Are Women Mere Hosts?

Are they the property of men to do with as they wish? Are they mere vessels designed to do little more than nurture the male seed? Are they organisms good only for child-bearing and child-rearing? Do they not enjoy any civil rights of their own? That, in fact is the view of fundamentalist Muslims. It’s also, apparently, the view of fundamentalist Christians and many Teapublicans as expressed by Virginia State Sen. Stephen H. Martin in a recent Facebook post.

“You can count on me never to get in the way of you ‘preventing an unintentional pregnancy.’ I’m not exactly sure what that means, because if it’s ‘unintentional,’ you must have been trying to prevent it.  And I don’t expect to be in the room or [sic] will I do anything to prevent you from obtaining a contraceptive,” wrote Martin. “However, once a child does exist in your womb, I’m not going to assume a right to kill it just because the child’s host (some refer to them as mothers) doesn’t want it.”

Martin may have been trying to mimic the comedian by the same name and trying to bring some levity to the subject of abortion. But even if that were true, taken in context with the many disgusting and demeaning comments by Teapublican men about “legitimate” rape and “sluts,” his statement reveals a problem with accepting women as equals.

In fact, there are many other indicators of anti-woman bias byTeapublican politicians. For example, they voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to allow women more opportunity to sue for discrimination. They voted to allow employers to exclude contraceptives from employer-provided health insurance. They voted against a bill to ensure equal pay for equal work that would eliminate the disparity between pay for women and men. They voted against a bill designed to reduce the number of sexual assaults in the military. They voted to defund women’s health clinics operated by Planned Parenthood. And they have asserted their rights to control a woman’s body by repeatedly voting against a woman’s right to choose whether or not she wants to carry an embryo to full term.

All of this makes one wonder: Why are we spending trillions to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan when we have so many here?

Abortion Foes Obscure Complexity Of The Issue.

For 40 years, religious conservatives have fought against a woman’s constitutional right to end a pregnancy. They have pushed laws that would deny government funding for medical clinics performing abortions. They have demanded waiting periods. They have demanded that women be forced to view pictures of fetuses.

They have subjected abortion providers to increased scrutiny. They have demonstrated outside clinics. They have bombed clinics. They have hurled abuse at patients, nurses and doctors. They have published hit lists with the names of providers, along with their addresses, phone numbers and auto license numbers. They have even murdered doctors.

More recently, conservative politicians have placed limits on the time period with which women could seek abortions. They have required abortion providers to be accepted by local hospitals (many of which deny providers access on religious grounds). And they have voted to subject women to invasive and unnecessary medical procedures before they can have an abortion.

In their narrow minds, God willed the pregnancy, so the woman just needs to deal with it.

They refuse to accept a woman’s desire to abort the offspring of rape or incest. They refuse to accept a family’s desire to save a woman’s life when a pregnancy endangers her, even when other family members depend on her. They refuse to accept the financial and emotional difficulties of bearing a child so disabled that it will never be able to survive on its own. They refuse to accept the financial and emotional burden of giving birth to a child that will need constant attention…not only from the family, but from medical specialists.

Ironically, the very same people try to limit sex education and contraception. And they fight Obamacare because they fear that the government will come between them and their own medical decisions. Yet they’re willing to force the government between a woman and her doctor.

It’s long past time to acknowledge the complexity of the issue and work to minimize the issues that lead women to seek abortions…issues such as rape, incest, poverty, prenatal diseases, lack of education and the woman’s physical ability to carry the fetus to full term. It’s time to recognize that each pregnancy is different; that each woman has a right to her own religious and moral beliefs; that each woman should be free to make medical decisions in consultation with her partner, her family and her doctor.

Simple-minded religious and ideological-driven laws will not stop abortion. They will merely drive it underground, and into the back alleys. Such laws will only ruin lives…the lives of already living, breathing, thinking  people.