Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Republicans Support Forced Abortions

This is an old story, but one worth retelling. The scene: the Northern Mariana islands in Micronesia. The issue: a loophole. Garments produced here were entitled to enter the US market free of quotas and tariffs, it being a US territory. In essence, garment manufacturers were allowed to place "made in the USA" labels on their products, but were not required to adhere to U.S. labor laws. The Northern Mariana islands, became, in fact, a kind of Wild West for sweatshop operators, as they brought in women from China and the Philippines, subjecting them to appalling conditions. The women were forced to work 12 hour days, for half the U.S. minimum hourly wage, and were made to live in barbed wire prisons. What's worse, the sweatshop owners forced women to became pregnant to have abortions. As a sideline, they also fostered sex slavery.

Who could support such a situation? The modern Republican party. And quite brazenly too. Inspired by Jack Abramoff, and marshaled by Tom Delay, the GOP stood squarely behind the sweatshops. Delay even praised Abramoff's shady clients:

"You are a shining light for what is happening to the Republican Party, and you represent everything that is good about what we are trying to do in America and leading the world in the free-market system."
All the while, Delay claims the mantle of a Christian. And then there is Ralph Reed, erstwhile head of the Christian Coalition. Reed opposed legislation to subject these islands to U.S. federal wage and worker safety laws. Reed made the following statement:

"The radical left, the Big Labor Union Bosses, and Bill Clinton want to pass a law preventing Chinese from coming to work on the Marianas Islands. [The Chinese workers] are exposed to the teachings of Jesus Christ...[and] are converted to the Christian faith and return to China with Bibles in hand."
Horrendous. There's more. Allen Stayman was a State Department official advocating labor law changes in the Northern Mariana islands. As such, he was a threat to Jack Abramoff and his clients. So Ken Mehlman, who was then White House political director (now head of the Republican National Committee) had him fired. In other words, this scandal reached the highest levels of the so-called Christian Bush administration.

This story just doesn't die. More recently, a Texas Republican (Ralph Hall) denounced a teenage sex slave from the floor of the House, claiming that she "wanted to do nude dancing." Don't you just love it when their real moral values come to the fore?

To conclude, I will quote again from Second Vatican Council document Gaudium Et Spes (the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World):

"The varieties of crime are numerous: all offenses against life itself, such as murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia and willful suicide; all violations of the integrity of the human person, such as mutilation, physical and mental torture, undue psychological pressures; all offenses against human dignity, such as subhuman living conditions, arbitrary imprisonment, deportation, slavery, prostitution, the selling of women and children, degrading working conditions where people are treated as mere tools for profit rather than free and responsible persons: all these and the like are criminal: they poison civilization; and they debase the perpetrators more than the victims and militate against the honor of the creator."
I've quoted this before in the context of torture. But what comes next is also applicable to the Republicans. One final thought: if only the Democrats were not so in the thrall of the abortion lobby, they could be hanging the "forced abortions" banner over the heads of the GOP on a daily basis. Sometimes the Democrats are simply their own worst enemy.

No comments: