe that the unborn are really living human beings with any kind of rights…especially ones that would trump mom’s right to choose, and I do.

Reply to this comment
Kevin Lyon March 12, 2013 at 5:57 am

“What this all comes down to is that you don’t believe that the unborn are really living human beings with any kind of rights…especially ones that would trump mom’s right to choose, and I do.”

You got it. This is what it all comes down to. And as you can not demonstrate this belief to any reasonable degree we must err on the side of protecting the rights and well-being of the born. Tell me, do you know how many pregnancies are terminated in this country every year? Where would the resources to care for these children come from? Will you pay for their upbringing…will you feed them. Will you raise them to be constructive members of our society? How should we address this issue? Anything constructive to add?

Reply to this comment
Anna March 11, 2013 at 8:58 am

Terrah,
I appreciate the tone of your reply to my comment. It makes for a much more constructive debate when we can be civil to each other despite our different opinions.
I know that the decision to have an abortion is an agonizing one, as it should be. Just the fact that it is solidifies the point that a woman knows full well that she will be terminating the life of another human being.
I am not talking about the woman whose health is truly at risk – and I say “truly” because that term is used pretty loosely by some late term abortionists. I speak mainly to the women who find them selves in a pickle and although they may not WANT to have an abortion it sure beats the alternative.
Even with the new laws in place a woman can abort her child in the first 12 weeks of her pregnancy. If she is so conflicted that she can’t make up her mind in that time she probably shouldn’t have the abortion any way.
I hope someday that the only agonizing choice that a pregnant woman must make is between raising the child herself and giving it up for adoption.

Reply to this comment
Kevin Lyon March 12, 2013 at 6:38 am

” If she is so conflicted that she can’t make up her mind in that time she probably shouldn’t have the abortion any way.”

I can only assume you are not aware that many women are not even aware they are pregnant before 12 weeks.

Reply to this comment
Kevin Lyon March 12, 2013 at 6:41 am

“I hope someday that the only agonizing choice that a pregnant woman must make is between raising the child herself and giving it up for adoption.”

Help make this happen by supporting organizations like planned parenthood. We have safe and legal…if we could stop putting so much effort towards defending legal we could move on to dealing with rare. All it would require to make abortion an exceedingly rare occurrence would be state provided birth control. This would cost the state negative dollars and certainly would be in the interest of the public welfare. Start clamoring for this to get done and you will see abortions become so rare the evangelicals will have to go back to picketing the local gay bar.

Reply to this comment
Anna March 13, 2013 at 8:32 am

“I can only assume you are not aware that many women are not even aware they are pregnant before 12 weeks.”

If you are sexually active and miss one period you worry. If you miss two you buy a test. I think you have a pretty good idea that you are pregnant before 12 weeks.

“Tell me, do you know how many pregnancies are terminated in this country every year? Where would the resources to care for these children come from? Will you pay for their upbringing…will you feed them. Will you raise them to be constructive members of our society? How should we address this issue? Anything constructive to add?”

This is always the argument that you people bring up …like it makes it okay to destroy a child’s life simply because no one will take the responsibility to raise it.
It is not the easiest thing to be an unmarried pregnant teenager (been there, done that), or a woman who thinks she is not ready for a family yet, or the woman that wants to further her career before having a child, or the woman that feels like her family is “complete” without another child. If abortion is not an option most of these people would eventually embrace the idea of having the child. If not, there are literally thousands of people waiting to adopt a baby.
Finding that you are unexpectantly pregnant is a time full of fear and anxiety…the worst time imaginable to be making a life and death decision. Imagine living with the guilt of an abortion you later regretted.

Reply to this comment
Renee March 21, 2013 at 4:19 am

I can speak from the point-of-view of an Arkansas woman that has had an abortion. I was 21 years old. Found out 3 weeks after my college graduation. I was terrified. I had a job, but it was ending in a month. I had no prospects after that. I’d applied for several places. None had called back. I was scared to tell my family. I was ashamed that I’d arrived at that point–especially as I had been using birth control. I even called an adoption agency. I prayed for guidance. I cried ALOT. I was scared that the baby might be born with birth defects since I’d dabbled a little with pills before I found out about the pregnancy

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