Black People : It's Not Just an Abortion Ban:

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Goddess Auset333, May 7, 2007.

  1. Goddess Auset333

    Goddess Auset333 Banned MEMBER

    Feb 9, 2007
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    It's Not Just an Abortion Ban:
    The Christian Right's Global Agenda

    May 1, 2007

    By Yifat Susskind, MADRE Communications Director

    http://madre. org/articles/ usfp/christianri ght.5.07. html

    After the initial shock of the recent Supreme Court
    ruling upholding President Bush's abortion ban, it's
    time to acknowledge the full reality of the decision.
    According to the American College of Obstetrics and
    Gynecologists- -which represents 90 percent of OB/GYNs
    in the US--the ruling is harmful to women's health. But
    the Court's decision is about much more than a woman's
    right to safely end a pregnancy. That's because today's
    Supreme Court is a product of the Bush Administration
    (newcomer Justices Roberts and Alito tipped the
    decision); and the Bush Administration is a product of
    the Christian Right. Anyone who has been watching the
    Christian Right chip away at abortion access and the
    separation of church and state knows that criminalizing
    abortion is just the tip of the Christian-
    fundamentalist iceberg and that their agenda is global
    in scope.

    Globalizing the Culture War

    Today, Regent, the flagship university of the openly
    theocratic wing of the Christian Right, has 150 alumni
    working in the Bush Administration. Their alma mater's
    mission: to provide "Christian leadership to change the
    world." Overturning Roe v. Wade in the US has been
    their signature preoccupation, but as missionaries, the
    battlefield of the Christian Right is the whole world.
    Christian Right activists recognized years ago that
    they weren't winning any decisive battles in the
    domestic "culture war." But they also noticed that the
    mainstream women's movement was largely absent from
    foreign policy debates. Compared with domestic
    politics, foreign policy was a feminist-free zone--so
    the Christian Right moved in.

    Since 2000--with one of their own finally in the White
    House--religious fundamentalists have turned their
    attention to US foreign policy like never before. They
    started where all religious fundamentalists start: with
    asserting control over women's bodies. For them, the
    subordination of women is both a microcosm and a
    precondition for the world they want to create. And
    everyone knows that a sure-fire way to subordinate
    women is to prevent them from controlling their
    fertility. After all, when you can't decide whether,
    how often, or even with whom to have children, what can
    you decide?

    That's why the Christian Right's first big payback from
    Bush was the reenactment of the "global gag rule,"
    which bars organizations that receive US funds from
    counseling, referring, or providing information on
    abortion. Enacted on Bush's second day in office, the
    gag rule has forced not only abortion providers, but
    whole clinics to shut down--all of them in the world's
    poorest countries, where health services depend on
    international aid. The UN estimates that by denying
    women access to contraceptives and a range of health
    services, Bush's gag rule has led to an additional two
    million unwanted pregnancies and more than 75,000
    infant and child deaths. Moreover, because there is a
    direct link between women's ability to control their
    fertility and their capacity to escape poverty, the gag
    rule violates a range of social and economic rights, in
    addition to women's reproductive rights.

    Sanctifying the United Nations

    Religious fundamentalism was invented by US Protestants
    at the end of the 19th century, but now, there are
    powerful fundamentalist movements in Latin America,
    Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia
    all working to restrict women's rights in the name of
    religion. Many of them gained traction during the Cold
    War, when the US supported fundamentalist groups as an
    antidote to the influence of the Soviet Union and
    secular nationalists.

    The spread of religious fundamentalism has helped
    transform the United Nations from a "Godless
    institution" vilified by the Christian Right into an
    arena of potential allies, ripe for infiltration. Under
    Bush, religious fundamentalists have been appointed to
    represent the US at international health and human
    rights conferences. They have allied with the Vatican
    (which enjoys a quasi-governmental status in the UN),
    Iran, and others seeking to unravel and reshape the UN
    agenda. As Austin Ruse, president of the US-based
    Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, which
    "monitors UN activity" said, "without countries like
    Sudan, abortion would have been recognized as a
    universal human right in a UN document."

    Where other countries' allegiance to fundamentalist
    values has been thin, US religious fundamentalists have
    relied on sheer bullying at the UN. These delegates
    have felt doubly empowered--as emissaries of the
    world's "only true faith" and its only superpower. Over
    the past six years, the unparalleled global economic,
    political, and military might of the United States has
    enabled Christian fundamentalists to push through
    international public health and human rights policies
    that have had grave repercussions for women worldwide.
    Under Bush, they have succeeded in denying the morning-
    after pill to rape survivors in Kosovo and barred
    access to condoms and sexual education in AIDS-ravaged

    Bringing It All Back Home

    For the most part, policies such as these did not cost
    the Republican Party votes because they didn't impact
    women in the US--at least not at first. But the US
    attack on women's reproductive rights abroad followed
    by the recent Supreme Court ruling is a stark reminder
    that ideologically speaking, there's no such thing as
    foreign policy. The Christian Right seeks to restrict
    women's rights domestically, just as they have
    internationally- -as part of one coherent "vision" that
    includes much more than a world without abortion.

    We only need to look at countries where religious
    fundamentalists have gained the upper hand in
    policymaking to see where the US Christian Right would
    like to take us. Fundamentalists of different religions
    draw on different texts and operate in diverse cultures
    and contexts. But when it comes to their rigid and
    retrograde gender ideology, they show a lot more
    commonalities than differences. The Christian Right's
    agenda extends to restricting women's rights to work,
    equality before the law, education, and freedom from a
    range of gender-based human rights abuses, including
    domestic battery and marital rape. And the Christian
    Right's "vision" goes beyond attacks on any narrowly
    construed notion of "women's rights." They're angling
    for more of the kind of messianic militarism that
    characterized Bush's response to 9/11 (which he
    originally called a "crusade"), and more neoliberal
    economic policies that promise greater ruin to the
    world's poor people and ecology.

    Fighting Back

    So how do we counter a movement that now has millions
    of supporters, and has spent billions building think
    tanks, universities, media outlets, and lobbying
    machines in pursuit of their agenda?

    First, it's going to take more than single-issue
    politics based on a narrow reading of reproductive
    choice. In many parts of the world, coercive "family
    planning" policies that violate women's right to have
    children are as much a threat to their reproductive
    freedom as lack of abortion access. For people
    everywhere, reproductive rights must be linked to
    social and economic rights so that every baby has
    decent housing, enough food and clean water, a healthy,
    peaceful environment, and other rights enshrined in the
    UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Bush--for all
    his pandering about the "rights" of fetuses--is
    blocking unanimous global support for that Convention.
    (The only other country that refuses to ratify it is
    Somalia, which hasn't had a government in 16 years.)

    Second, we need to expand our understanding of "women's
    issues." The attack on abortion rights is just one
    aspect of a religious fundamentalist agenda that is
    threatening not only women's freedom, but international
    peace and security, Indigenous cultural survival, and
    secular, democratic political traditions around the
    world. All of these are women's issues. Third, we need
    a new progressive dialogue that makes more room for
    religious people who are working to counter
    fundamentalist agendas, fueled by their own faith-based

    In short, we need a strategy that recognizes the
    connections between women's reproductive rights and the
    full range of human rights, and between women in the US
    and women around the world. It's not that we each need
    to be addressing every possible political issue
    simultaneously. But wherever our convictions move us to
    action, let's act with an awareness of how our piece of
    the puzzle fits into a bigger picture of the world
    we're working to create. Because while it may seem like
    last week's Supreme Court ruling is only about
    restricting access to abortion, those who worked for
    years to bring it about see the decision as one battle
    in a war to remake the whole world in Jerry Falwell's