[ the actual title of this page:]
Part Two of an honest presentation
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of Christian Choice
America's high rate of abortion can be directly attributed to conservative Christianity's obsession with controlling and suppressing sexuality.
The most effective way to reduce abortion is to de-stigmatize sexuality, improve sexual education, and ensure broad access to excellent contraceptives. In the highly secular Netherlands, this formula has knocked abortion down to 7 per 1000 women annually, one third the U.S. rate.
So why does the anti-abortion movement keep their focus on restrictive laws instead of contraceptive access? Why do they oppose medically accurate sex ed? Why do they pledge to defund Title X family planning? Why are they having fits about programs that provide top tier contraceptives to pregnant teens in Colorado and Washington (and virtually eliminate abortion among participating teens)? Because abortion isn't really what interests them. They want purity. They want righteousness. They want traditional gender roles with women as designated breeders who defer to male authority. They want these things so badly that they are willing even to drive up the abortion rate in order to get them.
Four aspects of conservative Christianity promote accidental pregnancy: pro-natalism, an obsession with sexual sin, an emphasis on righteousness over compassion, and a determination to structure social rules and programs around some fantasy ideal rather than how the real world actually works). As a consequence they promote abortion.
Pro-natalism. One of Christianity's competitive strategies is to drive up the birth rate of believers. The Old Testament describes an estimated 1.2 million deaths at the hand of Yahweh or his servants, which makes it hard to argue that Christianity is pro-life. It is, however, pro-birth. Be fruitful and multiply, says the writer of Genesis (Genesis 1:28); Women will be saved through childbearing, echoes a New Testament writer centuries later (1 Timothy 2:15). Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation, bluntly put it in his own words: "If a woman grows weary and at last dies from childbearing, it matters not. Let her only die from bearing; she is there to do it."Treating women as breeders, a strategy for increasing adherents, is at the heart of the Catholic anti-contraceptive stance and the Protestant Quiverfull movement. Historically, these attitudes may have driven up the number of Christians, but thanks to the Religious Right meddling in politics and education, today they drive up accidental pregnancy and abortion for Americans across the religious spectrum.
Obsession with Sexual Sin. "Mama's baby, papa's maybe" – we all know what it means. By the Iron Age, when Judaism emerged, the male determination to know which babies were whose had taken the form of men owning women. You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. (Exodus 20:17) Women caught in adultery (or missing their hymens) were killed by the ancient Hebrews, just as they are by conservative Muslims today.Christianity's obsession with sexual sin or rather with female virginity has produced the American purity myth, which makes candid conversations and education about sexuality a challenge. Ineffective abstinence education denies young people accurate information about their bodies and the means to prevent pregnancy. In contrast to more secular, open societies like Holland, teens in conservative American communities may be slow to use birth control, because that would make them guilty of the sin of premeditated sex.
Emphasis on Righteousness over Compassion. Traditional Christianity is about right belief. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved. (Acts 16:31). (Contrast this with the central virtue of Buddhism, ahimsa, or non-harm.) The focus on being right has caused Christianity to fracture into over 38,000 denominations. But schism is just one of many negative consequences that come from valuing right belief over compassionate living. Many believers would rather be right (and righteous) than loving. They'd rather be right than solve problems. They would rather condemn abortion from a position of righteous superiority than solve the complicated conditions that cause women to terminate pregnancies. They'd rather judge from the sidelines than get their hands dirty.
Structuring Society for Fantasy Perfect Humans Rather than Real Humans. In the ideal fantasy world of Evangelical Christianity, teenagers wouldn't have sex. In fact nobody would ever have sex unless they were married and ready to have a baby. In this fantasy world all we need to do is teach teens to abstain (and then shame and punish the ones who don't) and voila, teen pregnancy will go away. This is the worldview that produced the painful story of Bristol Palin, who earned a quarter of a million dollars promoting abstinence only to find herself awkwardly announcing a second pregnancy. In the real world, the most dramatic improvements in teen pregnancy and family flourishing come when young people have excellent information about their own bodies and access to top tier contraceptives. Colorado dramatically dropped their rate of teen pregnancy and related high school drop-outs this way. But conservative Christians killed funding for the program with a toxic mix of bad faith and junk science.
The world is on the cusp of a contraceptive revolution (which actually has bonus health benefits). State of the art long-acting contraceptives are 50 times as effective as the Pill at preventing accidental pregnancy. Each year almost 1 in 10 women on the Pill gets pregnant. Over a lifetime, that's two or three extra pregnancies per woman – unsought children or abortions. With a hormonal IUD or implant, that drops below 1 in 500! If that wasn't enough, some top tier contraceptives also reduce that monthly uncleanness and pain (Leviticus 15:19-24) brought on by Eve's curse.
Someone who really wanted to reduce abortions would showcase better birth control in every teen health class in the country. They would make sure that the most effective contraceptives available were available to all women regardless of age or income, as a program in Washington State does. They would be more focused on promoting wise childbearing than virginity. Those who claim they want to end abortion don't succeed because that's not really what they are after."
More interesting articles from the www.aclu.org/ReproductiveRights web site :
ReproductiveRightsMain.cfm - Reproductive Rights
ReproductiveRightslist.cfm?c=143 - Abortion
ReproductiveRightslist.cfm?c=224 - Religious Threats to Reproductive Rights
Here's a great article on The Republican Party's legislative "war on women".
Here is a link to a book by a very conservative Protestant pastor who has come to view the R.C. involvement in the pro-life cause as a way to convert non-Catholics to their church :
More Than These, a book designed to show how the "Pro-Life" movement has been a sneaky way to advance the cause of Roman Catholicism.
"Chances are, you know someone who has had an abortion. Statistically, it's a near-certainty: In the U.S., one in three women will have an abortion by the age of 45. But despite how incredibly common abortion is, it remains mired in stigma and misinformation. Much of what we may think we know about this subject is actually outright lies told by abortion opponents to dissuade women from seeking safe and legal abortion care.
Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs), which are fake clinics run by opponents of abortion, are well-known for lying to clients in order to convince them not to seek abortion care. But the lies told within the walls of CPCs aren't just contained there; they are part and parcel of the anti-abortion movement in the U.S. For a movement that so fervently claims that "truth is on our side," they seem perfectly willing to proliferate blatant lies about abortion. Here are a select few of the most common and pervasive of those lies.
Read Janet Reitman's RS feature on the stealth war on abortion rights.
This lie about abortion is one of the most widely circulated. It's commonly cited by abortion opponents and CPC employees as a means of scaring patients out of choosing abortion. Unfortunately for them, the link between abortion and breast cancer simply isn't corroborated by any current, reliable medical evidence. In 2003, the National Cancer Institute conducted a workshop with more than 100 of the world's leading experts on pregnancy and breast cancer risk, and they found that "induced abortion is not linked to an increase in breast cancer risk." This was corroborated by a 2009 study by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which demonstrated that recent, rigorous, methodologically-sound studies display "no causal relationship between induced abortion and a subsequent increase in breast cancer."
This lie is a staple of CPCs to try and dissuade women from undergoing abortions. Just like the lie about abortion and breast cancer, this fear-mongering doesn't have any legitimate medical basis, either. According to the Mayo Clinic, "abortion isn't thought to cause fertility issues or complications in subsequent pregnancies." What's more, the Guttmacher Institute, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights, found that abortions performed in the first trimester "pose virtually no long-term risk" of infertility.
Statistically speaking, some women will regret having an abortion. But the fact is, the vast majority don't cite regret as their main emotion after an abortion; it's relief. A recent study at the University of California, San Francisco found that 90 percent of women who were able to obtain an abortion reported that they were relieved and those who did cite negative emotions after their abortion didn't indicate that they felt they had made the wrong choice. In that study, 80 percent of women who experienced mostly negative emotions still felt that abortion was the right choice for them. This anti-abortion talking point is deceitful and reductive, and it doesn't allow for women to share their nuanced, personal abortion experiences.
The logic behind this anti-abortion lie has helped fuel the wave of paternalistic and invasive forced ultrasound legislation in much of the U.S. Even though 23 states currently regulate the provision of ultrasound by abortion providers in some way, viewing an ultrasound doesn't stop women from having an abortion. Not even close. According to a recent study featured in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Journal, of the 40 percent of women who chose to view their ultrasound, 98.4 percent still went through with their abortion. Mandated ultrasounds aren't just onerous and intrusive; they're also incredibly ineffective at preventing abortion.
Abortion opponents frequently tout the official-sounding "Post-Abortion Syndrome" (sometimes called "Post-Abortion Stress Syndrome") as proof that those who undergo an abortion procedure will suffer emotionally and psychologically. The trouble is, there's no such thing as "Post-Abortion Syndrome." It's a myth. It isn't recognized by either the American Psychological Association or the American Psychiatric Association. It is not a medical term because it is not a medical reality. The American Psychological Association's Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion decisively states that there is "no evidence that having a single abortion causes mental health problems."
Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider (TRAP) laws have become incredibly popular legislatively in the last three years, with copycat legislation springing up in states from Texas to Ohio. Examples include requiring abortion clinics to be Ambulatory Surgical Centers, requiring that all abortions performed past a certain point be done in a hospital, or requiring all abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. On the surface, these sound like benevolent requirements, but in practice, they are completely medically unnecessary and serve only to shutter otherwise functional abortion providers, which is the entire point. While abortion opponents claim that these laws simply make abortion care safer for patients, in reality they do no such thing. TRAP laws are designed to impose onerous and completely unnecessary requirements on abortion providers in order to achieve one goal: close down abortion clinics. So far, they've been remarkably successful. Since TRAP laws surfaced in 2010, more than 50 safe abortion clinics have closed. For a movement that claims it wants to prevent the next Kermit Gosnell from performing illegal and unsafe abortions, TRAP laws all but ensure that safe clinics disappear and unsafe, illegal ones abound.
About 40 percent of religious congregations reportedly participate in some type of abortion activity, whether pro-choice or pro-life. Here is a summary of the views held by leading religions and denominations:
The Catholic hierarchy has failed so miserably in convincing its own members that it wants to use the U.S. government to enforce its beliefs on both members and non-members of its church.
A reputable 2000-2001 survey found that the abortion rate among Catholic women was 22 per 1,000 women; while the rate for Protestants was only 18 per 1,000 women. (Surprisingly, 13% of the women surveyed actually admitted to being evangelical or "born again".)
[ factcheck.org/askfactcheck/do_catholic_women_get_abortions_more_frequently.html ]
" In 1971, delegates to the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis, Missouri, passed a resolution encouraging "Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother." The convention, hardly a redoubt of liberal values, reaffirmed that position in 1974, one year after Roe, and again in 1976.
When the Roe decision was handed down, W. A. Criswell, the Southern Baptist Convention's former president and pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas – also one of the most famous fundamentalists of the 20th century – was pleased: "I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had a life separate from its mother that it became an individual person," he said, "and it has always, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed.""
[ http://www.pubtheo.com/page.asp?pid=1881 ]
Around the world, there's a general correlation between the availability of abortion and social concern for the well-being of children, according to the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy. ( from material in "Anti-Child", By Kathra Pollitt in The Nation, Nov. 15, 1999 )
The fifty nations that permit abortion regardless of a woman's reason for wanting one include the countries that show their love for their children by providing them with ample health care and education benefits, countries like : Norway, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Israel and Canada.
The Pro-Life Camp, on the other hand, boasts the countries with the worst infant mortality rates, no free schooling, and no other commitments to their children after birth.
Poland restricts abortion, while embracing free-market policies that consign ever more children to poverty.
The only country in Latin America that permits unrestricted abortion is also the one that has universal free healthcare and education, and the lowest infant mortality rate in that region, i.e. Castro's Cuba.
|Egypt, Haiti, Guatemala, Indonesia, Paraguay and Brazil all ban abortion before birth, and then allow their children to fend for themselves on the streets.|
|The list of "pro-life" nations are often also the very nations which have the fewest qualms about executing adults.|
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of Christian Choice
There is much more where this came from at