has been much public hand-wringing over, "women's health v.
religious freedom", in the last few weeks, as pretty much everyone
the extreme right wing of the Republican Party has tried to wrap
their collective brains around why the GOP seems so hell-bent on
self-destructing over a seemingly settled issue like women's rights.
Instead, it's been one incongruous visual after another of Right Wing
religious men attempting to interject themselves into the most
intimate areas of women's lives. And Rush.
You can see the stunned amazement on the faces of women under 40, wondering how professional male politicians, whether in their state legislature or Congress, could think for even a single moment that they could possibly have the right to tell women whether or not they should be able to get birth control? Or, yes, even have the right to tell them whether or not they can get an abortion?
It's preposterous on it's face that there is an actual, concerted effort to roll back woman's rights, and not just to a pre-Roe v. Wade era, but all the way back to before the 1965 Supreme Court ruling that established that it was none of the state's business to tell women whether or not they could use birth control, Griswold v. Connecticut. It can't be true, it's too nuts. Why are they doing it?
In order to understand the answer, it is essential to understand the vast gulf in world views that exists between the extremists on the very far right of the GOP, and... everyone else. And it all comes down to Biblical literalism.
A vast majority of Americans consider themselves as having come from a Judea-Christian background, with most self-identifying as Christian. But, while only around 28% of Americans identify as Evangelicals, even fewer than that are actually true Biblical literalists, i.e., those who believe every word of the Bible as if it were factually documented history.
What the rest of us have failed to truly comprehend is that these are people who accept as fact that there is only one reason why we have death in this world, and that's because a Stone Age woman had a conversation with a reptile, and then that woman ate a piece of fruit. That's why we all suffer death. More importantly for the issues at hand, that is also why women having babies are supposed to "suffer in childbirth".
And it's not just a mere suggestion that women should suffer, either; it's an actual edict from God. Women are supposed to suffer in childbirth and be under the dominion of men. As punishment for that whole reptile/fruit thing. God said so. If you accept the Bible literally, you accept the subjugation of women as coming directly from God.
In the 19 th century, when ether was first introduced as an anesthetic for labor pains, the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke out against the practice, because it, "robbed God of the deep, earnest cries of women in labor."
Women don't get to just say, "No thanks, I'll make my own choice.", for these folks. Eve blew that one for all of us. This means that, for some, any birth control is cheating God of the satisfaction of seeing women accept the punishment He meted out.
That sin of Eve's, by the way, has no expiration date on it. The earthly payback that God demands from all women for that one woman's sin lasts...forever...or until Jesus comes back.
It's essential to understand that this rationale for the punitive subjugation of women really is an essential bedrock of the extreme Right's belief system, and it necessarily infects every subsequent expression of that mindset. For the rest of us, this is where the cognitive disconnect kicks in.
It rarely occurs to those outside the realm of the Biblical literalists that anyone still really believes that all women are responsible for all death in the world, and that all women must still pay for Eve, or, maybe more importantly, that we're all Eve at heart - easily tempted and not to be trusted, because, like Eve, we're weak.