America is involved in two unpopular wars, and finally there are disparate groups aligning together to encourage the Obama Administration to withdraw our troops and bring the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan to a reasonable end. The cost in lives and money has proven to be too much for most of the country, and with the death of Osama bin Laden, the original goals appear to have been met leading many in Congress to promote an accelerated end of the Afghanistan conflict. However, there is a war going on here at home that is escalating on a daily basis with no end in sight, and there are very few groups advocating to cease hostilities anytime soon.
In Congress and many state legislatures, social conservatives are waging vicious attacks on women’s reproductive rights and except for women’s rights groups, there is an alarmingly small number of people willing to take on the Religious Right that is the driving force and inspiration for the assault on women. The conservative Christians in Congress have assailed women with H.R. 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” that is an aggressive, multi-pronged effort to restrict insurance coverage for abortion. Federal law already prohibits the use of Federal funds for abortion and the bill aims to eliminate access to abortion by using the IRS and the tax code by removing deductions for insurance plans if abortion is offered. Men though, can deduct expenses for erection-inducing prescriptions without restriction.
The war on women is not solely concerned with abortion rights and has at its basis a philosophy that women are “hyper-fertile wives and mothers in obedient service to God.” The bible-inspired characterization of women as slaves is at the center of the war on women and conservatives in Congress have made no attempt to conceal their support for such a misogynistic approach to dealing with women’s reproductive health. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has been at the forefront of the attack on women’s rights and characterized opponents as, “an arrogant corrupt Washington elite” that has “declared war on marriage, on families, on fertility, and on faith.” Bachmann’s statement is key to understanding that Christian conservatives are attempting to eliminate women’s rights and designate them as nothing more than birth machines and slaves to a man’s will.
In 2005, James Dobson wrote that men, “have ceded too much power to women,” and that “most men lack the guts – and the sensitivity – to stand up to them.” Although Dobson penned those words 6 years ago, they portend the motives of conservative Christians’ desire to subjugate women and their rights. The “sanctity of life” argument being used as the reason for eliminating women’s reproductive rights is more about eliminating all forms of birth control to keep women in their place as defined by Christian fundamentalists, and one Texas lawmaker let the truth slip out in a statement to a reporter. Representative Wayne Christian (R) exposed the right wing’s attack on women and said it’s not only about abortion. The Republican Party is pushing to have total control over women’s reproductive rights and that includes contraception. When asked about the goal of Republican legislation to defund Planned Parenthood, Christian said that, “Well, of course, it’s a war on birth control and abortions and everything. That’s what family planning is supposed to be about.”
Indeed, in some states pharmacists have refused to fill prescriptions for birth control for women and refuse to carry any type of contraceptive device whatsoever. There are Christian attempts to portray oral birth control as both ineffective and harmful. Michele Duggar is a Religious Right acolyte who said that oral contraceptives caused her to miscarry and that the incident led her to follow god’s will and forego contraception altogether. Her response to medical professionals that dispute her assertion that contraceptives caused her to miscarry was, “Our motto is obey first, understand later.” If people like Duggar believe and follow that line of flawed reasoning it is their right, but Christian conservatives are pushing various bills in state legislatures with the intent of denying all women the right to choose and use contraception.
There are some women in state legislatures who are standing up to the attacks on women but they are few and unfortunately, too late. In the Texas legislature a group of bipartisan representatives lashed out at attacks on women from men in power, but they are in the minority. State Rep Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston took umbrage with a group of men who used obscene flyers portraying women in an unfavorable light and launched into a tirade that included threats of violence. Representative Thompson said that if she caught up with the men responsible, she would “bloody their noses” and her rant on the floor of the legislature was captured on video.
It is curious that more women are not outraged at the blatant attacks on women’s rights, and if women think the current assaults are going to stop at a woman’s right to choose, they are tragically mistaken. In Congress and state legislatures misogynists have attempted to change the definition of rape to requiring proof that it was forcible, and in at least one state, women who are sexually assaulted are designated as “accusers” instead of victims. These not-so-subtle changes in the law are nothing more than attempts to punish women for not submitting to a man’s will, even if the man violently rapes a woman. It is important to remember that the bible commands women (Ephesians 22-23 ) to “submit to a man” in all things as they “submit themselves unto god.”
Christian women who subscribe to the bible’s notion that they are slaves to a man are casualties to their own flawed reasoning and are lost causes. It is extremely sad, but it is a fact of life. Their acquiescence to being slaves, although tragic, should not condemn all American women to the same fate, but that is what is happening in the war on women. The pertinent question is not where are the men who have mothers, wives, sisters and daughters that will suffer under the misogyny of Christian conservatives, but where are the women who will be enslaved to an ancient Stone Age ideology? If women are under the illusion that the patriarchal dominance will stop at denying women the right to use birth control, they are doomed to life as slaves unworthy of employment, the right to vote, and the freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution. Supreme Court Justice Scalia has already adjudicated that women are not covered by the equal rights guaranteed in the 14th Amendment and he speaks for conservatives from all sectors of American society.
The war on women has been under way for 30 years, and if women do not stand up for themselves soon, the war is lost. As Conservative Christians are wont to do, they will not stop until their demands are met regardless of the law. Now that Republicans have majorities in the House and many states they will continue to legislate women into the 1st century, and once laws are on the books, women will be hard-pressed to ever change them. Women cannot count on men who support the idea of submissive women who exist for sexual gratification and free housekeeping service, and they are also not getting support from women who are not evangelical Christians. The war on women is nearly lost and the blame lies with women, men and the male-dominated media that fails to report on the vile legislation being passed in Congress and state legislatures.
The Religious Right is laying a foundation in this country with assistance from Dominionists whose goal is theocracy, and the war on women all but guarantees that America is doomed. If the women in Congress like Michele Bachmann think they will be exempt from the wrath of misogynists because they supported the Christian conservatives’ war on women, they are going to sorely disappointed because the Religious Right will use any means to win the war. Besides, the women supporting the Religious Right have already defined their own role as “hyper-fertile wives and mothers in obedient service to God,” and have proclaimed that their slogan is “obey first, understand later.” Apparently, they have no idea that by the time they do understand what they’ve done, it will be too late.