To take away a woman’s right to choose, then, is not only unconstitutional. It is also oppressive. The desire to control a woman’s body — a frightening phenomenon that’s recently been touted by the conservatives in the Republican Party, including presidential candidate Romney — is strikingly similar to the oft-bemoaned patriarchal structure in the practice of Islam.
I find the curtailing of a woman’s rights in the name of religion all too familiar. The “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” originally crafted by Republicans Paul Ryan (the Republican Vice Presidential nominee) and Todd Akin, is a legal document, rooted in their particular interpretation of Christianity. The fact that these legislators have passed a law that forces their religious beliefs on me and other women makes them no different than the some Muslim mullahs. Sharia, or Islamic law, in many Muslim countries, has become a tool of oppression rather than a tool for protecting rights. Though supporters of both may view themselves as being on opposite ends of the morality spectrum, there is little difference, if any, between them. Both take away women’s rights, and both legislate religious beliefs.
The use of contraception is not simply a right. For some women contraception provides a health benefit. For others it allows them to control when they conceive, which is especially important because the responsibility of pregnancy bears heavily on women physically and emotionally, not to mention sometimes financially. Beyond that, in an overpopulated world, having an unplanned child is not just unfair to a woman and her family, but also to to the child.
Religious institutions and our government should not be allowed to impose religious values. To do so takes away our God given right to self-determination. It certainly runs afoul of separation of Church and State.
Please don’t turn America into a theocracy. I don’t want to be governed by the laws of Sharia, and I am equally opposed to being governed by a Christian version of that religious code.
Not voting this November 6th is not an option. And who you vote for matters. It really matters.
To learn more about the issues facing Muslim women (and all women) this election season, you can join Muslims for Progressive Values on October 29, 2012, as we host feminist, writer, and activist Mona Eltahawy. Ms. Eltahawy will be the keynote speaker at an evening event titled “Unshackling Islam from Patriarchy.” For more details, check out: http://monaeltahawy.eventbrite.com/By Ani Zonneveld, Aslan Media Columnist