Women's Rights: What Rights?
The authorities have removed 52 girls from a community of followers of polygamist Mormon Warren Jeffs, Raw Story reports.
According to The Houston Chronicle, social workers spent Thursday night and Friday questioning people living at the complex and determined that 18 of the girls had been abused or were at immediate risk of future abuse.No surprise there. The Mormons seem to regard women as little more than ambulatory uteri whose primary function is to "multiply and replenish the earth and raise children in the priesthood," as Jeffs instructed a 14-year-old child he forcibly married to a man she didn't want for a husband.
Utah has high rates of child sexual abuse. In Jeffs' polygamous sect, in order to ensure a plentiful supply of nubile young brides for the older powerful men, boys of the community are routinely expelled. According to this Boston Globe article, they are sometimes given as little as two hours' notice, then driven to some other town and left on the side of the road, like abandoned pets.
As for the girls, they are routinely forced into marriages with men much older as soon as they are capable of breeding. After all, if a man must have three wives to enter the kingdom of heaven, he can't have competition in the form of young boys around. Nor does he want educated, financially independent (read: older) women. Few educated independent women would agree to be a member of a polygamous household in which their primary value was their breeding ability. The more education a woman has, the fewer pregnancies she seems to want, judging from the differences in reproductive statistics between educated and uneducated women. Thus, it's best to seize little girls, children, really, who are not old enough to defend themselves or understand their options. Isolate them, treat them like chattel, award them to those whose support you need.
It's interesting that none of these old farts ever seems to want to be polygamously united to older women. Interesting, also, that they appear to be committing statutory rape with no consequences. Hopefully the girls removed from the Jeffs compound will be guaranteed their right to an education and freedom of choice in their partner, assuming they ever want to be partnered after what they've been through.
As for those troglodytes who beat their breasts and wail about how we had to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq to protect all those poor women from the dreadful Islamocommiefundie Moose-lumps — see the beam in your own damn eye before you run off looking for a mote in someone else's, mate.
In other news from the 12th century, Chile's Constitutional Court (no doubt composed of elderly men) has decided to ban the morning-after pill.
The court voted 5-4 to effectively ban the distribution of the pill by the government's health services, according to a court communique, after a request by 31 congressmen who claimed the emergency contraceptive constitutes abortion.These legislators and justices should be forced to financially support every single child that results from lack of access to contraception. Because what this ruling essentially means is that only poor women will be forced to bear unwanted children. The callous indifference to these sad, already overburdened lives is infuriating.
The government program, started by President Michelle Bachelet, a pediatrician and the country's first woman chief executive, had been the subject of heated legal battle.
It was approved by the Supreme Court in February. But congressmen backed by conservative groups took the case to the Constitutional Court. Friday's ruling, which was leaked to the media while still being written, cannot be appealed.
Rich and middle-class women and girls who are victims of rape, incest, or contraceptive failure will purchase their pills without a problem. Poor women and girls, who are much likelier to be victims of rape, incest, and contraceptive failure or lack of access to contraception altogether, will not be able to afford the pills. So they will have babies that they cannot afford to feed. They will abandon these babies, or give them up to overstrained orphanages. These babies will, at the very least, be victims of benign neglect, and at the very worst will cycle through into lives of grinding poverty and early pregnancy and the whole sick mess will start all over again.
And people wonder why we are cynical cranky curmudgeons, on our bad days. Mood: Nasty.
Graphic borrowed from Watertiger
Yeah. Ouch. Stumble It!