Women Here And Worldwide Pay A Vicious Price For Religious Anti Choice Ideology!

By Donald A. Collins | 28 February 2024
Church and State

(Credit: YouTube / screengrab)

One must begin by naming the main culprits involved in the above title. Not all religious adherents back the positions of the Catholic Church and the other conservative religions in being against choice. But for example, the position of Muslims after the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision in June 2022 is complex.

A 2023 article by NPR tells the story.

After the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that ended the constitutional right to abortion, Zahra Ayubi started to notice a theme among some critics of the historic shift. What Sharia actually dictates on abortion. Polls show opinions on abortion, like in other faith groups, are deeply divided. According to a survey conducted last March by the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, 56% of Muslim Americans think abortion should actually be legal in all or most cases.

Those who probe Islam’s key texts to understand what the faith itself allows will find nothing that mentions abortion outright. Instead, Islamic rulings lean on verses that mention fetal development.

According to Ayubi, based on those verses and on discussions jurists have had, Islamic scholars determined that ensoulment occurs 120 days into a pregnancy, or just over 17 weeks.

Read more here.

The main point is clear. Historical attitudes on choice are rapidly growing more and more liberal so that a lifelong Catholic, President Joe Biden now avidly embraces choice while his likely opponent in 2024 Donald Trump has shown maximum hypocrisy in picking Catholic anti-choice Justices for the Supreme Court that killed Roe.

Fortunately, the data on reproductive rights is prominently and readily available in many places. One, The Guttmacher Institute, has since 1968 provided authoritative scientific and political research about reproductive healthcare.

Guttmacher constantly highlights the political climate created by those who would place women and their families into viciously punishing circumstances because of the GOP religious ideology gone amok!

Perfect example of its scientific truth telling appeared on its website on February 27th which again exposes the dangers of allowing the Constitutionally protected separation of church and state to be attacked by religious zealots whose connection to the principles of Jesus grow more obscure with each hateful episode.

For example, Rachel Jones, a principal Guttmacher research scientist there says, “Policymakers must understand that in addition to having to figure out how to pay for the abortion, many people—more than one-third—also have to cover indirect costs such as travel and childcare in order to access abortion care.”

Read here the introductory article.

For current information about major developments in sexual and reproductive health, one can get a state-by-state assessment updated constantly on its website.

Potentially the most damaging possible attack on choice since the Supreme Court killed Roe Casey in June 2022 could come from the Court banning the FDA approved medication Mifepristone used safely for over 20 years to allow women in the privacy of their homes to accomplish an early abortion.

This case will be heard on March 26th and the Court per Guttmacher should “honor the FDA’s evidence-based decision … to preserve access to medication abortion without any medically unnecessary restrictions.”

In what should have been an unfulfilled fringe attack from extreme right partisans allowed the vicious anti women Roe decision to happen. Remember the moral breakdown by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell with his refusal to allow President Barack Obama’s highly qualified Supreme Court candidate Merrick Garland to be considered for a seat on the Court. This, as you recall, subsequently allowed President Donald Trump the opportunity to appoint three religiously committed younger Justices which skewed the chance for secular purity in Court decisions for decades.

The cases of women having dangerous life-threatening health circumstances because of having no access to safe, inexpensive abortions. The media reports such events daily. Here Planned Parenthood asks women to share their stories:

In 1993, I obtained funding to make a film on why most mainstream religions favor safe, inexpensive abortion services which was shown widely around the USA. Hosted by the late Sarah Weddington, who at 26 successfully argued the case for Roe that resulted in the Blackman decision in January 23, 1973 over 51 years ago.

The Court’s Dobbs decision will prove a massive political negative for the GOP in this Presidential election and forever until dismissed by a federal law that restores Roe as a national right for women to obtain abortions. States that now restrict abortions are finding that many OB/GYNs are leaving such repressive jurisdictions.

Read the OB/GYN flight story from the NY Times here.

Recently I viewed another film on choice produced by Abortion Access Front entitled “No One Asked You” shown at a DC Indie Film Forum. This film created by Ruth Leitman over 6 years showed vivid efforts by many brave women to rally abortion support against the overwhelming and often dangerous attacks by those whose antiabortion stances got Roe Casey killed.

Read about the film here.

This same DC Indie Film Forum also featured the showing of a documentary entitled Yours in Freedom in April 2023 about the career of Bill Baird. Bill and his wife, Joni, are long-time friends. Bill, with her stalwart support, is to me the greatest and all too often unsung hero of the reproductive rights movement. How great that this film serves to retell his story at a critical time.

Yours in Freedom, Bill Baird follows the story of an older man who played a pivotal role in legalizing birth control and abortion in the 1960s and 1970s. Throughout the remainder of his life, the polarizing activist advocated for reproductive rights while both angering and endearing himself from other key leaders and organizations in the movement.

Rebecca Cammisa, the documentarian behind the film, said she found conflicting views on Baird, but she felt that he was generally an inspiring and productive leader for women’s rights.

“The point was, here’s a man putting his ass on the line for us,” she said. “And not only should we be doing that for ourselves, but when someone’s doing that to help us, we don’t support them when they are risking everything.”

Read more about this film here.

The above-mentioned films offer the public and choice supporters’ strong reasons to defeat the GOP this year. Getting recognition and funding for these or any controversial documentary film is very difficult.

In pre-Roe days over 60,000 US women died yearly from botched abortions.

The impact of Dobbs has not yet been fully measured but more deaths than without Roe are a certainty.

Amidst the welter of media flow, the best bargain for the choice message is of course in the numerous stories about women who have trouble getting abortions in red states with restrictive laws.

And as noted earlier, the anti-choice religious mafia have worldwide sway against women, so major impact for choice come daily in our mass media, such as the telling story on page one three-page story in the February 2024 Washington Post entitled By bus, car and plane, women journey across Latin America for abortions!!!

It begins “Cristina, a 35-year-old Brazilian, travels from São Paulo, Brazil, to Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital, for an abortion. She kept her trip and procedure a secret from her family. (Dan Agostini for The Washington Post)”

Be sure you read this article which reflects the main point that pro choice options are urgently needed worldwide and greatly at risk here and abroad, as the religious forces seek to control women as slaves to male bidding.

The 2/27/24 Michigan primary victories of Trump and Biden assure a rematch and certainty that choice and immigration will be dominant 2024 campaign issues.

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC, has spent over 50 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of “From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013”, “Trump Becoming Macbeth: Will our democracy survive?”, “We Humans Overwhelm Our Earth: 11 or 2 Billion by 2100?”, “What Can Be Done Now to Save Habitable Life on Planet Earth?”, “Vote”, “Can Homo Sapiens Survive?”, “Will Choice and Democracy Win?”, “Can Our U.S. Survive 8 Plus Billion of Us”, “Economic Growth: A Cancer on all Earthly Life”, “On the Precipice of Political Disaster in 2024” and “Democracy at Red State Risk”.

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