Planned Parenthood Foes Should Know That Anti-Choice Laws Are State Imposed Religious Belief, And A Violation of the First Amendment

Religious freedom

Another Republican crusade to terminate the funding for Planned Parenthood is afoot again, little apparently stirring up the erogenous zones of reactionaries quite as much as restricting access Americans have to health care. I suppose health care is viewed as one of those consumer goods that must remain exclusive to only the few, in order that others always properly envy it. That in this case it is women’s health care specifically targeted only makes it sexier.

A group with one of those Orwellian names that make conservatives titter you suspect at their own perceived cleverness, The Center for Medical Progress surreptitiously obtained footage inside of Planned Parenthood, and stitched it together in such a way as to appear defamatory.

These sorts of hijinks fall somewhere between fraternity pranks and criminal mischief. But right-wing propaganda perennially need be deceptive, misleading and rankly dishonest to sell rightist proposals and policies. Otherwise, its purveyors understand, there will be no buyers.

In this instance, it isn’t Planned Parenthood at issue really. It’s abortion. At the state and federal levels Republican extremism has been shoving extra hard of late to push its antediluvian anti-abortion regime down America’s throat. The rightist utopia appears to be a two-headed grotesquerie of feudalism and theocracy shackling us all where we belong.

Enforcing reproductive medievalism is always near the top of the old white people party’s bucket list, but that doesn’t change the fact that laws restricting abortion violate Americans’ religious freedom rights.

In the Roe decision (Roe v. Wade), still in force, if by a thinning thread, Justice Blackmun, writing for the court found that restrictive abortion laws violate a woman’s rights, in particular privacy rights, inferred if not explicit in the first, fourth, ninth, as well as fourteenth amendments.

The court found that person, in the constitutional sense, does not include the unborn. It wisely and rationally reasoned therefore, that viability is when a fetus legally becomes a person, the only way to do so without reverting to religious or supernatural criteria. Viability was ballparked at the end of the first trimester, though the court made clear that the state has an interest in safeguarding a woman’s health through the entire pregnancy.

Let’s be clear: any conviction that human biology is inhabited by a spirit or consciousness independent of the human body is a religious one, the realm of the supernatural, not science. In fact, it is a sectarian religious view, given that it is not shared among all religions and denominations. Life begins at birth is a sectarian religious conviction, nothing more. The equating of biological life, potential personhood or spiritual presence with personhood is religious doctrine, shared only by some.

Objections by zealots to contraception rest on similar sectarian doctrine. Objection to contraception is especially hypocritical and conspicuously barbaric for envisioning pregnancy as a useful form of punishment, and a convenient inhibition to sex.

Anti-sex fanaticism and puritanism always were at the core of the anti-choice movement. Concern for life has been an afterthought and a useful marketing ploy, even if there are those genuinely motivated by it as a matter of real conviction. Yet it is not coincidental that so much of conservative Republican policy preference by and large expresses disdain for human biology so unfortunate as to abide beyond the fetal stage.

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