As I noted in a post earlier this week, there is a movement among republicans and groups who misnomer themselves as “pro-life” to overturn Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court decision from 1973 that gave women the right to make their own medical decisions when it comes to abortion. A growing number of states have passed or are attempting to pass highly restrictive laws that contradict Roe v Wade and would take away women’s rights. I had not planned to revisit this issue this soon, but something came to my attention that stirred my anger yet again …
Trump is trying to impose his and the evangelical’s heinous views on other nations as well, cutting off all funding to any overseas organization or clinic that will not agree to a complete ban on even discussing abortion. The ban, dubbed the “global gag”, was actually instituted by Ronald Reagan, but has been revoked by every democratic president, and re-instated by every republican president since then. And along came Donald Trump. Donnie, so eager to please the only people who support him, the radical right-wing evangelicals, has decided that he (or rather people like Pat Robertson and Franklin Graham) knows what is best for the 7.7 billion people living on planet Earth.
In March, the US extended the gag, stating that any organization counselling women on abortion and using funds from elsewhere – even from its own government or a donor in another country – will no longer be eligible for any US funding. Take, for example, an international health care agency that provides women’s health care, possibly including family planning and abortion counselling, but also treating kids with HIV in other countries … countries where there is no women’s health planning, for it is illegal. Those organizations will no longer be eligible for any funds from the U.S., not even to take care of sick children in African nations.
My friend Jeannie, who lives in the Netherlands, told me the other day that “The Netherlands have one most liberal laws about abortion in Western Europe, but the number of actual abortions are amongst the lowest worldwide.” Think about this, folks … facts, not fantasy. A study published last year by the Guttmacher Institute found that countries with the most restrictive abortion laws also have the highest rates of abortion and that easier access to birth control drives down abortion rates.
A 2012 study found that when women got no-cost birth control, the number of unplanned pregnancies and abortions fell by between 62 and 78 percent. But political appointees under Trump advocate for abstinence-only approaches, which have been shown not to affect unplanned pregnancy rates. Not to mention that they are impractical.
This isn’t just about abortion, people … this is about making women second-class citizens around the globe. This is about men’s dominance over women. In many nations women already have few independent rights, but in the Western world, women have come a long way in the past century or two. In the U.S., we are now allowed to vote as we choose, to own property, and there are laws to ensure we receive equal pay and treatment in the workplace, though the reality is often something different. And for the past nearly 50 years, we have been able to make our own health decisions. We cannot … we must not … allow this abomination to continue.
The United States is a secular nation whereby the government does not favour any one religion over another, and no religious organization or cult should be able to influence the law of the land to the detriment of all others. The United States is one of 195 nations on this globe, and we do not have the right to set policy in other nations. It is the height of arrogance to think that we do. It is time for the evangelicals to understand that they may have a place in this country, but that their beliefs are not shared by us all, and that the rest of us have rights also. It is time for government to base decisions on facts, not the religious fantasies of one group.
If abortion rights are taken from us, the abortion rates won’t drop, but more women will die as they seek back-alley or do-it-yourself abortions. That is an undisputable fact. Let this nation legislate based on facts, and let other nations decide their own policy … nobody died and left the right-wing white evangelicals leaders of the world. They will take us back to the Dark Ages if we let them.