Religious conservatives have fought gay weddings, trans bathrooms, civil rights, sex ed, contraception, a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy, and even battered women’s shelters.
Some of this is recent. Some of this is in the past. Some feels like a bit of both.
“God” comes up a lot in arguments against all of these things.
But is the real motivation something else? Read the rest of this entry
Some folks try to use their own religious rights to tramp down everyone else’s.
A couple examples:
- Contraception: Powerful people who don’t believe in birth control refuse to cover contraception thru their organization’s insurance
- Gay marriage: No cake-baking for gay weddings if you’re against homosexuality
Apparently, religious rights are more important than any other kind. Read the rest of this entry
Should some people be allowed to force their religion on less powerful people?
That might happen if the Supreme Court rules against the government in the Zubik v. Burwell contraception case. Read the rest of this entry
Women’s right to contraception has been challenged by Catholic Bishops and members of Congress who voted on a “Blunt Amendment” allowing employers to deny healthcare, like contraception, that they deem immoral. (The amendment was defeated in the U.S. Senate by a mere three votes!)
What does it say about the college coed Susan Fluke [sic], who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex… she’s having so much sex she can’t afford her own birth control pills and she agrees that Obama should provide them, or the Pope.
If Rush is so vexed at supporting other people’s sex lives, why doesn’t he tackle insurance-covered Viagra too?
By attacking Ms. Fluke as a slut, Limbaugh reveals that he – and other right-wingers — are not concerned with shielding Catholic Bishops’ conscience. No. They seek to control women’s sexuality.
But if Rush can’t limit it, at least he wants to watch (another sort of control). Even as he claims to uphold “conservative values,” he rants:
If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it, and I’ll tell you what it is. We want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.
Since when were “traditional family values” pro-porn?
Rush is all about silencing women: Be afraid of slut-shaming. Be very afraid!
Men can speak out. And Viagra-infused men can enjoy sexuality. But women must not.
Bishops, and employers more generally, must be free to follow their conscience. But women must follow the conscience of Bishops and their employers.
Conservatives claim to guard individual freedom.
Apparently, women aren’t actual people. They don’t count.
Birth control sabotage has been revealed to be a common form of partner abuse. In a report released earlier this week by the National Domestic Violence Hotline, 25 percent of women callers to the hot line, who voluntarily answered questions about birth control and pressure to get pregnant in their relationships, reported some form of reproductive coercion.
The callers said their partners hid birth control pills or flushed them down the toilet. Some refused to wear condoms or poked holes in them. One woman’s partner became furious when she recently got her period.
The study’s authors state firmly that reproductive coercion is a form of abuse. Family Violence Prevention Fund president Esta Soler says, “While there is a cultural assumption that some women use pregnancy as a way to trap their partner in a relationship, this survey shows that men who are abusive will sabotage their partner’s birth control and pressure them to become pregnant as a way to trap or control their partner.”
And physical and emotional abuse go hand-in-hand with birth control sabotage: Another study on reproductive coercion found that one-third of women using reproductive health clinics (of five studied), whose partners were physically abusive, also said their partners had pressured or forced them into pregnancy, often hiding or destroying contraception.
This tactic should alarm feminists and anti-domestic-violence workers. It also suggests a revealing political analogy.
It seems these ostensibly “pro-family” men, who are busily destroying contraception in pursuit of children, have a lot in common with the “pro-family” (read: anti-reproductive rights) political agenda.
So why aren’t we willing to call the anti-choice agenda abusive, too?
The conservative political agenda is anti-women working outside the home, anti-abortion, anti-birth control, and once upon a time, anti-battered women’s shelters (the better to keep women inside the home and attached to intact nuclear families). Each of these stances, in some way, disempowers women.
It’s easy to see how restricting shelters keeps women under the thumb of abusive men: It’s a no brainer. If there’s no safe place to go, you’re trapped.
The same holds for denying women access to birth control or abortion. If you’re pregnant with this man’s child, you’re attached–you’re trapped, again, by an unwanted pregnancy.
And women who don’t work outside the home tend to have less say within it. Not to mention that a lack of income makes it hard to leave an abusive partner.
The “pro-family” political agenda may claim to uphold “traditional” American values, but for for many young men claiming to want “normal” nuclear families, pregnancy coercion is a form of abuse and control. What kind of “family values” are those?
This post originally appeared in the Ms. Magazine Blog, February 18, 2011