The religious right-wing has been dramatically escalating the culture wars against American women and LGBT over the past few months. A slew of anti-abortion and religious
liberty discrimination laws have been quietly rammed through Republican-strangled legislatures across the South and Midwest, depriving their citizens of their constitutional rights and making it clear that nobody who isn’t a white cisgendered Christian male doesn’t deserve the same treatment as they do.
The most recent – and one of the more abhorrent – incidents unfolded in Missouri this week, when the state Senate voted to find Planned Parenthood official Mary Kogut in contempt (the first such vote in 113 years) for refusing to release the private medical information of women who had visited her clinic for abortion care. Ms. Kogut could spend ten days in jail or pay a $300 fine for protecting the confidentiality of their patients’ medical records. The unreasonable demand by the Missouri
Taliban Republicans is particularly problematic because federal privacy laws prohibit the group from releasing those records.
The Missouri GOP’s interest in the documents stems from the widely debunked hoax Planned Parenthood videos that inflamed religious extremists across the country last summer. Officials from Planned Parenthood have already said they’re willing to share the documents related to tissue transfers – but the Senate wants all the data, which would identify which women have had abortions, along with all of their private information.
These disgusting hypocrites pretend to care about “women’s health” but only seek to slut-shame those women who have chosen to exercise their Supreme Court-upheld rights to agency over their own bodies. One shudders to think of what anti-choice activists would do with such data. In this age of right-wing “doxxing” (the online publishing of private information including phone numbers and addresses) and vicious public harassment, the lives of these women would be certainly put at risk.
Michelle Fields, the Breitbart reporter who was recently assaulted by Donald Trump’s campaign manager, had her information released to the public by horrifying negligence on the part of Buzzfeed and FOX News – and was promptly forced to move out of her home after being inundated with death threats. And she’s a Republican. If this information was ever released to the public, lynch mobs would be forming outside the homes of these women within hours. Because that’s what these religious extremists do. Far from feeling compassion for a woman forced to make a difficult decision, these heartless hypocrites would rather punish her for her sexuality and for exercising her rights. Not only that, they are demanding that we violate the most sacred rule of modern medicine – doctor-patient confidentiality, which exists to protect people from just the sort of invasive witch-hunt.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.