Tuesday, 31 July 2012

What Women Want

On the U.S. political scene, a Republican sponsored bill is causing quite a stir. The “Women’s Right to Know Act” requires females seeking to have an abortion to first undergo an invasive transvaginal ultrasound. A transvaginal what? It is a procedure during which a 10-inch plastic wand is inserted into the vagina. The purpose is to dissuade women from having an abortion by forcing them to acknowledge the fetus that they intend to abort. In some states, congressional members have suggested that women should also be made to listen to the heartbeat of the fetus before they are able to proceed with an abortion.

This mediaeval type prescription is the latest tactic being invoked to moralize the country. It is a demented way around Row v. Wade, and is meant as a firm punishment for women irresponsible enough to have gotten themselves knocked up or raped. (Generously, Republicans in some states have amended the bill, making the procedure optional for rape victims).

“Women’s Right to Know” rests on two baseless presumptions. First, that the right wing has the one and only moral code. Abortion is one of the most polarizing issues being bandied about. It’s a moral grey zone for which there is no consensus. For a faction to claim they have the answer displays an especially base type of arrogance. Second, Republicans seem to believe that women are blasé about having abortions. Devoutly religious or incorrigibly hedonistic, it is unlikely anyone is having a red-letter day when an abortion clinic is involved.

Although innocuous sounding, “Women’s Right to Know” is a flagrant assault on those views that contravene right wing religious doctrine. And far too many Republicans find women justifiable fodder for achieving their questionable objectives. What is being called the “war on women” is the result of the increasing encroachment of religion into politics and the arrogant tendency of the right wing to forcefully prescribe their values onto the secular savages who are deprived of virtue.

There is a saying in catholic education (of which I am a product) that “religion does not impose, it proposes.” Except with regard to women, into which religion transvaginally imposes a 10-inch plastic wand. You don’t need to recite the annals of moral philosophy to know this bill is wrong. It is a cruel attempt to torture women who are already going through a challenging time in their lives. It’s misogynistic and it’s spiteful.

As always in politics, a variety of airbrushed half-truths are being perpetrated to market this proposal. Virginia’s Governor, Bob McDonnell, massages the truth by stating that “a woman should have all of the information possible before she makes a decision about terminating a pregnancy.” Kristi Hamrick, an alleged spokeswoman for American values, eloquently asserted that “it is vital to protect women’s health and ultrasounds are absolutely vital to women’s health.” This is of course two-faced baloney. It is devious word play meant to legitimize malicious intentions.

Senator Lin Coleman is right to refer to “Women’s Right To Know” as state sanctioned rape. Although its supporters disguise it as governmental oversight, this proposal is nothing other than an attempt to punish women for making “bad” moral decisions. It is rape by proxy. Plain and simple.

At best the republicans think of this bill as tough love, wherein the ends justify the means. More likely, however, the state-sanctioned rape bill is an instrument intended to punish the dissolute for their transgressions.

Some might argue that decisions regarding moral grey zones, like abortion, should be left to the individual or to the family, and that the state’s purview ought to be limited by consensus driven issues. But why shouldn’t it fall on congress to dictate morality? Surely their 12% approval rating is a strong mandate to supply moral direction and shepherd our personal decision-making. Surely representatives in the state legislatures in question, 83% of whom are males, know what is best for American women. 

Published in The Felix

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