The Death Pimps II
With the competition for "values voters" in mind -- as Democrats audition for the Catholic and evangelical vote, as Congress increases funding for abstinence-only programs enriching the war chests of the Religious Right, as Focus on the Family thanks Democrats for Life for voting against their party [pdf link] to support the Mexico City Rule banning life-saving contraception, and as the anti-choice Mellinda Henneberger calls "Pro-choice a Bad Choice for Democrats" in the New York Times -- let's examine the "Culture of Life" in action.
"By their fruits shall ye know them."
Once upon a time, McCain played harder to get.
In his unsuccessful run for the Republican nomination in 2000, McCain called [the Christian right] "the agents of intolerance." ... For a taste of their views, you can visit the Web site of Concerned Women for America (C.W.A.), which bills itself as the "nation's largest public-policy women's organization." Its mission is "to protect and promote biblical values among all citizens," the Bible being "the inerrant Word of God and the final authority on faith and practice." As for dissenters from C.W.A.'s stand on issues like the "sanctity of human life," a handy link to Bible passages explains "why you are a sinner and deserve punishment in Hell."
A woman who dissented from that narrow view of godliness by having an illegal abortion might get to hell sooner than most. That's the only thing that criminalization of safe and legal abortion ever has accomplished through all of recorded time, and all it ever will accomplish -- killing women before their time. That's the sordid little secret that no one wants to talk about, because saying such a thing out loud dirties the whited sepulcher of moral purity. And the truth never matters when power-hungry candidates are selling their souls to be anointed as the chosen one.
Brownback expressed more moderate views until after he had safely cinched his party's nomination in 1993. Last winter, the Kansas City Star reprinted a 1996 story detailing Sam Brownback's flip-flop on abortion rights. Even the executive director of Kansans for Life said, "He changed his position." Brownback said that "his stand on abortion has often been misunderstood, partly because his thoughts weren't fully formed" earlier -- but now God's senator is definitely 100% right-to-life for everyone but women.
After repenting of his criticism of Jerry Falwell, and hiring a former Falwell staffer for his campaign, John McCain is bent on appeasing any lingering doubters in the conservative Christian camp, since his flip-flops on abortion have become the stuff of political legend.
"I'd love to see a point where Roe v. Wade is irrelevant, and could be repealed because abortion is no longer necessary. But certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade, which would then force women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations."
Now McCain is all in favor of those "illegal and dangerous operations," the ones that women in the United States used to die from. As Scott Lemieux points out, "while McCain made some egregious panders about abortion when running in a primary in which his major opponent already had the social conservative vote locked up, McCain is in fact a consistent supporter of criminalized abortion."
He said so again last January.
Republican presidential candidate John McCain, looking to improve his standing with the party's conservative voters, said Sunday the court decision that legalized abortion should be overturned.
A rebuke from Dobson must carry more weight than the lives of women who would be sacrificed to the ubiquitous abortion bans springing up in statehouses around the country like a crop of poisonous mushrooms.
The usual exceptions -- rape, incest, and "life of the mother" -- are tacked on to soothe the unease of "family values voters" gullible enough to believe that those words actually mean something.
Rape and incest provisions in this year's abortion bans submit a woman to interrogation and the intrusive collection of DNA by law enforcement within a narrow time frame -- an even further violation of her person and her privacy.
"Life of the mother" means even less -- much less. Managua, South Dakota, a comparison of the 2006 South Dakota ban with the ban enacted in Nicaragua last fall, examined that deceptive exception in depth.
[T]he Nicaraguan Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics unequivocally stated that the new law would "endanger women and make doctors reluctant to perform life-saving procedures."
In Nicaragua the ban quickly and predictably took its toll, the first victim dying within weeks.
A Managua hospital allowed 19 year-old Yasmina Bojorge to die of internal bleeding, forced by law to delay life-saving treatment because her 300-gram fetus was still alive.
[The following excerpts are translated from original press reports in Spanish]
After three days doctors at Bertha Calderón Hospital confirmed the death of the fetus and tried to induce a natural delivery, which proved impossible. The young woman developed an internal hemorrhage and died this morning in the operating room.
In February a second young woman died to preserve the "sanctity of life." After five days of fighting a raging infection that could not be properly treated while her fetus lived, and then enduring two D&Cs and a hysterectomy that all came too late to save her life, Francis Zamora expired of endotoxic shock.
Text and photo from Nicaragua's El Nuevo Diario
"The country's laws have changed," that was the reason why Francis Zamora, age 22, left her three children orphans. Her children do not understand about laws, only that their mama will not be coming home.
And what do Nicaragua's "sanctity of life" leaders have to say? Not surprisingly, they sound remarkably like the U.S. bishops, James Dobson, Tony Perkins or the CWA.
One of Nicaragua's top pro-life leaders and the president of the Nicaraguan Association for Life, Dr. Rafael Cabrera, spoke up this week about the harassment and pressure the people and government are receiving from various international organizations and authorities to reverse its decision to outlaw abortion.
As in the US, Catholics for a Free Choice (Católicas con derecho a decidir) object that "the Catholic hierarchy has stripped them of the right to make decisions about their own lives. 'It worries us that the Church concerns itself about the unborn and doesn't defend the children left as orphans, or the thousands of children who die of hunger.'"
Before Roe v. Wade ensured safe abortion care, and while John McCain was staying true to his religious values in North Vietnam, the same endotoxic shock that killed Francis Zamora was a too-frequent cause of death for women right here at home. And physicians such as Dr. Eugene Glick never will forget it.
I remember getting introduced to something called septic abortion. It is a condition that is caused by the breakdown of bacteria in an infected site. I remember a woman losing the tips of her fingers because of the endotoxic shock causing the blood vessels to shrink down. It was just terrible.
That's what McCain, Brownback, Romney and their ilk are campaigning for when they pander for the approval of the pseudo-religious mouthers of "moral values." The continuing push to limit access to contraception and criminalize safe abortion care represents not a return to godliness, but a true culture of death.
Either religious or political leaders operating from such a base desire for supremacy over women, regardless of its toll in blood and grief, deserve to be called exactly what they are -- death pimps.
[Nicaragua protest image: The Guardian.UK]
An earlier version of this piece appeared previously at Talk to Action.
The Death Pimps II | 4 comments (4 topical, 0 hidden)
The Death Pimps II | 4 comments (4 topical, 0 hidden)