In the past two years conservatives have touted their desire to return to the original intent of the Founding Fathers in regards to the Constitution of the United States. It often appears that neo-cons are willing to ignore the amendments that were added over the course of the nation’s history to circumvent laws guaranteeing every group the freedoms and guarantees lawmakers passed to meet changing times. However, the Constitution is not the only document that explains the Founders’ original intent and it is seldom that conservatives mention the Declaration of Independence; a brief perusal gives a hint why conservatives ignore it.
One of the most articulate founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, was not a fundamentalist Christian and in fact, rejected the notion that the church, any church, should dictate to the government laws and statutes because he recognized the danger inherent in a theocracy. In Jefferson’s declaration, he made the point that there was no superior group or individual that had a right to control or subjugate any other group, and it has been a point of contention in this country for well over 200 years. Jefferson wrote in the declaration that every citizen has, “certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Despite the simplicity and elegance of Jefferson’s words, there are groups in America that still do not enjoy equality or the three unalienable rights.
The gay community has slowly gained acceptance and a measure of legitimacy, but like women, they continue to be treated with contempt and inequality at the hands of social conservatives. True to form, the progenitor of bad taste, Pat Robertson, managed to insult and demean women who make the difficult choice of having an abortion and gay women who, according to Robertson cannot have children.
Last week during a conversation with The 700 Club co-host Terry Meeuwsen, Robertson rationalized that the reason progressives support Planned Parenthood and “this culture of death” is to create a level playing field between married women who abort their pregnancies and lesbians. Robertson claimed the far-left is crazy to kill babies and it’s why President Obama opposed cutting funding for Planned Parenthood. Robertson is obviously unaware that lesbians can have children if they choose to but it goes to a more important point. Robertson’s crazy talk is heard by a million audience members each day and they are comfortable subjugating heterosexual and homosexual women to little more than murderers in a culture of death.
In the Indiana congress, Republican Eric Turner said that women lie about being raped to get a free abortion. Turner said he didn’t “want to disparage in any way someone who has gone through the experience of a rape or incest, but someone who is desirous of an abortion could simply say that they’ve been raped or there’s incest.” Turner may not want to disparage anyone, but his attitude gives away his belief that women would stoop to a level of lies and deceit to get a free abortion.
In Congress this week, legislators will vote on H.R. 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” and one of the provisions in the bill dictates that the IRS could be forced to audit rape and incest survivors who choose abortions. The bill is the piece of work that sought to redefine the meaning of rape to expand the prohibitions regarding federal funding for abortions. The law already prohibits any taxpayer money from being used for abortions except in the case of rape or incest.
A U.S. magistrate and former military man, Joe Rehyansky, advocates “corrective rape” to cure American lesbian soldiers of their homosexuality. Rehyansky said lesbians should be allowed to serve in the military so male soldiers can rape them straight, but he doesn’t believe gay men should serve their country. All totaled, in the first quarter of 2011, there were 916 measures introduced relating to a woman’s right to choose her own reproductive health. The 916 measures run the gamut from long waiting periods for an abortion to criminalizing accidents because of fetal personhood laws.
It is well-documented where the assaults on women’s rights originate, and it explains the moral majority’s motivation for treating women like dogs. Religion has no place in lawmaking, but that does not stop Republicans and some Democrats from forcing their faith on women. But religious fundamentalism aside, social conservatives are prohibiting women of all sexual orientation from the pursuit of happiness, and in cases of incest and rape, restricts women from liberty and life. The fanatic who advocates raping lesbians to cure them disregards everything Thomas Jefferson advocated in the Declaration of Independence, and far from equal treatment, subjects women to status of livestock.
The Constitution is quite clear in the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause when it states that, no state shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” In 1973 the Supreme Court ruled that the 14th Amendment extends to a woman’s decision to have an abortion and regardless what the bible says, the law of the land is the Constitution and not what a male legislator thinks based on his religious beliefs.
This week, the House is voting on H.R. 3 and every legislator who votes for the bill is in violation of their oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. Although the motivation behind such Draconian measures has as its basis the Christian bible, it is depriving women of their equal protection under the law as well as the unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness Thomas Jefferson declared in 1776 on what would become America’s Independence Day. All women, despite their sexual orientation are protected by the Constitution and it is incumbent on every American to uphold a woman’s right to choose their own reproductive health; or sexual orientation.
The misogyny of social conservatives must come to an end now. It is only a matter of time until social conservatives restrict women’s rights to the right to stay home, empty chamber pots, and give birth every 9 months. Women deserve equal rights as much as any man, but they are at risk of losing every right if the current crop of Republicans have their way. It is time for freedom loving Americans to stand up for women’s rights whether it is to have an abortion or love another woman. Anything less is morally wrong and unconstitutional. Please contact you legislator and demand they reject the unconstitutional H.R.3 before the House vote this week; straight women and lesbians deserve your attention as well as equal rights.