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As a teacher, I’m used to asking question designed to be answered by my audience.  Here, I’m asking questions to which I don’t want you giving me answers.  I want you to answer these questions for yourselves – in your own hearts and minds – and then you determine what you will do with your answers.

Also, “because the Bible says so” is not really an answer.  First, that answer doesn’t reflect any thinking on your part.  Also, the Bible is open to so much interpretation, this answer would seem to imply “because that’s what someone has told me that that’s what the Bible means to say, I guess”.  

So, I’m asking you to think, to draw your own conclusions, and then to act on those conclusions.

I am talking about men and to women, but not in general.  I’m referring to some men in positions of power, men who have or are seeking the power to do exactly what they say they will do.  And I am referring to all women, even women who currently support and agree with the men who have or are seeking power.

There are currently men running for elected office and some who are already in Congress, as well as in state and local governments, who have stated that they will overturn Roe v Wade and outlaw all forms of abortion, even in cases of rape.  My questions are – why would men want to outlaw abortion?  What’s in it for men?  What do men actually gain, how do men profit, by outlawing abortion?

Second issue: birth control.  I will not lump abortion in with other forms of birth control, because it is being treated as a separate issue socially and many women who’ve experienced abortion understand the extreme decisions that go in to finally choosing abortion.  Getting a prescription and buying birth control pills is a relatively easy decision in comparison.  But the questions are the same as above.  Why would men want to outlaw birth control?  What’s in it for men?  What do men gain, how do men profit, by outlawing birth control?

Now, for the issue of rape; rape is the act of forced sexual assault.  It is not about having consensual sexual intercourse; it is always about someone having power and control over another human being.  Both men and women can be raped and far fewer men report rape than do women.  Rape in this country is defined as a crime.  So, why would men want to change the definition of rape?  What’s in it for men?  What do men gain, how do men profit, by redefining rape?

Stop here and think about these questions before reading any further.  

If enough conservatively religious men gain the power in this country to overturn Roe v Wade, to outlaw birth control, and to redefine rape, what else could men do?  Could they repeal the Nineteenth Amendment, stripping women of the right to vote?

If enough conservatively religious men gain enough power in this country to repeal the Nineteenth Amendment, what else could men do?  Could they reinstitute the supposed Biblical crime of witchcraft?  Could they force women to be married to men and become pregnant?  Could they force “undesirable” women to be sterilized and put in institutions?

If enough conservatively religious men gain enough power in this country to strip women of all their rights, power, and voices, to whom could these men be compared?  

I can almost hear women’s thoughts: “that can’t happen here”, “there’d be riots”  “we can’t go that far backwards”.  The unfortunate truth is that it can happen here if we allow it to happen.

If you aren’t registered to vote, you will have difficulty making your voice heard and your wishes known, and you definitely won’t be able to choose whom you want to lead this country.  If you are registered to vote, and you don’t vote, you are giving away your power to help yourself.  At this time in history, you have the right to exercise your power as a woman.  Are you prepared to give that away?  Are you prepared for the consequences and the actions that might be taken against you if you don’t exercise your power now, while you still have it?  What’s in it for you?  How will you profit by keeping the hard-fought for rights that you currently have?  Women (and men who demonstrate they can) must support other women, as well as children and the elderly – some men have demonstrated time after time, that it’s not profitable for them to do so.  On the other hand, there are some men who can be in positions of power and will share that power with women.  For whom will you vote?  With whom will you stand?

As you’re thinking about the above issues, can you remember these names: The
Ayatollah Khomeini, Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein.  Do you know how they demanded women be treated in their countries according to their interpretations of their religious beliefs?  Are you familiar with the kinds of laws they instituted against women, children, and the elderly?  What was in it for them?  What did they gain and how did they profit while they were in power?

Originally posted to mrcalam on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 07:23 PM PDT.

Also republished by Pro Choice, Abortion, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Control, that's all. n/t (10+ / 0-)

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 07:27:08 PM PDT

  •  We Got Ya; There's a Reason We Call Them the (16+ / 0-)

    American Taliban.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 07:30:58 PM PDT

  •  Women will be fine (5+ / 0-)

    if they turn out and vote for their best interest .

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 07:32:38 PM PDT

  •  Not Saddam Hussein actually (16+ / 0-)

    Under his regime, the women of Iraq actually enjoyed a great deal of opportunity, particularly in areas like education.

    And even in Khomeini's Iran, women still had greater educational opportunities and freedom of movement than say in Saudi Arabia.  

    So you might want to rethink that last paragraph a bit.  It doesn't quite hold together.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 10:18:58 PM PDT

  •  and to answer the question... (7+ / 0-)

    many if not most forms of illegitimate authority proclaimed, or stolen or bought or violently seized tend to rest upon some assertion of superiority of those holding that authority over a group of "others", the rights or actions or beliefs or simple existence of whom the authority group needs to use as a legitimating justification.  that women's reproductive rights in the 21st century can still become that for retro-looking men tells us this dynamic has not been buried by history or modernity.    

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Fri Sep 07, 2012 at 10:24:59 PM PDT

    •  There is an obvious difference... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nicci August

      ...between men and women, as between white and black people.

      And human beings in general are sensitive to differences. That's how we get science, after all. We notice differences and are inspired to explain them.

      The problem is that many of us aren't satisfied with the banal fact that intelligence and human worth are not among the things affected by gender and race. There must be more to it, we think, just the same way we think in astrology that there must be more to our birth date than the accidents of conception and gestation.

      And when the power holders are nearly all of one gender and one race, guess what they will choose for the optimal human configuration?

      "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

      by sagesource on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 12:20:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, by evolutionary imperative... (10+ / 0-) outlawing abortion, they gain an improved chance of having more surviving offspring.

    This probably does not occur to them as a conscious consideration, but genetic drive can have profound, if subtle, influence over our thought processes.

    In a situation where women do not have access to birth control, a man's reproductive success depends primarily on how many women he has access to and how frequently he can impregnate them. His 'opponents' in this goal are other men (who might want 'his' women) and the availability of natural resources (which is why a single mother is a 'bonus' from a reproductive point of view -- he doesn't have to dedicate extra resources to that child). The women, themselves, aren't a problem -- once they're pregnant, they're pregnant. If they don't want to take the chance of being pregnant -- that might be why some men (by no means the majority) want such a strict definition of rape.

    Once the women have access to birth control and abortion, however, there's another axis: Whether the woman wants to be pregnant. Suddenly, even frequent sexual access is no guarantee of pregnancy, ad pregnancy is no guarantee of a child. It makes the environment of reproductive imperative a lot harder to navigate.

    A businessman once asked a villager, "Why will you not let me buy this forest from you?" The villager answered, "Why not ask the birds? It is their home you will burn."

    by EcoMorph on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 12:01:20 AM PDT

  •  I recc'd because.. (9+ / 0-)

    I think this is a defining moment in our country, as you mention, with perhaps a little hyperbole. The thing is, the authoritarian, pseudo-christian right is interested in eroding our freedom to be anything but what they dictate. The question is, do we vote them down now, or end up in a place down the road where violence or revolution become the only ways to regain the country that they are trying to rip away from us.

  •  This is precisely why we should have ... (6+ / 0-)

    passed the Equal Rights Amendment!

    Sometimes I think that our U.S. of A. is pretty backwards!

  •  I have another question. (5+ / 0-)

    Why would a republican woman campaign for the men who want to take away women's rights?

    I realize that some women aren't effected, and that they might not speak out against this for that reason, but why would they actually go on national television, as John McCain's daughter did, and when asked about the fact that Romney and Ryan would do what they could to remove women's health care as we know it, she replied that most women that she knows are more concerned about the economy and jobs.

    More so than the men involved, what's in it for women who work to remove women's rights even when it's not a result of their religious beliefs?

    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 06:52:02 AM PDT

  •  I think it would be a little more "American" (6+ / 0-)

    We sadly already HAVE a group in this country that treats women exactly the way most conservative men dream of.

    It's called the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints.

    Most women in the group have children every year, give their money to their husband, have no say at all, and are hunted down if they try to escape.  Child abuse and exile of males who threaten the patriarchy is also common.

    Of course, that kind of slavery is considered the will of god, so it's cool.  

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 06:55:02 AM PDT

  •  Perceived power (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Desert Scientist

    When women do not have the power to determine the course of their child-bearing years, educational and financial achievements are lost.  Less jobs and opportunity for women, more jobs for men, including low(er) paying ones.  
    Once they have the power to discriminate against women, the perceived threats of the uneducated, poor whites, African-Americans, Jews, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans will be the next target of disenfranchisement.
    It's all step by step.  I think if they are allowed to gain control of Congress and the Whitehouse, many of us will not be able to vote again in 4 years and there will be no one to speak for us except the powerful liberals, who will be suppressed in the ways moderate Republicans are suppressed now.
    It is easier now for them to pour out their venom against anyone not like them than it has been in many, many years. I fear for our freedom and our country if that comes to pass.
    It's always about power and money.
    The bottom line is always the most important for them because that is where the power lies.  It's all about money.

    There is enough on Earth for everybody's need, but not enough for everybody's greed. - M. Gandhi

    by Singing Lizard on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 07:13:07 AM PDT

  •  Logically, those who fear the rise of minorities (0+ / 0-)

    should encourage abortion, but many of them fervently believe the human embryo is an "unborn" baby and abortion providers are murderers.  See My abortion is the only moral abortion.

    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

    by ybruti on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 07:22:06 AM PDT

  •  Best reason to vote in two words: Supreme Court (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The next president will fill at least one more seat on the Supreme Court.  And if it's Twit Romney, we know how that will go.

    We must continue to make women's rights part of OUR message - to every woman.  And to every man who truly values & respects the women in his life.  

    What it is, is up to us. ~ Howard Rheingold

    by madame defarge on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 07:43:42 AM PDT

  •  Gilead... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NYmama, collardgreens, Lily O Lady

    ... and Handmaids.

  •  You're describing the plot of (8+ / 0-)

    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Vita Brevis's signature line is something like, "We see The Handmaid's Tale as a cautionary tale; conservatives see it as a blueprint." I think that says it pretty well.

    In the novel, the changes (with the exception of the machine gunning of Congress!) came gradually and none dared object. By the time the new system was in place, even those Christian women who'd worked to bring it about were trapped in it. And yet this terrible new order  was a sham where powerful men could still indulge in "sinful" behavior at their whim.

    See my signature line as well.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 08:03:05 AM PDT

  •  I agree, it is about control. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lily O Lady, justsayjoe

    If they can do that, then they could do all else you cite.  The aim of the abortion fight, and in present times the birth control fight, is to assert absolute power over women.  It is that simple.

    "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." -- JC, Matthew 6:24

    by Chi on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 08:17:12 AM PDT

  •  Jobs (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kiterea, sagesource, Deejay Lyn

    Taking control over reproductive choices away from women would rob us of our ability to participate in the workforce as much as we do now. Granted, things could be better than they are now (paid family leave, daycare, etc.) but the biggest reason women were able to enter the workforce in such large numbers in the 70s was birth control.

    Without the millions of women in the workforce, men would have that many fewer people competing against them for jobs. The fact that women's paychecks are vital for keeping families afloat in these bad economic times is ignored by those men who want to take back "their country" to the time when it was indeed a man's world.

  •  The rape issue (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kiterea, KateCrashes, tonyahky

    and people's opinions about it recently exposed, is in the same vein.  Men of this thinking want to assert absolute control over women; even want to be able to rape them without consequences.

    "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." -- JC, Matthew 6:24

    by Chi on Sat Sep 08, 2012 at 08:18:48 AM PDT

  •  When anesthesia first became available (7+ / 0-)

    some men wanted to deny it to women in childbirth because it was against God's will.

    In patriarchal culture, women are supposed to suffer, as punishment for the crime of being women. God said so. Every rapist agrees with Him. Every priest who wants to deny women birth control agrees with Him.

    And giving birth isn't a woman's choice: it's God's choice, and again it is God's punishment for women. It says so in te founding book of all Abrahamic religions.

    Misogyny isn't a bug in patriarchal religion: it is foundational.

    •  i once read where it's believed the story of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      adam & eve was an analogy about what happened when humans changed from hunter-gatherers to agriculture & how it was women who brought that about.  it was easier to stay in one place & grow crops, have babies, & raise families than wandering around all the time.  women liked it but men saw it as encroaching on their freedom & manhood, etc.  the story of eve & the serpent & the apple was an easy way to blame woman for causing everything wrong in the world b/c it started with her wanting to change the way man lived.

      the easiest way to control a population is to criminalize its behavior.  america's jim crow laws are a good example of that.

  •  I will just come out and say something I have (3+ / 0-)

    been thinking for a long time about the GOP's War on Women--what republicans are doing, basically, is trying to gain the votes of men who feel entitled to oppress women--and use abuse as a method of coercion and control.

    If one out of 6 women in this country will be a victim of male perpetrated domestic violence at some point in her life, or a victim of rape...or if a similar number of children are victims of sexual abuse, what this says is that a sizeable portion of men in this country engage, at some point, in these sorts of crimes against women and children.

    Men who are rapists, spouse abusers, and/or pedophiles tend to have very conservative notions about gender roles, and tend to feel that men should control all decision making in a family--and in society. They feel, that by virtue of being male, that they are entitled to special privileges and that women and children owe them obedience.

    Interestingly, many characteristics of abusers seem to be common among many right wing social conservatives--

    Both abusers and the GOP engage in lying, reframing of the issues, and projection as a means of controlling the flow of information--so those they wish to control will not see information that may refute the abusers (or conservatives') claims.

    Many abusers and social conservatives attempt to employ reproductive coercion as a means of controlling their victims. Abusers may take a woman's birth control away from her, or refuse to use it themselves. They may coerce her into becoming pregnant against her will. Social conservatives also want to limit womens' reproductive choices.

    Abusers and social conservatives  often use finances as a way to control their victims. An abuser may try to control how every penny is spent in the household, and may withhold funds from his victim as a means of punishment. Social conservatives are in favor of defunding programs such as food stamps that benefit the poor--who are disproportionately female.

    An abuser may deny his victim the ability top obtain medical care as a method of punishment and control. Social conservatives want to largely do away with medicaid, and routinely promote bills that will strip funding from programs that provide women with heath care.

    Abusers may rape a victim using objects as a means of shaming and humiliating her--Virginia's forced ultrasound bill is a similar tactic, designed to shame and humiliate women seeking abortions.

    I could list many other ways abusers and social conservatives share certain attitudes, beliefs, and characteristics--and how both abusers and social conservatives use similar tactics to attempt to control their victims.

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