Parents Talk Back

There’s no reason to be shocked by the extremists in Alabama who would a force a girl raped by her father to bear his child. This is the holy war they’ve been waiting for. And this is the endgame that all religious zealots seek: the ability to control the most intimate, the most brutal, the most private decision a woman can ever face.

Since Jan. 22, 1973, when the Supreme Court ruled that restrictive state regulation of abortion is unconstitutional, the anti-abortion warriors have plotted for ways to upend that ruling. And now, Donald Trump, of all people, has delivered their moment. They needed judges who share their view of America as a theocracy, in which their interpretation of God’s will supersedes all others.

White, conservative Republican men can finally decide for all the women what God says about when life begins. The 22 white Republican men in Alabama’s state senate know better than any woman what God wants, and they’re ready to jail any doctor who defies them.

This week, they passed legislation banning abortions at every stage of pregnancy, including for victims of rape and incest, and criminalizing the procedure for doctors.

They must know that some pregnant women will surely die for their vision of God’s will to be done. So they must also believe that God doesn’t care about those lives. It doesn’t matter that less than a quarter of Americans share their views. The rest of us are murderers-in-waiting because we don’t believe that the moment a sperm fertilizes an egg, a fully formed human exists.

They are unconcerned with questions like the ones Carliss Chatman, a law professor at Washington & Lee Law school in Virginia, asked on Twitter: “If a fetus is a person at 6 weeks pregnant, is that when the child support starts? Is that also when you can’t deport the mother because she’s carrying a U.S. citizen? Can I insure a 6-week fetus and collect if I miscarry?”

One could also ask, if a fertilized egg is a person, then how many attempted murders has a woman with an IUD committed? How many murders has a couple who has undergone IVF committed?

These are next frontiers for their jihad to protect embryos.

But let’s be careful not to confuse the Republican devotion to a fetus with concern for a living, breathing baby outside the womb. They must know that God hates health care for all people. Or even food stamps for poor children. Their God only promises each embryo nine months in a uterus. After that, the free ride is over.

The Alabama extremists are joined by like-minded cells in state houses in Georgia, Mississippi, Ohio, Kentucky, North Dakota and Iowa. Missouri would be on that list if Republicans weren’t fighting among themselves about tax credits. They all want to outlaw abortion before many women even know that they’re pregnant.

Meanwhile, Missouri has one of the highest maternal death rates in the country. And yet, legislators voted down a proposal last year to have a committee study the factors contributing to the high number of deaths of mothers during pregnancy and childbirth. God must have whispered to them that those aren’t the lives worth saving.

Focus on the fetus!

It bears repeating that abortion remains legal in all 50 states. The zealots’ draconian laws do not take effect immediately. Civil liberties groups are fighting them in court.

While this battle plays out, the Alabama Republican men leading the assault on women are confident God is on their side.

The men in Afghanistan who imposed their religious will over women shared that conviction.

They can offer their comrade Republicans a battle cry: Remember the Taliban.

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