Friday, February 29, 2008

Conservative Religious Culture of Death



By Rachel and Karen

Edited by BibleBelted and Donatra



In his wonderful article, "Pro-Death Conservatives Are Responsible for High Abortion Rates," George Manbiot openly places the blame for high abortion rates on the Catholic Church as well as other conservative religions which ban contraception and which seek to reduce women to the positions of second class citizens. 


According to Manbiot as societies modernize their medical practices, as they gain a better grasp on medical technology, there is a brief period when both, abortion and the use of contraception rise together. But a study in Family Planing Persectives reveals that once birth rates stabilize, the use of contraception will contiue to increase while the abortion rate falls.  In other words there is a direct relationship between the use of contraception and falling abortion rates.  Once 80 percent of the population is using contraception the incidents of abortion drop off dramatically. As the modernizing society advances medically the need for abortion steadily decreases with the increase in contraception; and yet for some bizzare reason or reasons, the male leaders of conservative religion--most notably those in the Catholic Church--cling tightly to their preconceived fantasies about contraception, insisting that both contraception and abortion a culture of death, when in fact it is male-dominated conservative religion which is producing a culture of death.


As proof Mister Manbiot offers the following evidence.


In a Lancet study conducted from 1995 to 2003, results indicated a global decrease in the numer of abortions, dropping from 35 per 1,000 women each year to 29 per 1,000 women.  Coincidentally, this period of decrease coincides with what Pope Benedict XVI calls "globalized secular culture."  But the fact that a more secularized culture produces fewer abortions has clearly gone over the aging Pontiff's head.  Moreover , the highest abortion rates can be found in the most conservative and religious areas of the world.  In secular Western Europe the abortion rate stands at 12 per 1,000, although there has been a slight increase because of the immigration of people from areas in the world where contraception is not well understood.   In southern Europe, which tends to be more religious and more conservative, the abortion rate stands at 23 per 1,000 women.  In Central America the figure stands at 25 per 1,000 women; in South America the figure stands at 33 abortions per 1,000 women, while in Eastern Africa the figure stands at 39 abortions per 1,000 women.   A truly interesting case is the former Soviet Union which in 2003, had an abortion rate of 44 per 1,000 women.  Under Communism contraception was strictly forbidden, virtually impossible to obtain.   But as bad as 44 abortions per 1,000 women may sound, the figure had been twice as high in 1995, decreasing as more information about contraception fed into the post Communist society.   


Sadly, half of the abortions performed in the world are performed under unsafe and illegal circumstaces.  In East Africa and Latin America they account for nearly ALL of the abortions;  and according to the World Health Organization between 65,000 and 70,000 women who receive said illegal abortions actually die.  Another five million suffer severe complications such as disease, physical injury, and sterility, ad nauseam.


 Another area of contention has been sex education.  The typical right wing jargon tells us that if you teach young people about their bodies that they're going to become rampant sex machines.  Well, I have news for the right wingers.  Adolescence is a time of physical and hormonal change, and thanks to our various nutritional programs in public schools and elsewhere, puberty, adolescence, has been arriving at younger and younger ages.  The idea that we can allow children to go uneducated about the operations of their own bodies and what is happening to them borders on the politically insane.  lAnd yet we allow the right wingers to draw false correlations between sex education and every social problem out there, ranging from teenage pregnancy to venereal disease, to the AIDS epidemic.  But once again the facts don't hold up, especially in the area of teenage pregnancy.  According to the article by Mister Manbiot, the British Medical Journal studied four programs which were designed to promote celibacy.  The results were interesting in that they associated the four programs with increases in teen pregnancy.  Is it a coincidence that both, the United Kingdom, and the United States with their disproportionate reliance on celibacy only programs both have high rates of teenage pregnancy?  Probably not.


 It seems to me that there are other reasons, beyond faith and morality, for wanting to limit a woman's right to safe, legal contraception.  In many ways conservative policies on contraception are throw backs to the ancient Middle East when various tribes and empires viewed every pregnancy as a potential soldier to help protect and expand a given empire.  Under situations such as those women were seen as little more than breeders. The right wing religious leaders may not be trying to protect an empire but they are engaged in a cultural war, and that means that they still need women to serve as breeders to keep the churches full.  And, I might add, the collection plate.  Beyond that one can't help but wonder if this isn't a risky birth scheme devised by right wing religious leaders to guarantee their power bass for generations to come.  That's what it's all about isn't it?  Outpopulating people of other faiths so as to impose some kind of right wing theocracy.  Right?  So what if  few women die in back alley slaughter houses.  So what if a few women puncture their uteruses with coat hangers and bleed to death?  So what if an illegal abortion leaves a woman sterile?  It seems to me that the real problem here is that we have a maladjusted clique of spoiled little boys in mens bodies who never grew up and who never learned how to respect women.  Indeed, the degree to which these immature little brats would deny women full personhood is indicative as to the levels of hatred and immaturity with which we are dealing.   
















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