womb control

A couple of days ago, I commented that fundamentalist Christians – they of the anti-abortion, “pro-life” movement – don’t really give a damn about babies. It is obvious that they don’t much care for children after they are born either. Now they are cheering the impending passage of an executive order that would strip an untold number of American women of their reproductive rights in the guise of “conscience rights”. But don’t be fooled: fundamentalist Christians have been waging a culture war since the inception of their heresy in the late 19th century, and babies – unborn or otherwise – are merely a prop in it.

The United States is the wealthiest country in the world. The US spends more than any other country on health care. Yet, according to the results of a 2007 study by Save the Children, the US ranks 36th in terms of infant mortality. That is behind virtually all of “socialist” Western Europe (including the European Union as a whole), and even Cuba.

It is revealing that, the last time this study was conducted in 1997, the US ranked 28th. In other words, since the “pro-life” George W. Bush came to power, the US has actually declined in this ranking! But that should not surprise us.

Looking at the United States itself, we see another revealing trend. Of the 15 states with the worst infant mortality rates, twelve of them are located in the so-called “Bible Belt” – i.e., those states with the highest percentage of fundamentalist Christians. For the record, the District of Columbia is unranked, since it is not a state; however, DC has the highest rate of infant mortality in the country. Still, is having eleven states in the top 15 any better than having twelve?

Well, not really. Of those states that voted for the “pro-life” John McCain in the 2008 presidential election, eleven of them – you guessed it – are among those 15 with the worst infant mortality rates. Conversely, of the 15 states with the lowest infant mortality rates, eleven voted for the pro-choice Barack Obama. (Again, to be fair, DC voted for Obama, but has the worst infant mortality rate. Meanwhile, Utah has the best infant mortality rate in the country, but voted for McCain.)

Those exceptions don’t change the big picture, though. If fundamentalist Christians and Republicans really cared about the health of children, they would be working on improving the infant mortality rate in the United States as a whole and in those particular states where they have the most power.

This same hypocrisy is revealed by how the Republicans deal with evidence that pollution results in higher levels of infant mortality. This article from the Kalamazoo Gazette from April of this year details how Republican congressmen are blocked the release of just such a report. If the health of the “unborn” were so important to them as they claim, they would have taken this report and run with it, whether the study was complete or not. After all, a lack of evidence did not stop them from doing that very thing with the false hypothesis of “post-abortion syndrome”, even though no legitimate study has shown a link between having an abortion and experiencing depression afterwards.

We all remember the debacle of S-CHIP, in which Bush vetoed a bill expanding health care to underprivileged children for the most dubious of political reasons. They spare no time in providing tax cuts to the wealthy, but the health of children who cannot afford treatment in America’s broken medical system means nothing to them. It is that which captures the true meaning of children to this inhuman mob.

Children – babies – are unwilling pawns in the right-wing’s quest to roll back the clock on women’s rights. They do not want to “save babies”, but control wombs. They remember when women were solely the possessions of men, and they will not stop until they have regained their tarnished golden age.