FFRF: Religion takes toll on women this week

Women are virtual gender prisoners in Afghanistan. The Taliban announced Tuesday that all beauty salons in Afghanistan must close. Beauty salons were a last sanctuary for Afghan women, also employing more than 60,000. Women are barred from education after grade school, from public places such as parks and gyms, from working for international aid organizations and now from most forms of employment. They must dress so that only their eyes are revealed and must be accompanied by a male relative if they are traveling more than 48 miles. They are gender prisoners.

The Iranian Islamic Republic doubles down on dress codes. Amnesty International reports that Iran authorities have intensified a crackdown on women violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress codes. The death of Mahsa Amini, only 22, last September, sparked months of street protests — with many women defying the rules that they must cover their heads. At least 500 protesters have been killed and nearly 20,000 detained. But for a time, Iranian officials had stopped the morality police patrols.

Now they’re doubling down on car and foot patrols to enforce compulsory veiling. Reportedly, more than a million women have received warnings that their vehicles will be confiscated if they travel in a car while unveiled. Hundreds of businesses have been shut down for failing to enforce compulsory veiling laws and women have been denied access to schools, banks and public transportation. They are increasingly gender prisoners.

Anti-abortion ‘compassion’ leaves something to be desired. Here in the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s home state of Wisconsin, the GOP leadership has refused to repeal an 1849 law being invoked to ban abortion care even in cases of rape or incest. Now two state legislators’ idea of compassion is to introduce a bill saying people who become pregnant by sexual assault and give birth may go after rapists for child support!

“This bill is about holding people accountable for their actions. It’s a pro-life bill,” says sponsor Sen. Cory Tomcyzk. Under state law, rape survivors who become pregnant may not obtain abortion care. So he wants them to carry that unwanted pregnancy to term, then sue the assailant to pay child support for 18 years. What survivor of sexual violence would want to confront that assailant for child support, and be tied to that angry and resentful rapist for the rest of her life? Not only that, she’d have to prove he raped her and the pregnancy was the result of that rape. In that case, why isn’t that rapist in prison where he belongs, (and where he presumably would not be able to pay child support)? So much for being “pro-life.”

By the way, this 1849 “ban” is not truly a ban, according to a recent court ruling. Unfortunately the clinics remain closed as a challenge wends its way to a hopefully successful conclusion before the Wisconsin State Supreme Court. Meanwhile, thousands in Wisconsin who find themselves with unwanted pregnancies must procure not only funds for an abortion, but arrange time and transportation to travel out of state. This, too, is a form of gender imprisonment.

Remembering Sinead O’Connor’s protest. O’Connor, 56, who died this week, was horrifically vilified back in 1992 when she appeared on “Saturday Night Live” and ripped up a photo of Pope John Paul II to protest institutional abuse in the Roman Catholic Church. As she tore up that photo, she said: “Fight the real enemy.” She had been sent to a latter-day Magdalene Laundry at age 14 for two years and saw how babies were taken from unmarried women and how they were sexually abused. Although this rebel later, inexplicably, said she’d converted to Islam, of all things, in her recent memoir she stood by her action and statement. Well done, Sinead O’Connor.

Women must “fight the real enemy” — and that enemy is patriarchal religion and its control of our government.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with over 40,000 members across the country. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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