by Groff Schroeder
Since the dawn of time, spontaneous abortion (“miscarriage”), defects, illness, inadequate finances or support etc. have created life and death medical necessities related to problem and unintended pregnancies. Today, numerous effective forms of birth control help to reduce both pregnancy and abortion. Planned Parenthood and other medical care providers provide not only various forms of low cost preventative health care, but also free and reduced cost birth control, and between 2009 and 2017, participation in Colorado's pioneering LARC (long acting reversible contraception) experiment yielded a 35% decrease in birth rate and a 41% decrease in abortion for women ages 20 and 24 years, and a 50% decrease in birth rate and a 60% decrease in abortion for women between 16 and 19.
Sadly, such successes do not satisfy those whose “religious beliefs” prohibit birth control and abortion. Yet, there appear to be no religious scriptures stating that “life begins at conception,” or prohibiting abortion or birth control. Christian scriptures repeatedly associate the beginning of life with the act of breathing. The teachings of Christ revolve around love, helping others, and reciprocity (“the golden rule”) - not cynically judging and publicly condemning other people’s reproductive tragedies. Similarly, no religion or religious scripture advocates corrupting governments or passing laws that regulate citizen’s sex lives, or forcing others to comply with sexual or religious mandates. This suggests that those holding “religious beliefs” prohibiting birth control and abortion are followers of a new anti-birth control anti-abortion religion that has basically nothing to do with any existing religion – especially Christianity.
The First Amendment and United States Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, and the Fourth Amendment guarantees security in our persons. How can we exercise our freedom of religion if we are forced to comply with the rigid, often-harsh dogma of the anti-birth control anti-abortion religion and yield to often apparently deeply cynical and immoral manipulations of the American judiciary? How can we assert the freedom to control our own bodies if the anti-birth control anti-abortion religion imprisons women for having “miscarriages,” sanctions physicians for providing lifesaving medical care, grants openly dishonest politicians the rancher-like power to monitor and control our reproductive processes under penalty of law, and gives rapists the government-enforced power to basically enslave any woman they choose for life by impregnating them?
Today’s struggle for religious freedom revolves around whether followers of an obscure, but obsessive religion have the “religious freedom” to revoke everyone else’s human right to control our own bodies and sex lives in privacy, as well as our civil right to exercise our personal religious beliefs without being forced to submit to government/religious sexual oversight, regulation, and punishment under penalty of law. Someday, determined, well funded, and apparently deeply immoral adherents of an aggressive, intrusive, and voyeuristic religion dedicated to forced societal compliance with apparently basically made up sexual mandates not found in a single religious text will be no longer be able to threaten our freedoms and rights with deceitful, hypocritical, unethical, and often violent tactics. Until then, whether you seek medical care, birth control, or to make a donation, when you visit your local "bunker-like" women’s clinic, adherents of the anti-birth control anti-abortion religion and their politician cohorts will take the “religious freedom” to apparently routinely threaten your personal safety, violate your sexual privacy, and attack our religious freedom by deliberately corrupting America’s courts.