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Yearly legislative torment in conservative states

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conservative states

We who live in conservative rural states suffer an annual nightmare as reactionary legislators try to wreck personal freedoms and sound science.

In the 2023 West Virginia session, which ended last weekend, the troglodytes tried to (1) force rape and incest victims to bear babies, (2) pass a “religious freedom” law to let Christians voice hate for gays, (3) force all public schools to display “In God We Trust,” (4) forbid doctors to treat transgender youths for their condition, (5) let schools teach “intelligent design” to counteract evolution, (6) give tax money to church-backed anti-abortion clinics and (7) let college students carry pistols on campus.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail Statehouse correspondent Phil Kabler has written:

“Our legislators act like they are hell-bent on turning West Virginia into a fundamentalist Christian theocracy.

“Last summer, soon after Roe v. Wade was overturned, legislators enacted a near-total ban on abortion, not based on the findings of medical science, not because a majority of West Virginians demanded the ban, but because of a fundamentalist Christian belief that abortion is sinful.

“Many legislators sought a total ban on abortion, eliminating exceptions for rape and incest, which would have effectively required crime victims to carry unwanted pregnancies to term. Indeed, a bill this session to eliminate those exceptions had 13 co-sponsors in the Senate.”

When the session closed at midnight Saturday, it turned out that the doctor-stifling, pistol-carrying, “religious freedom” and gay-hating bills passed, while the others mostly got lost in the last-minute stampede on the final day.

I have a couple of thoughts about pregnancy termination and the national motto that was imposed on us in the McCarthyite 1950s, “In God We Trust.”

First, nature (or God, if you think he’s real) kills far more “unborn babies” than desperate women do. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that 620,000 American women and girls terminate pregnancies yearly — but spontaneous abortion wipes out around twice as many, according to a 2018 estimate by University of California researchers. Other studies estimate that one-fourth of all pregnancies abort naturally, usually because of chromosome defects in the fetus. Why are fundamentalists silent about the millions killed by their supposed God?

Second, as for the motto, it can be a crime to trust God. When zealot parents pray over a sick child, refusing medical care, and the child dies, the parents often are prosecuted for negligent homicide.

Returning to my state, for now we can breathe again — until the next legislative session brings us new affronts.

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