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There's Nothing About Abortion in the Bible -- So How Do Right-Wing Christians Justify Their Crusade Against Women?

The modern religious right is trying to bring back the Bible's teaching that women are inferior and should be the possessions of men.

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Today's religious-right lawmakers resist putting rape exceptions in their abortion bans, arguing that it's not a fetus' fault how it was conceived, but the authors of the Bible had no such qualms. They created laws which decreed that not just rape, but mere consensual infidelity is sufficient reason to force a woman to consume an abortifacient—or, as in Tamar's case, to be put to death while pregnant.

This, of course, is part and parcel of the ancient tribal mindset which taught that a man's wife and children were his possessions to use and dispose of as he saw fit. Under that belief system, if you were the patriarch, another man impregnating your wife would be like an act of theft, and you'd have the right to take back your "property" -- her womb -- from the trespasser. If the woman willingly participated, you might even have the right to kill her, the same way you'd dispose of any other damaged or defective goods -- as in the story of Judah and Tamar, or the horrifying biblical verse which says that a rape victim may be stoned to death if she doesn't scream loudly enough (Deuteronomy 22:23-24).

And there's the evil irony of the situation: even though the Bible says nothing about abortion, it's very definite in its teaching that women are inferior and should be the possessions of men, and that's the worldview that the modern religious right is trying to bring back. In their ceaseless efforts to ban abortion even in cases of rape or when the woman's life is in danger, in their cynical attempts to shut down clinics that are often the only source of essential reproductive health care for poor, at-risk and underserved populations, they're broadcasting loud and clear that the health and well-being of women is of no concern to them. So long as they fulfill their role of mandatory child-bearing, the culture warriors of the religious right couldn't care less about what happens to those women or to their children afterwards.

Adam Lee is a writer and atheist activist living in New York City. Follow him on Twitter, or subscribe to his blog, Daylight Atheism.

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