Questionable Motives

August 1, 2010

Can you imagine what law based on catholic dogma might look like in action?

Oh, wait. We don’t have to imagine. We have Guanajuato! The catholic church must be so pleased.

From with bold added:

Six women in the conservative Mexican state of Guanajuato have been sentenced to 25 to 30 years prison time for the crime of making decisions about their own bodies.

Actually, that’s not completely accurate: one woman’s crime was having a body that made the decision for her.

Ms. Magazine reports that the six women were tried and sentence for homicide under laws criminalizing abortion. Activists working with the women reports that all six defendants were poor and had little education. Two were impregnated by rape, and all were abandoned by the sperm-providers. One had a spontaneous abortion, a.k.a. a miscarriage.

Is this not exactly what we would expect to find with catholic dogma about sex ed, contraception, and abortion at work in the legal system?

Guanajuanto can brag about sporting the country’s harshest penalties for abortion, which is only legal in Mexico City, and even rape survivors can face 25 to 30 years in prison.

Guanajuato can also brag about having the country’s highest teen pregnancy rate, which might be related to the utter refusal to teach sex education in schools in the area. The mayor even tried to ban passionate kissing in public, and duly became a laughingstock.

It was also the only state to fail to enact legislation against gender violence, such as rape, despite the fact that this had been required on the federal level. The excuse for not instating such a law? Well, because violence against women in Guanajuanto doesn’t exist, so it’s just silly to have legislation against it. I guess they said as much to the women who decided to abort the pregnancy caused by their rapist.

After all, why attempt to prevent unwanted pregnancy by teaching youth about sex and birth control or instituting legal protections for women against rape when you can simply throw vulnerable women in jail for ending a pregnancy that they didn’t want and were unprepared to provide for.

Why not attempt to prevent this unfolding tragedy? Because it goes against being a good little catholic, silly, and would interfere with what is much more important than criminalizing some women: what is much more important is to institutionalize the catholic church’s misogynistic teachings, of course. Yes, the church can be very proud of this progeny of turning women into incubators for rapists or murderers. Well done, Mother Church.

Can we feel that burning christian love yet? It’s a different kind of burn…


  1. Viva Mexico! I welcome the illegal immigrants to help explain to the enlightened citizens of our country about the abortion being murder. With all of the preventive measures available for promiscuos copulation, why is abortion the sacred religion of liberals? I don’t pretend abortion can be banned, since it will be done illegaly or out of country for the wealthy. However, do we really need to have millions of abortions? Really? We have had 3 million rapists impregnate helpless victims? Or did we have 3 million lazy lusty sex crazed with no willpower? Why do I have to pay for abortions? Why don’t we pay for churches then? Abortion is the new religion, and if you dare protest, then you want to kill women? Why don’t we have church to worship women, and promote unabated public copulation with abortion clinics next to these churches?

    Comment by hoboduke — August 1, 2010 @ 10:31 am | Reply

  2. So you think your sentimental grievances justifies the sentences of homicide under which these women must suffer this very minute?

    Comment by tildeb — August 1, 2010 @ 11:30 am | Reply

  3. If the Mexicans are Christian kind hearted people, then their laws must reflect their morality to include compassion. However, the hysteria and torch lit mob mentality of assaulting another country’s legal system is not our job. Our job is help our citizens. Exporting our morality and pet projects of changing the world as we see fit, is not our right or power. Did it enter your analysis, that we don’t run Mexico? Seems patronizing, and imperial.

    Comment by hoboduke — August 1, 2010 @ 12:32 pm | Reply

    • Criticizing is now an ‘assault’ is it? And presumably, such criticism must be fueled by a hysterical torchlit mob mentality. All this without a single reference to the post itself. Remarkable if misguided hyperbole.

      Since when was calling for respect of human rights patronizing and imperial? Since when was criticizing its abuses hysterical? In other words, according to hoboduke, everyone should just shut the fuck up if it happens outside one’s national borders.

      So tell me, when a government abuses the human rights of its citizens and takes away the ability for these people to speak out at the injustice – real people, real individuals – you think the rest of us who speak up on behalf of these women should just shut the fuck up because they are Mexican. Very principled, I see. Aren’t you the champion of nationalism… willing to allow other people to sacrifice their human rights on your chosen alter. Bully for you.

      Comment by tildeb — August 1, 2010 @ 1:14 pm | Reply

  4. Perhaps we should invite the Mexicans to lecture us on how we should be handling our business? Don’t get the point of meddling with another country to impose our priorities? How about insisting Haiti stop voodoo worship sacrifice of animals? How about insisting that Germany stop smoking everywhere, and allowing dogs into their restaurants? How about insisting Muslim stop forcing women to wear their tradtional garb as it medieval? Gee so many causes, and so little time.

    Comment by hoboduke — August 1, 2010 @ 2:17 pm | Reply

  5. If we abuse human rights, then we should not care who ‘lectures’ us on why it’s detestable and counterproductive. I think it is terrible advice you have given to respect a border more than human rights, meaning you think that criticism should stop at national boundaries. I think ‘we’ (meaning all of us) need to speak up on behalf of everyone’s human rights regardless of our nationalities.

    What’s the burr under your saddle about immigration? You know your country’s founded on it, right? Too bad the voters haven’t the wherewithall to support good policy but seem to support the notion that all the ills of bad immigration policies can be solved at least in part by building a really big fence. Good luck with that.

    Comment by tildeb — August 1, 2010 @ 10:52 pm | Reply

  6. “However, do we really need to have millions of abortions? Really?”

    The BEST contraception on a social scale is education – if men and women are privileged with education they are less likely to make mistakes which affect all aspects of the health. Perhaps one of the reasons there are millions of abortions is something to do with misrepresentation of sex education by the religious classes.

    “Or did we have 3 million lazy lusty sex crazed with no willpower?”

    What an interesting and enlightening point of view – I bet you win hearts and minds with that torrent of rubbish. People have sex get over it, and if they are uneducated they take risks that they do not even know they are taking! This is why well thoughout societies have a wealth-fair state, and education system, because in the long run it costs less in money and human suffering.

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — August 2, 2010 @ 2:52 pm | Reply

  7. People have sex get over it, and if they are uneducated they take risks that they do not even know they are taking!(Rant)

    Actually, when kids typically have sex their brain doesnt help all that much. Science shows that the part that deals with Risk and Consequence doesnt fully develop until early to mid twenties. I think stronger parenting and social structure would be a much better form of contraception than just giving them the “right” information on contraception. You know though, we could tell them God may shrink their willy if they have sex too soon. 😉

    Comment by Titfortat — August 2, 2010 @ 4:35 pm | Reply

    • Science shows that the part that deals with Risk and Consequence doesn’t fully develop until early to mid twenties

      This is a strange notion. I was just listening to Elizabeth Phelps (neuropsychologist) explain about how we have a tendency to talk about brain bits as if it were bundled up into a whole from discrete parts with specific functions and how poor a description that really is considering what is actually going on in the brain.

      Risk taking behaviour, for example, is quite relative to mood, and although certain areas of the brain tend to have more activity during certain behaviours does not mean that is where the behaviour originates. I think, titfortat, you may have fallen prey to this old fashioned notion.

      Sex is all about the brain. I can show metastudies that reveal a very strong correlation between the greater the sex ed curriculum (over time and in depth), the lower the rates of all kinds of negative results (teen pregnancies, STDs, promiscuity, etc.). I can also show that the greater the availability to contraception, the stronger the correlates to a decrease in negative results.

      You mention the idea of ‘strong’ parenting and suggest that this may have a greater positive impact than what MUR is suggesting. But I can’t show these kinds of results from ‘strong’ compared to ‘weak’ parenting styles in child development studies. Can you? I would interested to read them. I also don’t know what you mean by social structure… presumably also ‘stronger’ or what that might look like.

      The word ‘stronger’ is very nebulous; are you suggesting stricter? There is good info that the stricter the parenting style, the higher the rate of adolescent delinquency. Is that what you mean?

      There is also good info that the more restrictive the parenting regarding peer-to-peer social interaction, the higher the rate of delinquency after the child leaves home. Is that what you mean?

      So many questions, so few answers.

      Comment by tildeb — August 2, 2010 @ 5:08 pm | Reply

      • So many studies, so little time to read and quote every scholar for you. Do a google search on brain development and risk behaviour in adolescents. I think you will find the evidence(doesnt mean the brain doesnt work, it just doesnt process it in the same way an adult does.). As far parenting goes, stronger does not necessarily mean stricter. It means more involvement(time), which is pretty difficult in certain cultures. I have read that the most common time in the day for teens to get pregnant is between 3-5 in the afternoon. Not sure if its accurate, but it does make you stop to ponder.
        I wonder how many educated women who have access to birth control methods have had abortions? Im not sure there is a statistical information on that. Lets not even get started on how many educated people have STD’s. I would imagine the numbers would boggle even the most ardent scientist.

        Comment by Titfortat — August 2, 2010 @ 5:41 pm

      • Well, titfortat, I googled exactly that. I can’t find any studies that support your assertion: that risk behaviour is due to an underdeveloped brain. But what I did find over and over again is best summarized by Ronald Dahl, MD, Staunton Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the keynote speaker and presenter at the National Academy of Sciences on Adolescent Brain Development: A period of Vulnerabilities and Opportunities, who writes:

        Older teenagers can perform at (or very near to) adult levels in their ability to understand, cognitively, the consequences of risky behavior. Adolescents are much better than children at the mental processes that underpin making logical and responsible choices. Yet despite the cognitive improvements, adolescents appear prone to erratic – and I will argue, more emotionally influenced – behavior, which can lead to periodic disregard for the risk and consequences.

        So it does not appear to be a question of development, as you assert, or there would be a direct correlation between age and risky behaviour, which there is not; rather, as I suggested, the link seems much more related to emotional maturity.

        As for your comments about educated women and abortions and educated people and STDs, again, the evidence points to the lowest rates for those most exposed to comprehensive sex ed and availability of contraception. Isn’t this what you would hope to see if efficacy is what’s at issue? Or are you simply dismissing whatever doesn’t agree with your prior assumptions, under the same banner as previously expressed of preferring to lend weight to whatever is ‘easiest’ on your brain?

        Comment by tildeb — August 2, 2010 @ 7:39 pm

      • Really, no studies……Hmmmm

        Comment by Titfortat — August 2, 2010 @ 7:53 pm

      • Thanks for the link. I read the page and maybe I’m a bit slow today but I cannot find any reference to risk behaviour and brain development. Can you clarify for me where this info is or why you linked to it?

        I’m not trying to ‘win’ this disagreement with you, or make you ‘lose’; I have many understandings about neurobiology and neuroscience relevant to what I have been taught but have had many overturned by advances. That’s all I’m saying here… for example, that that 95% of development of the brain is completed far earlier than we previously presumed (usually by the end of puberty) and for all intents and purposes our physically developing brain reaches its most flexible zenith in early to mid teens! These developments are not related – as far as I can tell – to any increase in risk behaviour. That increase comes later.

        I’ve come across pretty much non-stop references to risk behaviour (and understanding consequences from a cognitive perspective in the field of neurobiology) as something much more suitable for study in relation to emotion that affects behaviour, which in turn drives our cognitive expectations about consequences. That’s my current understanding.

        So when you suggested something that did not fit with my understanding, I went looking. I searched a bunch of journals for the past ten years and didn’t find any that linked development with risk. That’s not saying that they are not out there; simply that I didn’t find any. Older ones may suggest exactly what you are suggesting, but I have found that significant advancements in neurobiology over the last ten years really have overturned many of our previous assumptions. If that’s all you’re going on – opinion based on outdated material – then I think it’s a good idea to revisit the grounding of your opinion. If the ground has shifted and better information is available, then I don’t see any down side to changing your opinion to better match up with our best understanding to date. I think that any such change in opinion is a ‘win’ for whoever does it and remains a ‘loss’ only for those who aren’t willing to change when they have better reasons for doing so.

        Comment by tildeb — August 3, 2010 @ 8:49 am

      • tildeb

        The link was from an article that I read. The link was not an accurate reflection of the article. I believe the article was just trying to have some credibility, I was wrong for linking the 2. I should have read more carefully, I stand corrected, my apologies.

        Comment by Titfortat — August 3, 2010 @ 10:02 am

      • Bravely said.

        I wish more people would take a moment and if something I’ve written challenges their assumptions (or pisses them off, which often means the same thing) check a little further. If the object is to learn, in my experience it is within disagreements and not agreements that brings up stuff valuable for more consideration. But this learning process is thwarted if we’re always more concerned about winning than learning and I think it is a sign of intellectual courage to change one’s mind. Even when I disagree with someone, we’re usually on the same side (meaning we’re probably seeking what’s true) but just don’t realize it.

        I don’t think any of us have ever learned anything new from someone who is in complete agreement with us. So… Tally Ho!

        Comment by tildeb — August 3, 2010 @ 12:14 pm

  8. Who said anything about kids…? Education does not end at school, it is a life long process.

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — August 2, 2010 @ 5:02 pm | Reply

  9. Thanks for writing this post. I have to admit I’m a little puzzled by the outrage expressed by some of the people commenting on this post. I think your attitude toward this issue is exactly correct.

    Comment by Diana — August 2, 2010 @ 8:24 pm | Reply

    • Thanks for supporting the position, Diana.

      I happen to think that human rights are directly related to how much respect is granted to women’s health issues. When people grant more respect to the misogynistic practices that impede women’s health, these people are in effect impeding this attainment.

      Abortion services are an integral part of women’s health, but abortion itself has been successfully framed by the religious to be a moral issue subject to religious direction over and above medical considerations. This is a travesty. Not only is it reprehensible to frame abortion this way, but it carries with it very real costs in unnecessary suffering of very real women who must live with the consequences of this framing in law. Yet when 200,000 potential human beings are lost whenever we scratch our nose (that’s a rough estimate on how many stem cells we discard and sacrifice to address an itch), one begins to realize that equating the maintenance of a blastocyst to be the greater moral concern over the health and welfare of the fully developed woman who carries it, we are seeing misogyny in action. And when we pass laws to enforce this misogyny and send women to prison on the charge of murder based on this moral rather than medical framing of abortion, then the human rights of all of us have been attacked by those willing to support the dogma of religious bigotry over and above the human rights of real people.

      Comment by tildeb — August 3, 2010 @ 9:30 am | Reply

  10. USA is the abortion capital of the world! Why should anyone be outraged? Of course this is the normal way to live. Those ignorant superstitious people in Mexico obviously are the problem? Yes, too many Catholic church goers in that country too, so that’s another problem? We need more abortions! We can’t lose our title as the murder captial of the world for innocent babies who only see the world in a biohazard disposal bag.

    Comment by hoboduke — August 2, 2010 @ 9:55 pm | Reply

    • Umm, my stats may be wrong (and dependent on self-reported government census data) but it seems the USA ranks far behind some other countries like Russia and Vietnam. But if one want to reduce the kind of abortions that are used for birth control (and there are many other kinds of abortions undertaken for a variety of highly relevant medical reasons) then one needs to leave the dogma behind and look at what actually works best. And, like MUR writes, those countries with the lowest rates share certain approaches that seem to indicate achieving exactly what you want – much lower rates – by means of education and access.

      Comment by tildeb — August 3, 2010 @ 9:10 am | Reply

  11. The USA is is also one of the most Christian countries in the world… so we can really see how transitional Christianity helps with that problem can’t we!

    What the USA needs is less abortions – I agree; but banning abortion, criminalising women, and stigmatising them is not the answer – a good education and social support structure (i.e. health care) is the answer. A good education system that accepts that people have sex, and advises them on how and when to perform what is a natural body function is key to the development of a human being. Education isn’t just restricted to children either, adults need to be educated on such matters, including but not limited to the teaching of good parenting and communication skills.

    Sex before marriage isn’t a sin, and neither is enjoying sex, but promoting ignorance that leads to AIDS and unwanted births IS heinous crime against humans.

    No one is saying that we need more abortions, what Tildeb is saying is that if a society changes its attitude to sex and abortion, and allows people to communicate as adults then overall this is more humane, and gives a healthier environment to share information, educate others and provide safe preventative and reactive health care. Put yourself for one moment in the shoes of a young women who has had little education, a lot of peer pressure from males, and a family (or no family) with old fashioned religious views on sex (i.e. we will not mention it at all because it is a sin) – and anyone with an ounce of intelligence can see that young women is in a lonely place – whether they are sex crazed or not.

    Comment by misunderstoodranter — August 3, 2010 @ 3:06 am | Reply

  12. […] woman. Don’t believe me? Look to countries that have failed to maintain that boundary and see what such tyranny looks like in […]

    Pingback by What are the boundaries of religion? « Questionable Motives — September 10, 2011 @ 8:20 pm | Reply

  13. […] don’t you check out what it is like to live in a country that has codified into law these catholic ‘moral’ precepts […]

    Pingback by What does hypocritical religious bullying look like on websites? « Questionable Motives — October 16, 2012 @ 10:04 am | Reply

  14. Well said. It’s incredible in this day and age that people still believe in their crap..

    Comment by Dermot — June 14, 2017 @ 1:38 pm | Reply

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