As Syrian refugees flood Europe and bombs are set off in public places, the Catholic church is ramping up opposition from their European bridgehead in Poland.
The conservative Law and Justice Party (PiS) took power in October 2015 and has since demonstrated just how close their ties with the Catholic church are. The last time the party was in power was 2005-2007 but the party held only a minority government at that time. Now, the party holds a majority in Parliament and the position of President (Andrzej Duda) after an election where only around 50% of the population voted.
Last time, party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski refused to touch the issue of overturning the country’s laws regarding abortion, a compromise that had been reached in 1993 after the collapse of communism in Poland in 1989.
During communism, as defiance against the church and part of a ‘freedom from religion’ spirit, abortion was legal and free, provided by the state; it was used commonly.
After the collapse of communism in a country that was still largely religious and Catholic, the Polish government negotiated the above-mentioned compromise regarding abortion law with the church for the newly sovereign state.
The conditions were that a woman had access to abortion only in three cases: if the mother’s life or health were at risk, if the pregnancy was due to rape or incest, or if the fetus was found to be terminally ill of have some major defect. Access to abortion under only those conditions is still available in Poland today, but won’t be for much longer if this new church-backed legislation is passed.
An article published on politico.eu titled explains how the Catholic church has exerted their influence over Poland’s political actors:
“On Sunday [April 3, 2016], priests read a pastoral letter in favor of a new law.
““There are no compromises when it comes to human life,” Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz, the archbishop of Warsaw, said at mass on Saturday.”
The article also quotes PiS party leader Kaczynski as saying ““If I was to make a prediction in this matter, I am convinced that the overwhelming majority of the [parliamentary] club, and maybe all of them, supports this proposition, …In these matters, as a Catholic, I follow the teachings of the bishops.”” The article goes on to explain that Beata Szydlo, chosen by Kaczynski to be Prime Minister, also supports the proposition although she stressed that it was her “private opinion”.
Besides being devoutly religious, PiS party members were also aided politically by the church during the last election, support that likely helped them achieve a majority government:
“While the church isn’t powerful enough to single-handedly dictate politics — something it tried and failed to do in the early 1990s — it can play a decisive role at the margins.
“That support from the pulpit helped PiS win its parliamentary majority in October, with some priests, especially in rural parishes, openly calling for worshipers to vote for PiS.
“The Catholic church even stepped in to defend the ruling party in February, when a well-known columnist wrote an article critical of the new government for EuropeInfos, the newsletter of the Bishops’ Conferences of the EU. Polish bishops threatened to withdraw from the EU organization unless the article was pulled.
“Bishops have also castigated the growing anti-government protest movement.”
Church helps party get elected, party is obliged to the church, the church gains political power. And the consequences are extreme, even more so than censorship and blackmail.
Essentially what you have is the takeover of the state by the church. In places where this is the case, you have a situation comparable to that of Islamic Sharia law with conditions that are no more favourable.
Banning abortion is one thing but a religious government means the issue is further amplified as contraception is ‘illegal’ in the eyes of the church. The church favours a ‘let Jesus take the wheel’ kind of approach to family planning so it is against any artificial interference in conception whatsoever.
Currently, in order to prevent the need for abortion, birth control pills are available in Poland by prescription however the new government is moving to end subsidization of these pills and also to “stop the sale of “day after” contraception pills without prescriptions [even though] The European Commission determined last year that the ellaOne day-after pill should be sold without prescription in EU countries.” Furthermore, there have been reports that the sale of pregnancy tests will also require registration.
Why is the right for a woman to choose if and when she gives birth important for everyone – male or female, fertile or not? Because when we let the government enforce religious teachings on sexual morality, we lose our dignity and our humanity. If we allow our bodies and lives to become the property of the state, or the church, or the corporations, we have regressed back into feudal tribalism, barbarianism, and subhuman existence.
Murder for Miscarriage: El Salvador’s Las 17
Latin America is another ultra-religious, mostly Catholic region. In El Salvador, one of the continent’s most densely populated, poorest, and most violent countries, there is a total ban on abortion – as there will be in Poland if this new legislation is passed.
The case in El Salvador is extreme but not isolated nor unfathomable in a place where the right of the church to play God on Earth supersedes the rights of all the other people.
El Salvador is not the only country in the region with a total ban on abortion, “but it prosecutes those laws with a particularly obsessive aggressiveness. And as a result, 17 young women – mainly maids and factory workers from impoverished backgrounds – are behind bars for decades for murder after suffering what they have always insisted were miscarriages brought on by medical emergencies.”
A telegraph.co.uk article titled tells the story of these women and the jail in which they are held, a place so barbaric that “one church leader recently likened a visit to a “Dantean descent into hell.””
The article describes the conditions of the prison: “The prison was built for 225 women but housed more than 2,000 in 2012 – the last year for which figures are available.”
“But perhaps most shocking is the presence of more than 100 young girls and boys. Prisoner’s children aged up to five – including those born to women who were pregnant when they were incarcerated – live inside the jail with their mothers in a special cell.”
“Drinking water comes from a cistern and often smells foul while bathing water is so scarce that prisoners can only wash themselves occasionally.”
“The prison does not supply even such basics as soap, shampoo or toilet paper, not sheets, towels or clothes.”
The stories of how Las 17 ended up in jail are equally as horrifying, although the recent pardon of one of the women, a historic precedent, has sparked hope in the hearts of many close to this cause.
“When Carmen Guadalupe Vasquez was rushed to hospital after giving birth to a stillborn baby boy, the doctors first treated her life-threatening bleeding and then called the police who handcuffed her to the bed. …the confused, weak and desperately ill 18-year-old maid was placed under investigation for terminating her pregnancy and driven away in a police van.
“After prosecutors declared that the fetus could have lived, they upgraded the charges to aggravated homicide. Despite Miss Vazquez’s insistence that she had done nothing to harm her unborn child, she was sentenced to 30 years in prison after a cursory prosecution case was laid out.
“Pregnant as a result of a crime – she was raped by a neighbour of her employer – she had lost her unborn child and nearly her own life but now faced the prospect of decades in jail after enduring a medical emergency.”
For reasons which are still unclear, the article reports that Ms Vasquez has been granted a pardon: “In a remarkable turn of events, however, El Salvador’s parliament recently approved, on a grudging second vote, a recommendation by the country’s supreme court that Miss Vasquez should be pardoned because of ‘judicial error’ in the handling of her case.
“This is the first case in our history where a pardon has been granted on the grounds of judicial error,” said Mr Munoz, [Las 17’s lawyer]. “It is incredibly important decision.”[sic]
“The prosecution of these women is based on prejudice not proof and starts from a presumption of guilt; a presumption that because they are poor and uneducated, they killed their babies because they didn’t want them and couldn’t care for them.
“The evidence is that there is a dead baby, a woman and the forensic evidence establishes they are mother and child. That’s it.””
Totalitarian justice in a totalitarian context.
Total Ban on Abortion v Free Choice
Despite any individual’s personal feelings on the matter, the criminalization of abortion, even in the case of serious health risks for the mother, pregnancy due to rape or incest, or terminal illness or defect of the fetus, leads to a broad spectrum of societal problems. It is an extreme position, a total ban, and as such should be considered very carefully before winning your support, no matter what the men in your church say.
“”This campaign for Las 17 is an effort to show the world what a total criminalization of abortion does to women,” said Paula Avilar, a Latin America expert at the Centre for Reproductive Rights. “It puts every single woman who has an obstetric emergency under the suspicion of having an abortion.
“It makes women afraid to seek basic health care services and it risks women’s health. This campaign is for women who are serving up to 40 years for pregnancies that sadly ended due to natural causes.””
Moreover, it essentially claims justified ownership over a woman’s body and reproductive function – blatant eugenics. Women are told that they must, as required by God and enforced by the state, give birth to, raise, support, and love the product of rape. They are told that the life of an unborn baby, or even fetus, is more valuable than their own. They are told that a tragic event over which they had no control – an event willed and orchestrated by God, if you like – is criminally punishable. She is told she has no right.
When we – men and women – accept those kinds of terms and conditions of government we should not be surprised or indignant when we discover that we are controlled by totalitarian forces, indeed forces using tactics of fear and sexual manipulation to gain total control.
To illustrate the point more poignantly, let us consider a situation in which it was not a government-mandated, church-backed ban on abortion, but rather on sex. We wonder, would that change your opinion on the issue?
El Salvador has asked women to delay getting pregnant until 2018 in the face of the Zika virus crisis.
The Zika virus has been present in many Latin American and Caribbean countries for many years but a recent epidemic has struck the continent. The virus causes relatively little harm in healthy adults but extreme brain and head deformation to unborn babies.
An states that “other nations around the region have issued warnings similar to El Salvador’s, with officials in Colombia and Ecuador urging women to put off becoming pregnant for months, or until the dangers of the virus are better understood. But El Salvador’s advice to stop having children for two full years struck many experts as particularly sweeping.”
The experts agreed that this kind of strategy was unprecedented.
“”I mean, the futility of saying something like this,” said Dr. Ernesto Selva Sutter, a leading public health expert in El Salvador, shaking his head. “Are you going to stop having sex?”
The question may seem like an extreme exaggeration, but “the government’s advice to postpone pregnancy for years is a delicate issue in this conservative, religious nation. It would require the ubiquitous use of contraception, which can be complicated in a country that is more than 50 percent Roman Catholic.”
Data shows that the use of contraceptives like condoms is nearly the same in El Salvador as it is in the USA. As Daniella Hernandez, 17, put it, “people are going to be together regardless of any disease, …but there are other ways to prevent pregnancy.”
“Dr. Espinoza, the vice health minister, said the government had not held specific talks [with the church] about its request for women to refrain from having children. It has, however, asked various religious leaders to press their congregations to clear standing water and clean up trash, as well as use repellent and take other precautionary measures.
“”Even if the religious leaders can help us combat these mosquitoes, we still feel obliged to make this recommendation to the couples,” he said, referring to the advice to avoid getting pregnant,” a comment that reeks of Catholic guilt for issuing a warning to citizens that he presumed the church would disapprove of.
“Like the government, the Roman Catholic Church in El Salvador seems unprepared for a confrontation. The archbishop has yet to weigh in [as of Jan. 25, 2016]. Over the weekend, when many expected him to discuss the issue, he was sick and unable to say Sunday Mass.” At the time of writing I could not find any mainstream media reports of a response.
, published on theguardian.com on Feb 12, 2016 and titled El Salvador’s Zika crisis compounded by failings of state, violence and machismo reported that “The UN has called on Latin American countries hit by the Zika epidemic to allow women access to abortion, in line with international standards. There are concerns that Zika may also cause miscarriages, which in El Salvador can lead to women being jailed for abortion or murder. Salvadorian authorities – and the Catholic church – have so far remained silent on the issue while public opinion remains divided.”
Access to contraceptive birth control is theoretically available, the theguardian.com article reports. “Technically, girls under 18 require adult consent to obtain contraceptives from health services. Most contraceptives – the oral pill, condoms and injections – are available free at health clinics, but supplies can run short. In El Paisnal, a spike in pregnancies last year was likely linked to a shortage of contraceptive injections in 2014, according to Dr Nidia Mejía, director of El Paisnal’s health clinic.”
However the article also makes it clear that access to contraception alone is not enough to combat the country’s high teen-pregnancy rate, a figure which accounts for around one third of the country’s pregnancies, nor is it an answer to the gang violence, rape, and sexual abuse that is common in the country:
“Angie Rivas, from the Feminist Collective for Local Development, said the government’s advice to avoid pregnancy was dangerously simplistic as it failed to recognise the reality of many Salvadoran women’s lives. “It’s illogical to think that having a baby at 13 or 14, or getting pregnant by a sexually violent partner or gang member is part of anyone’s life plan. And why is the advice only directed at women? Men are responsible for reproduction too,” she said.
“Activists say that the role of rape in this unfolding crisis should not be underestimated: according to the Ormusa observatory of violence against women, five sexual crimes against girls under the age of 18 were reported every day last year to the national police. The actual number is almost certainly much higher.”
In a society with limited access to birth control and a moral doctrine against it, the only way to be sure to prevent pregnancy is abstinence, conveniently enough for the church. But a sexless society breeds aggression and pathology, as evidenced by the situation in El Salvador as well as many other places.
When you have a large portions of the population being born as a product of rape and raised by young, single, impoverished mothers, the cycle of gang violence and sexual aggression is never-ending. Even the decision to be a good Catholic and practice abstinence doesn’t do you much good if you’re a teenage girl in a ghetto.
A reports that the governments in Jamaica and Honduras have also issued similar requests to delay pregnancy to their female citizens.
At the risk of sounding crass, there is one other consideration that needs to be mentioned. Another way of avoiding pregnancy would be for couples (hopefully) to practice so-called ‘safe sex’ (at least with regards to pregnancy) – oral and anal sex. The implications to sexual pleasure for women in a society with this kind of sexual tendency due to restrictive laws is clear: it becomes completely marginalized due to fear – and I don’t suggest that it would be so against the women’s conscious will.
In El Salvador many women say that the government’s warning to avoid getting pregnant hasn’t changed their plan to avoid pregnancy but they say that the Zika virus is not their top reason for waiting.
“Unlike the birthrate in many developing nations, El Salvador’s is already low, and the fear of Zika infecting a child seemed to rank third or fourth on the list of reasons many women cited for not wanting to get pregnant.
“First, they say, is gang violence. Gangs operate with impunity, and the war between them, as well as with the police, has produced homicide levels not seen since the country’s civil war that ended in 1992.
“Women also mention economic fears, with severe underemployment and more than a third of the population living under the poverty line.”
In an overpopulated country with a so-called low birthrate where one third of pregnancies are of impoverished teenagers and largely due to (gang) rapes – maybe access to abortion and birth control are not such a bad thing, morally.
Apparently the Catholic church disagrees. We think we know why and the answer can CHANGE THIS WORLD but we need help to break taboo and spread this message, we can’t do it alone.
The Rich v the Poor
The implications of restrictive moral laws, the fusion of church and state, seems to affect, of course, the least wealthy segments of the population the most. Men of means, for example, who don’t want to have kids are able to travel abroad for a vasectomy. Similarly women of means who don’t want to become pregnant will be able to afford a non-subsidized prescription for birth control pills or even travel to a place with less restrictive laws to purchase them if she is from a place where they are not available.
Furthermore, it is generally not the wealthiest segments of society who are the victims of gang violence and rape, and, by the same logic as above, if they were, they would be able to travel abroad for an abortion.
It is, as usual, the poorest sections of society which are most negatively affected by these ‘Catholiban’ style laws, the segments of society that the church already has high influence over through both church (religious – ie education, health care) and charity programs. Perhaps the church’s position is simply aimed at protecting the source of the their future generation of followers and servants.
A ban on abortion does not increase birthrate uniformly across all segments of society, it does, however, put pressure on the poorest segments of society to stop of having traditional sexual relationships which in turn increases business for the Catholic church.
The Catholic church holds a huge amounts of power and influence in this world and some may say it is because they hold a monopoly over moral authority. We say that they have amassed their ability to control the people through programs based on discreet sexual manipulation.
How, you may ask, does the mystery of the female orgasm and suppressed sexuality relate to eugenics, over population, social engineering, and religious and political domination over the people?
That is what we want to share, but not quite yet. First we need to hear from anybody out there who understands what we’re trying to say, we know there are a few…
Feel free to send us an email at SexiLeaks@gmail.com
Everything is connected, love is the answer.
More next time on the reaction of the women of Poland to the church’s attempt as well as a very important question I would like to ask Donald Trump based on some comments he’s made about abortion, the church, and terrorism.
Until next time, much love.