In a recent exchange of comments on a dKos diary concerning abortion rights, a participant claimed that he was "pro-life" while at the same time seeming to deny it. (Note: I never use the generally shallow, dishonest, and deliberately deceptive term "pro-life" outside of quotation marks.)
I asked him, "Why are you 'pro-life' when it results in such massive human suffering?" He replied, "Does it really? I wish we really could know. In the end, however, suffering is an inevitable part of everyone's life. Killing need not be. While it's right to reduce suffering, it's also right to avoid killing in order to reduce it. Where do we draw the line? That's harder to answer." I easily enough answered, "Yes, it obviously really does result in massive human suffering. It is not hard at all for me to answer that the line should be drawn by each individual woman, not by the tyranny of your traditionally misogynistic religious mythology striving to revive the Holy Inquisition." Not appreciative of that, he shot back with, "Holy inquisition??? Where's that coming from? Stay on topic, please."
Yes, indeed, in my opinion, the "Holy Inquisition" lives. This is why it is very much on topic whenever abortion rights are considered. . .
Let's dip beneath the surface, hopefully not so far that anyone will need to pop up for air, although we could dive much deeper for an even much more hideous and wider-ranging, closer, asphyxiating view of it. The psychology of the Holy Inquisition is not only on topic, it is the topic engaged at its very core. Although the Holy Inquisition is no longer openly operating under that name in the Roman Catholic Church, its tradition of striving to dominate and subjugate the whole world to its authoritarian, superstition-based definition of "morality" by as much fear and punishment as it can get away with is alive and kicking.
We no longer see the ghastly torture and countless brutal public executions for "heresy" and "witchcraft" that once prevailed. The advancing enlightenment and liberalization of western civilization have forced the dynamics of the Holy Inquisition mentality into hiding. Recall that women were always especially oppressed by the Holy Inquisition when it was still openly called that, which was entirely in keeping with the tradition of oppression of women by the misogynistic Roman Catholic Church since its origins two millennia ago.
The more things don’t change, the more they stay the same
It is practiced stealthily, less directly, and thus less obviously now, but it is not hard to recognize if one looks with eyes wide open. For example, consider the vigorously active contributions of the Roman Catholic Church to the following statistics:
The World Health Organization has estimated that in those parts of the world in which abortion is illegal, about 70,000 thinking, feeling, often desperate women and teenage girls die every year from illegal attempts to abort unwanted pregnancies. That is more than one every 10 minutes dead because they are prohibited by law from accessing safe, legal, professional abortion care. Many times that number are seriously injured and maimed for life.
In addition, every minute, night and day, no holidays or weekends off, around the world
one woman dies of complications of pregnancy and childbirth (every minute),
ten teenage girls undergo unsafe illegal abortions (every minute),
thirteen infants under twelve months old die (every minute),
fifty seven people contract an STD (every minute),
eleven people are infected with HIV (every minute),
and the already-burgeoned-beyond-the-planet's-capacity-to-sustain human population increases by one hundred fifty more people (every minute),
all sanctioned, encouraged, and even enforced by our callous right-wing-dominated government through international interference with and withholding of funding from worldwide reproductive health and sex education programs, all with the vigorous support and reinforcement of the Roman Catholic Church.
Let's not forget the women brutalized and incarcerated by law enforcement in those countries in which the Roman Catholic Church has pushed for and won the criminalization of abortion and achieved that cruel piece of "God's will on Earth be done." In countries such as Chile and El Salvador women having not only induced abortions, but spontaneous abortions (miscarriages), are routinely subjected to police investigations and interrogation, arrested, and incarcerated. Many women having natural miscarriages are so afraid of such persecution and prosecution that they avoid seeking medical care in such situations, and some (many I would think) die. Yet the Roman Catholic "pro-life" protagonist I quoted above indulges in the make-believe that he is free of any complicity in "killing."
That is what so-called "pro-life" voters and politicians stand for, and they won't stop until they succeed in creating conditions in this country mirroring those in the Third World and in Chile and El Salvador in my examples above. Or until we stop them at the polls.
Does anyone really not see an unbroken continuation of the "Holy Inquisition" in such barbaric atrocities?
As with that famous rose, an Inquisition by any other name - or a prettier name - or no name at all - is still an Inquisition.
I strongly believe that defending abortion rights and other issues targeted so irrationally and callously by religious extremists are  issues of far too heavy import to ignore or whisper about and  winning issues politically if addressed rationally and assertively.
For a quick course in the basics of the political and religious issues underlying opposition to abortion rights, see Abortion Rights 101