Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The war on women




Since the terrible events of September 11th 2001, politics (and by this, I mean "policies") have drifted a lot towards the right wing in many countries. Part of what constitutes the "far right" everywhere in the world is anchored in traditional woman-hating religion.

I consider myself a feminist, even though I take great issue with some feminist militants (not all) whom I think are not just rooting for equality between men and women. So, sooner or later, I will publish an article that doesn't take too kindly to such unreasonable militants who label themselves feminists... but I'll leave such minute arguments aside for today.

The USA is full of religious fundamentalists. It pains me that it is so, but it's like that. 76% of Americans are Christians, many of whom reject the idea of natural selection and think that the Earth was created less than 10,000 years ago. Even more than half of the population would refuse to vote (regardless of policies) for an atheist presidential candidate. So, I'll skip quickly over the cumbersome numerical details, but the fact is: USA is full of Christian equivalents of the Taliban.

Since George W. Bush's rise to power, Christians have become more and more radical. They have no regard whatsoever for their own Constitution, since the separation of Church and State mandated by the 1st Amendment specifically prevents them from establishing theocratic politics. Republicans and Tea Partiers have been fighting women's rights. Nowadays, abortion is becoming more than just impractical. It has become a practical impossibility for some people. Many states are creating unwarranted laws mandating specific though useless equipment, procedures, and standards that abortion clinics cannot meet so that these clinics become unable to operate and disappear.

For a woman to be granted an abortion, some states have mandated medical procedures which are useless and unrelated to the condition of pregnant women, which consists in the insertion of medical devices in their vagina. In other words, women who want to have an abortion need to submit to a form of (statutory) rape. It is rape.

A more recent thing is to force women to look at ultrasounds of the zygote they want to abort. It's psychological abuse. As if the process of abortion itself was not already a psychological burden that women will carry for the rest of their life, states now insist on religious-driven procedures which are useless to the abortion and which will traumatize women.

A more recent thing yet again... Women who want to abort need 2 consultations with at least 24 hours in between these consultations. So if there's no abortion clinic nearer than 300 miles (and such is the case in some areas), they're looking at a looong drive, consultation, motel, waiting, consultation, rape, pyschological abuse, medical intervention, and looong drive back. That's 2 full days away from home and being a victim of sex-obsessed religious fundamentalists... Plus it can also get worse if the doctor refuses to perform the operation out of his religious concerns.

And there's now discussion about putting in place new laws that restrict abortion to raped women and women whose life is endangered by the pregnancy. This would add "rape panels" to the process where a group of people would ponder on rape victims' case to decide whether they believe that it was really rape or not really rape... With religion, there's no reason and no boundary to cruelty or insanity.

That's for the USA.

In Spain, the politicians in power are also planning to roll back abortion rights and restrict them to the only 2 similar cases as mentioned above: rape, and life-threatening conditions. Spain!!! I'm in Europe and we started building a democracy that is still fragile but Europe is supposed to be the beacon of reason and sanity that a few Americans still look up to with teary eyes when they see how their own country is descending into madness.

In the post-911 World, with our politics drifting to the religious extreme right-wing, people have to keep their eyes open and speak up against the suffering that fundamentalists want to impose on women. Could you imagine laws being rolled back to cancel the equal rights of all races? or laws that would reinstate slavery? Well, this is exactly what Spain and the USA are doing. They're demolishing the social progress that made modern countries into happy societies, and they're bringing us back towards the Dark Ages.

Last nail in the coffin: I know little about Spanish politics and I'm more familiar with American politics. If you look at the people who are making these changes so cruel towards women, you'll find panels exclusively composed of white males. It is sometimes said ironically that "feminism is the crazy idea that women are people too". The war on women is real and good men need to affirm their support for women to be able to do what they want with their bodies. Religion is hypothetical at best. Women's condition is very real.

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