Chronicle of a Nightmare Foretold

October 30, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


Imagine a future in which women in the U.S. have no right to get an abortion, or even have birth control. A future in which this half of humanity is consigned to being incubators, or sex objects, or both. A future in which women’s role in society is drastically reduced, even eliminated in some areas, and male right and privilege forcibly reasserted. A future in which women who find ways to assert their basic rights and control are repressed by the armed enforcers of the state. In short, a real-life “Handmaid’s Tale.”

Now think about what just took place in the case of “Jane Doe,” and what has recently been further revealed about Vice President Mike Pence...

Abortion is still officially legal in the U.S., including for immigrants, including those in detention. So on September 28, a judge ruled that “Jane Doe,” a 17-year-old undocumented and unaccompanied immigrant from Central America who discovered she was pregnant while being held in a Texas detention camp, could get an abortion.

Did the U.S. president, vice president, and the current administration, which is mandated to uphold the law, respect this judge’s lawful order? Did they bow to the fact that opinion polls show that a majority in the U.S. favors keeping abortion legal? Did they consider “Jane Doe’s” needs and clearly expressed wish to have an abortion? Emphatically no! Jane Doe was being held at a federal immigration detention center and the Trump/Pence regime waged a nearly month-long battle to block this ruling and prevent her from getting an abortion.

This battle was a glimpse of what the fascist lunatics now governing have in store for women—legal or undocumented, young or old—if they succeed in consolidating power.

Mike Pence, and a regime staffed with Christian fascists from top to bottom

This is a regime staffed from top to bottom with fanatical Christian fundamentalists who hate that women have won some measure of reproductive choice and social equality, and that open, forcible patriarchy has been weakened or eroded. And they are determined to reverse these trends with a vengeance and impose a theocratic form of fascism.

Take Vice President Mike Pence. As Jane Mayer documents in an in-depth exposure in the October 23 issue of the New Yorker, “The Danger of President Pence,” Pence is one of the most powerful people in the current regime, and a hard-core, ruthless Christian fundamentalist and misogynist determined to forcibly reimpose overt, legalized male domination and control.

According to Mayer, unless his wife is present, Pence will never dine with another woman or attend an “event in mixed company where [there’s] alcohol,” a position whose logic “reduces women to sexual temptresses and precludes men from working with women on an equal basis.” In the 1990s, Pence headed a right-wing think tank that argued “unmarried women should be denied access to birth control.” As a congressman, Pence has “backed ‘personhood’ legislation that would ban [abortion] under all circumstances, including rape and incest, unless a woman’s life was at stake.” He has attempted to push through measures that would have “made it legal for government-funded hospitals to turn away a dying woman who needed an abortion. (Later, as governor of Indiana, he signed a bill [later ruled unconstitutional] barring women from aborting a physically abnormal fetus; the bill also required fetal burial or cremation, including after a miscarriage.)”

“There have been other evangelical Christians in the White House, including Carter and George W. Bush,” Mayer writes, “but Pence’s fundamentalism exceeds theirs.” The Bible study group for cabinet officers Pence hosts is led by Ralph Drollinger, a fundamentalist lunatic who has written that “Women with children at home, who either serve in public office, or are employed on the outside, pursue a path that contradicts God’s revealed design for them. It is a sin,” and argues that “a wife must ‘submit’ to her husband.” All this amounts to reducing women to incubators or sex toys, or both.

And Pence isn’t the only one. Some of the top officials in the Department of Health and Human Services are anti-woman, anti-choice, anti-birth control fanatics, according to the New York Times. Its division overseeing the care of unaccompanied minor immigrants and refugees is the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Who did the Trump/Pence regime put in charge? Scott Lloyd, a fanatical Christian fascist who adamantly opposes abortion and birth control. One of Lloyd’s polemics was subtitled, “Why You Can’t Be Pro-Life and Pro-Contraception.” (See Michelle Goldberg, “The Trump Administration’s Power Over a Pregnant Girl, New York Times, October 20, 2017)


The Trump/Pence regime’s assault on “Jane Doe”

The case of “Jane Doe” showed how Pence, Scott, and the other Christian fascists in the Trump/Pence regime are determined to step-by-step impose and enforce these reactionary, medieval views on all society.

The regime had enacted a new policy requiring the director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, personally, to approve any abortion. Scott had already personally and directly intervened in other cases like Jane Doe’s, once personally visiting a detainee to pressure her to continue her unwanted pregnancy. He immediately rejected the judge’s ruling that she could have an abortion.

“In this case, the word got out at Jane Doe’s detention center that she was not to be released for her September 28 appointment,” Sunsara Taylor wrote at “Instead, her captors forced her to visit a Christian fundamentalist anti-abortion fake ‘clinic’ where she was forced to view an ultrasound. The detention center also called Jane Doe’s mother in her home country and informed her about the pregnancy despite Doe’s plea that her mother was physically abusive....

“Even after yet another court battle in which a federal judge ruled that Doe’s abortion must be allowed (rescheduled for October 20), the Trump/Pence Regime blocked her again. They refused to release her for her appointment and argued doing so didn’t put an ‘undue burden’ on her constitutional right to abortion because Doe still had the ‘option’ of being deported back to her home country! Doe is from Central America—and in most countries in that region, abortion is illegal, including three countries where abortion is not allowed even when the life of the woman is at stake.”

“I feel like they are trying to coerce me to carry my pregnancy to term,” Jane Doe wrote.

Finally, on October 25, Jane Doe was able to get the abortion she was seeking after a federal appeals court ruling.

A Christian Fascist “Handmaid’s Tale” Future... Unless This Regime Is Driven from Power

Before “Jane Doe,” the Trump/Pence regime had already gutted the requirement that employers pay for birth control. It has lied about fetal development to advance a federal abortion ban. As Joanna Grossman writes, “As part of a wide-ranging effort to implement an anti-abortion policy agenda, the Trump Administration has been rolling back access to reproductive healthcare at every turn. As explained in detail here and here, this administration has erected significant obstacles not only to abortion, but also to family planning services.” (“The Handmaid’s Tale—Junior Version”)

And in the Jane Doe case, the government claimed a “state interest” in “promoting child birth and fetal life.”

Think about it. Abortion is still formally legal. But that didn’t stop the Trump/Pence regime from using the full power of the state to nullify this court’s ruling, and force a 17-year-old girl to have a child against her will, reducing her to an incubator.

This is the future the Trump/Pence regime, which dominates all three branches of government and is moving to radically reshape the courts, is fighting relentlessly to impose, step-by-step on women, as government policy, social practice, and legally.

This nightmarish future for half of humanity must be stopped! They must be driven from power through a sustained, mass upsurge demanding: This Nightmare Must End. The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!



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