The deeply weird religious dogma behind that “reverse your abortion” law

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com

Paul-VI-poster1

Bob Robb did a column a few weeks ago where he criticized anti-choice SB1318 because it infringed on the liberty of doctors:

I’m generally pro-life and support most legislative restrictions on abortion. I don’t think exploring the limits of Roe v. Wade through litigation is a waste of time or resources.

Many of the Arizona restrictions struck down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals have been upheld in other jurisdictions. Arizona lawmakers shouldn’t be idle simply because Arizona is stuck with the most liberal federal appeals court in the land.

But the pro-life movement goes too far when it attempts through legislation to dictate what a doctor can tell a patient.

I mention Bob Robb because he’s viewed as one of the more sagacious and reasonable public conservatives in Arizona. Agree with him or not (and on most things, I don’t), Robb takes a thoughtful approach to his work that leads him to go against the prevailing conservative party line on rare occasions. By his own admission, he unquestioningly embraces a lot of right wing garbage where restricting abortion is concerned, because ladies not cheerfully submitting to incubator duty makes him sad (he has referred to abortion as “barbarism”), but this “you can reverse your abortion!” idiocy was too much even for him to tolerate. And yes, sadly, this is one of those times when Robb could be said to be bucking the right wing status quo in Arizona. The “abortion reversal” thing is just plain weird.

The folks at Arizona Capitol Times might have similar feelings because they’ve been giving some heavy scrutiny to this “abortion reversal” business. Reporter Gary Grado recently explained how it had its origins in a papal encyclical from Pope Paul VI and a loopy Nebraska doctor who was a huge fan:

The roots of the law can be traced back to a 1968 letter from Pope Paul VI and a Nebraska doctor who has said he views the obstetric and gynecological industry as a “culture of death.’’

The controversial papal encyclical, “Humanae Vitae,” affirms the church’s ban on contraception and abortion. The encyclical also set off a firestorm and was hailed and criticized by many, including bishops and Catholic theologians.

It stated that artificial birth control will lead to more marital infidelity and general lowering of moral standards, and cause a man to reduce a woman “to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.”

The encyclical inspired Dr. Thomas Hilgers to open a clinic in Omaha devoted to the practice of reproductive medicine in line with Catholic teaching. That is where all of the doctors who participated in the case studies involving the practice of abortion reversal trained on a method of gynecological care that rejects the use of the birth control pill and in vitro fertilization.

The encyclical, in fact, calls on doctors and scientists to practice in accordance with their faith.

I am fully convinced that people pushing nonsense similar to this would not ever have been allowed to infiltrate the care of, say, heart patients (or any other group that includes straight white men) for going on five decades. But this crap gets a free pass and institutional support in women’s reproductive health care largely on the basis of many people (Bob Robb among them) being angst-ridden over too much female autonomy.

Look everyone, seriously, your gut feelings about how women should behave are simply not a sound basis for public health laws and policies. When you center it on that it opens the door for every quack, charlatan, and holy-roller in the world to enter into those realms and do real harm.

One response to “The deeply weird religious dogma behind that “reverse your abortion” law

  1. Frances Perkins

    I propose legislation that would force EVERY woman in America to have at least two children before age 30, enforced by government reproduction police. In fact the “pro reproduction police”, ( I refuse to call them pro-life) bunch really reduces all women to “uterus is destiny” since they obviously have no other function, my first line statement should be passed immediately.