TN House Bans Taxpayer-Funded Abortions, Claiming It Promotes “Secular Humanism” April 9, 2019

TN House Bans Taxpayer-Funded Abortions, Claiming It Promotes “Secular Humanism”

We learned last month that Republican State Rep. John Ragan of Tennessee had filed a bill, HB 1490, that would prohibit any taxpayer money from subsidizing abortions… on the grounds that believing abortion is justifiable amounts to an endorsement of secular humanism. And that would violate church/state separation. And there’s nothing Republicans hate more than government promoting religion.

The language in the bill was a clear example of how conservatives distort logic in order to make whatever point they want.

The naked assertions that “abortion is not murder”, “that abortion is not immoral”, and that “life does not begin at conception” are unproven faith-based assumptions that are implicitly religious and are unproven truth claims that are inseparably linked to the religion of secular humanism;

That the establishment clause prohibits the state of Tennessee from enforcing, respecting, recognizing, favoring, or endorsing policies that fund abortion facilities with tax dollars because the practices are nonsecular and such appropriations have the effect of excessively entangling the government with the religion of secular humanism, putting religion over nonreligion;

The direct or indirect subsidization or facilitation of abortion with funds distributed by the state of Tennessee constitutes paying for an abortion and, therefore, conflicts with the First Amendment establishment clause of the United States Constitution;

The state of Tennessee may not favor or endorse one (1) religion over another, nor may the state of Tennessee favor or endorse the religion of secular humanism generally over nonreligion.

Not that we should have to waste time debunking any of that, but the assertion that abortion is “murder” or “immoral” and that life begins at conception are all faith-based statements that also have no basis in reality. It’s rhetoric, not science. To suggest that a pro-choice stance promotes secular humanism while an anti-choice stance has nothing whatsoever to do with religion is the sort of lie we’ve come to expect from conservative Christians. Keep in mind that the laws have nothing to do with whether abortion is “moral.” That’s your call, not the government’s.

Sadly, that bill just passed through the TN House on a 66-24 vote. It now heads to the GOP-dominated State Senate.

Part of the debate over the bill involved its absurd definition of “convenience abortion”:

Particularly, Democrats raised concerns about the measure’s definition of “convenience abortion,” which under the bill would mean any elective abortion not performed with the intent to save the life of the mother, remove an ectopic pregnancy or abort an “unborn child” that is the result of rape or incest.

The legislation also warns that organizations that provide “convenience abortions” tend to erode community standards because they encourage promiscuity and normalize certain beliefs about sex when the state’s policy should be to favor childbirth.

“I’m wondering from what garbage can you pulled this definition out of and what state you copied this definition from,” said Rep. John Ray Clemmons, a Democrat from Nashville who is running for mayor in the liberal-leaning city.

“Garbage can” must be a new euphemism for Ragan’s ass. (He didn’t answer the question.)

The bill now includes a measure that says it can “only be implemented if the federal government allows a state agency to deny family planning funds to an organization that performs abortions.” It just so happens that the Trump administration is expected to institute a rule later this year that will ban family-planning clinics that receive Title X funding from making abortion referrals…

Meanwhile, Ragan is also co-sponsoring a bill that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected — an idea that has nothing to do with science and everything to do with irrational beliefs about what a heartbeat indicates. (I guess it’s not government overreach when it involves his religious beliefs.)

In case that point about hypocrisy isn’t clear, Ragan also co-sponsored a resolution just this year that would literally change the state’s Constitution to say our “liberties do not come from government, but from Almighty God.”

Ragan has no problem when government directly promotes his God, yet he pretends to turn into an Establishment Clause watchdog the moment he say a policy he doesn’t like is actually government endorsement of a religion he doesn’t like. It’s completely disingenuous. It’s completely Republican.

His anti-abortion bill should fail in any court, but who knows anymore. Ragan says he welcomes that challenge in any case. Why not? When you live outside of reality, anything goes.

(Screenshot via YouTube. Thanks to Catherine and Virginia for the link. Large portions of this article were published earlier)

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