Tag Archives: abortion

In Sheep’s Clothing: Using Religion to Camouflage Pain

Occasionally, a newspaper report comes out that is so horrifying, so disruptive of inner peace, that it demands re-posting. The front-page New York Times report today on the sexual enslavement of women and girls by the group calling themselves ISIS is one such journalistic event.

Here is the link. Please read it all, even if you have to take breaks in between paragraphs.

Note that the men in this so-called holy group are equal opportunity torturers (yes, rape is torture). As this 2014 Wall Street Journal report shows, they rape and mutilate (FGM is mutilation) at will.

It is the creation of rape and enslavement as a business supposedly underpinned by God that is detailed in the Times report. A few quotes for those who haven’t the stomach to read the whole article:

–“In the moments before he raped the 12-year-old girl, the Islamic State fighter took the time to explain that what he was about to do was not a sin. Because the preteen girl practiced a religion other than Islam, the Quran not only gave him the right to rape her — it condoned and encouraged it, he insisted.

“He bound her hands and gagged her. Then he knelt beside the bed and prostrated himself in prayer before getting on top of her.

“When it was over, he knelt to pray again, bookending the rape with acts of religious devotion.

“’I kept telling him it hurts — please stop,’” said the girl, whose body is so small an adult could circle her waist with two hands. “’He told me that according to Islam he is allowed to rape an unbeliever. He said that by raping me, he is drawing closer to God,’” she said in an interview alongside her family in a refugee camp here, to which she escaped after 11 months of captivity.

–“ A growing body of internal policy memos and theological discussions has established guidelines for slavery, including a lengthy how-to manual issued by the Islamic State Research and Fatwa Department just last month. Repeatedly, the ISIS leadership has emphasized a narrow and selective reading of the Quran and other religious rulings to not only justify violence, but also to elevate and celebrate each sexual assault as spiritually beneficial, even virtuous.”

–“[The girls and women] would be held in confinement, some for days, some for months. Then, inevitably, they were loaded into the same fleet of buses again before being sent in smaller groups to Syria or to other locations inside Iraq, where they were bought and sold for sex.

“It was 100 percent preplanned,” said Khider Domle, a Yazidi community activist who maintains a detailed database of the victims. “I spoke by telephone to the first family who arrived at the Directory of Youth in Mosul, and the hall was already prepared for them. They had mattresses, plates and utensils, food and water for hundreds of people.”

— “In a pamphlet published online in December, the Research and Fatwa Department of the Islamic State detailed best practices, including explaining that slaves belong to the estate of the fighter who bought them and therefore can be willed to another man and disposed of just like any other property after his death.

“Recent escapees describe an intricate bureaucracy surrounding their captivity, with their status as a slave registered in a contract. When their owner would sell them to another buyer, a new contract would be drafted, like transferring a property deed.”

— [From the verified account of a woman also kidnapped and raped]: “’He destroyed her body. She was badly infected. The fighter kept coming and asking me, ‘Why does she smell so bad?’ And I said, she has an infection on the inside, you need to take care of her,’” the woman said.

“Unmoved, he ignored the girl’s agony, continuing the ritual of praying before and after raping the child.

“I said to him, ‘She’s just a little girl,’” the older woman recalled. “And he answered: ‘No. She’s not a little girl. She’s a slave. And she knows exactly how to have sex. And having sex with her pleases God.’”

Regardless of our own political affiliation, regardless of our own gender, our own history or religion, surely we can see what these men are. They’re Nazis, dressed up in robes. They use religion as Hitler and Goebbels used political division and the power to destroy. They’re wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing, bleating how they’re doing the will of God, purifying the race, blah blah blah, whatever is the slogan du jour.

It’s not enough to tear off the sheepskins they hide under.

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Too Little. Much Too Late.

 

The Chinese government has recently eased some of its decades old one-child restrictions. Now, if one or both spouses in a marriage grew up as an only child, they may be permitted to have a second baby.

 

The new law is intended to address the widespread abortion of female fetuses in a society that favors male babies so highly that a doctor has been arrested for trafficking newborn boys. (After telling the shocked new parents that their children were too ill to survive, or that they were born with congenital conditions unacceptable to most Chinese families, and promising to get rid of the infants’ bodies, the doctor then sold the little boys on to wealthy parents hundreds of miles away. Only the tenacity of one set of deceived parents discovered her crime.)

 

It’s a nice thought, preventing femicide in the womb by allowing parents two children.

 

The thing is, it won’t work.

 

The proof lies to the southwest. In India.

 

India has no one-child policy. In rural areas, families tend to be large, although girls are still likely to have less food and less care, especially if they have a twin brother. Even though bridal dowry is technically illegal, once girls enter adolescence the payment of dowries occupies the thoughts and finances of many beleaguered families.

 

Better, the thinking goes, to eliminate the need for dowries by aborting female fetuses.

 

The Indian middle and upper classes – for whom dowry may not be a concern at all, if they are modernized, Westernized, or simply law-abiding – are already doing this. Among those couples, the ideal family has shrunk from “as many as God wills” through “as many as we have to have in order to get a boy” (making him the youngest child in more than a few families) to its current two children. Both male.

 

Coincidence? Hardly. Male babies are just as favored in India as in China. Pregnant women are under almost as much pressure there to produce boys. They have the same access as Chinese women to ultrasounds and blood tests to reveal the baby’s sex, and even though abortion for sex-selection purposes is against Indian law, that law is ignored.

 

Thus, even though Indian women of childbearing age are allowed to have as many children as they and their husbands wish, the de facto result of tradition plus technology plus law-breaking is often a pair of sons.

 

So, China. You think you can counter your extraordinary problem of skewed female-male birth rates by permitting certain couples to have more than one child, in the face of family pressure and technology? Sorry. It will not be that easy.

 

You will need to criminalize the abortion of female fetuses, offer extra bonuses to parents of newborn daughters (including ring-fenced admissions to universities), and by a combination of social media and education foster a wave of little girls to counter the current dearth.

 

You must also make harming them – by murder, rape, kidnapping, assault – a capital crime . . . which would carry the side benefit of eliminating some serial pain creators, mostly male.

 

Not that this will prevent the gangs and violence that a mostly-male cohort of adolescent and 20-somethings inevitably produces. But bringing your skewed sex ratio back to birth-normal (100 girls to 106 boys) will have knock-on beneficial effects.

 

Start today. There’s no time to waste.

 

 

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Really, Chile?

Sebastian Pinera, making life-and-death decisions one 11-year-old at a time.

 

If a child is too young to adequately consent to sex, with all its emotional and physical ramifications, then surely she is too young to make life-or-death decisions, right?

 

Not in Chile.

 

An 11-year-old girl repeatedly raped and impregnated by her stepfather has been praised by Sebastián Piñera,  the nation’s president, for her “mature” decision not to seek an abortion. (Note that this scenario occurs all over the world. A recent case in China involved an abused 12-year-old.)

 

Now, leaving aside questions of what abortion options would be available to this young girl in Chile (few), the amount of pressure a Catholic country’s therapists and families might place on a vulnerable child (huge), and the fact that the girl’s mother is obviously not the person who should be raising her (the mother initially called the rapes “consensual”), how is a child whose frontal lobe is still under construction to be regarded as mature enough to decide to continue a process that can easily kill her?

 

Two things: first, the age of menarche — a girl’s first menses — has been dropping since 1840, as has boys’ sexual maturity since 1750, even though mentally and emotionally they are still children; and, second, the brain research being carried out at the National Institute of Health (NIH) by Dr. Jay Giedd and by other researchers in other countries, clearly indicates that even in healthy humans, a child’s brain differs from an adolescent’s brain differs from an adult’s brain.

 

This 11-year-old is therefore two whole steps away from having an adult brain. She should not be asked to make an adult decision, since she does not yet possess the frontal lobe capacity to do so.

 

In addition, pregnancy and childbirth are risky. Even in wealthy nations with excellent healthcare and follow-up, grown women die during fetal growth and delivery. The US is hardly at the top of the list for maternal mortality (that’s where people die as a result of pregnancy or delivery, including within several days after a birth), but US statistics demonstrate that overall, maternal mortality is 8 per 100,000. In Chile, the figure is almost three times higher: 23 per 100,000. In both countries, that is an average. In certain geographical areas and among certain populations, death rates soar.

 

That is especially true of people who are pregnant before they reach age 20. Among teenagers, pregnancy is horribly dangerous. Imagine what the risk will be for an 11-year-old who can only picture a baby being like a doll to “take care of”.

 

Amnesty International asserts that this child must be provided with an abortion in order to save her life. While Chile stalls, an evasive scenario is likely to happen. Because the young girl’s body is immature, something is almost certain to go wrong with the pregnancy. At that point, doctors can intervene and decide to “deliver early” in order to keep the 11-year-old alive. Early enough, and the fetus will not survive.

 

That’s what you call prevarication. In a society where a raped child is praised for “maturity”, that’s what happens.

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Filed under Chile, Grooming, Jay Giedd, Menarche, Menstruation, Misogyny, NIH, Pregnancy, Rape, Sexual assault