How a deluge of GOP anti-sex bills reflects Christian fundamentalists’ 'post-Roe strategy': report

How a deluge of GOP anti-sex bills reflects Christian fundamentalists’ 'post-Roe strategy': report
Abortion rights activists in St. Paul, Minnesota in 2019, Lorie Shaull

For decades, abortion rights defenders warned that if Roe v. Wade were ever overturned, Republican-controlled state legislatures would be deluged with anti-abortion bills. And that is exactly what has happened. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe with its 2022 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, and Republican lawmakers wasted no time introducing anti-abortion bills at the state level.

But according to journalist Hallie Lieberman, the anti-sex bills coming from Republicans in state legislatures are going way beyond abortion. The Religious Right’s "post-Roe strategy," Lieberman emphasizes in an article published by The Guardian on February 17, also includes bills attacking everything from sex education to gay rights to drag queens.

"Opponents to the laws before legislatures in various states say the planned new legislation could spawn prosecution of breast-pump companies in Texas for nipples on advertising, or a bookstore might be banned from selling romance novels in West Virginia," Lieberman explains in her Guardian report. "Or South Carolina could imprison standup comics if a risqué joke is heard by a young person. The bills are part of a post-Roe nationwide strategy by the religious wing of the Republican Party, now that federal abortion rights have fallen. They range from banning all businesses that sell sex-related goods to anti-drag queen bills."

READ MORE:How Trump exposed the moral bankruptcy of the Christian right

According to Lieberman, the "most prevalent bills" coming from Republicans at the state level "relate to age verification of sex-related websites." And the sites that could be affected, she points out, aren’t necessarily porn sites.

"In Texas," Lieberman observes, "a new bill requiring age verification on websites with pornographic content defines images of the female breast 'below the top of the areola' as porn, potentially hitting at business advertisements. In West Virginia, a bill outlawing all sexually- oriented businesses is on the docket, with a definition that includes art studios with nude models and wrestling arenas…. Some bills define porn so broadly that anatomy textbooks or sex education websites would meet them."

Whitney Strub, an associate history professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey, believes that this flood of anti-sex bills is, in part, a result of Roe’s demise.

Strub told The Guardian, "Abortion gave a certain coherence to conservative politics in the United States. And it certainly still does.… But they’re in the position of Ahab if he slayed the white whale …. I mean, there’s no more Moby Dick."

READ MORE: It's not just Trump: Midterms show the religious right is an albatross around the GOP’s neck

Carolyn Bronstein, who teaches media studies at DePaul University in Chicago, told The Guardian, "These laws are really not about controlling minors’ access to violent pornography.… In the conservative world view, pornography is information about LGBTQ identity, abortion, gay marriage."

READ MORE: New analysis breaks down the growing unpopularity of the 'Religious Right' political agenda

Read The Guardian’s full report at this link.

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