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March 23, 2012

Yes, Virginia, There is a War on Women

Joe Charlebois

Those denying that there is currently a “War on Women” have their proverbial heads firmly placed in Arabian Desert sand. It’s a significant issue, just not here in America.


The recent demagogic blather that has come from so-called women’s groups and female leaders of Congress belittles the efforts from human rights groups from around the world that are facing the real “War on Women.”


The Department of Health and Human Services and their campaign against religious organizations to include coverage for treatments and prescriptions that violate the moral conscience of those same organizations in their healthcare plans is not a war on women. If anything, that is a “War on Religion.”


There are no laws now or in the future that will curtail access to any contraceptives, sterilization procedures or abortifacients. Even the most socially conservative presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, wouldn’t look to limit access to these options.


Put simply, women are not being denied treatment in the United States and they won’t be.


But what is most distressing is the practice of moral relativism which is used as a political hammer by the left including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In recent statements Mrs. Clinton makes no distinction between extremists butchering women in repressive countries and the Catholic Church, or other religious organizations in the United States that find it morally reprehensible to pay for contraceptives and abortifacients in their health plans.


Using “war” rhetoric in regards to whom will pay for contraceptives, sterilizations and abortifacients trivializes the atrocities that women are subject to in places like Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Syria, Morocco and China.


Women in these countries are subject to rape and torture, mutilation and sterilization. Astonishingly, recent reports show that some women who are victims of rape have been forced to marry their rapist! Why? To save the family’s honor, of course.


According to the World Health Organization more than 140 million women have been subjected to female genital mutilation as a way for the male in the culture to hold power over the female by removing sexual organs.


Women in Malawi were attacked by street vendors earlier this year for wearing mini-skirts and pants. They were stripped naked for daring to break from social norms.


In Pakistan and neighboring countries, it is not uncommon for women who won’t submit to their husband to be permanently disfigured with acid.


In Saudi Arabia, women rights are slow to come. Women, who used to be able to drive and allowed in public without full body covering, lost those rights in the 1970s. They are looking to current leadership to put in place reforms to loosen the rules against women. In fact the country which adheres to Sharia law continues to have public facilities strictly divided between men and women. Separate entrances and facilities exist for each sex. Legally women are considered little more than chattel. They are the property of their father, brother or husband.


Our country for all its foibles remains a bastion of freedom for all, women included. So, when the women’s rights groups proclaim how the United States shares the problems of gender inequities as those across the globe, I suggest they first look to see what real discrimination and subjugation are and work to minimize the plight of these women.


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