Reactionary Alabama

The state of Alabama has been in the news as one of the wave of states passing highly restrictive laws on abortion, including a recent one that bans all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, so early that many women might not even know that they are pregnant. The only exception being the woman’s life being in serious danger, and not even for rape or incest. Doctors who perform abortions can be imprisoned for up to 99 years. Alabama already has only three clinics in the state where women can get abortions.

The law was immediately challenged and the trial has just been completed but the judge has not issued an opinion as yet on whether he will grant a preliminary injunction.

The Jackson Women’s Health Organization petitioned the court to block the bill before it becomes law.

Attorneys argued the law is an attempt to defy Reeve’s previous ruling a fifteen-week abortion ban unconstitutional with precedent at the Supreme Court level.

Attorneys with the state argued that while the state respects Reeves ruling, the new measure restricting abortions after six weeks is not a ban and is meant to protect the sanctity of life.

Reeves did seem a bit upset with the challenge saying ‘the act of the legislature smacks as defiance to this court.”

Alabama is already notorious for almost electing Roy Moore, a religious extremist accused of pedophilia, to the US senate and he is reportedly thinking of running again in 2020.

But now comes news that even the state’s public television broadcaster has succumbed to the religious extremists in the state by not broadcasting an episode of the cartoon children’s program that showed two male rat characters getting married.

Alabama Public Television (APT) has refused to broadcast a cartoon which shows a same-sex wedding.

The first episode of the 22nd series of children’s programme Arthur features the character Mr Ratburn marrying his partner, Patrick.

But APT instead ran an old episode, and announced it had no plans to show the premiere.

Programming director Mike McKenzie said broadcasting it would break parents’ trust in the network.

In a statement, Mr McKenzie said “parents trust that their children can watch APT without their supervision”, and that children “younger than the ‘target’ audience” might watch without parental knowledge.

APT previously refused to broadcast a 2005 episode of the series which depicted Buster, a rabbit, visiting a girl who had two mothers.

Of course, the concern about the potential harm caused to young children is hogwash. There is no evidence to show that young children are harmed by seeing same-sex relationships in the media. What this is all about is not offending the bigots in the state.


  1. says

    err… the teacher (rat) married the love of his life (an aardvark).

    I wonder how many in Alabama were more upset with the inter-species miscegenation?

    When I was in high school I had a 48-star American flag hanging in my bedroom. I told people I didn’t recognize Alabama and Mississippi’s re-entry into to the Union.

  2. alixmo says

    I am so tired of people accommodating the reactionary world-view of religious zealots. I am so grateful to live now, in modern, progressive times. The thought of living in a time (or a place…) in which free and independent thinking was oppressed or hardly known, in which people were ooppressed because of their sexual orientation or because they where born a woman, makes me shudder.

    I am German and I still find that there is too much power and influence of religion and the Churches in my country. But the US, and especially places like Alabama, sound like hell to me. I have an in-law who is a Catholic fundamentalist (including misogyny and homophobia) and I have to admit that this is already too much to stomach.

    We need more secularism (the retreat of religion into the private sphere, out of politics and education), for the sake of personal, free development and a more open society.

  3. lanir says

    There is potential harm to children. It’s the same potential harm you see if a human interacts with a baby from another species and the parent is very disturbed to smell them on their child. The outcome from this can be rather tragic. With humans it looks like the main difference is that the othering and exclusion of the child is sometimes delayed until it is nearly grown.

    Of course the actual source of the problem isnt’ so much the interaction with the outside world but rather why humans are emulating instinct-driven animals with brains the size of a pea.

  4. alixmo says

    @Timothy says #3

    I disagree with Chris Hedges. He has the tendency to dismiss religion as the true source of problems by redefining the meaning of “religion” altogether. Instead, he puts the blame on Capitalism and/or Imperialism, no matter if this is the case or not.

    I am very critical of Capitalism, I see the need for reform, and of cause I am against “Imperialism”. But that does not mean that they can be blamed for every ill that befalls society.

    This anti-abortion stance is not “religious rhetoric” that can be ignored, as Mr Hedges concludes. Indeed, the whole issue is very religious at its core.

    Patriarchal religions obsess about the role of women in society. In modern times, the issue of women’s reproductive rights is crucial to religious fundamentalists (just look at the Vatican’s stance on contraceptives) because it challenges the religiously prescribed “Godgiven” male-supremacy.

    It was the advent of modern, reliable contraceptives that made it possible for women to control their bodies and therefore their destinies. Patriarchal religion wants to undo emancipation, women’s rights and the equality of women and men. Therefore they attack reproductive rights. There is no need for a Capitalist conspiracy here, I am afraid. This is all based on religion.

    Also, does Mr Hedges even consider that many women just do not want many -- or even any -- children, no matter in which economic system they live in or how much money they own? Living a child free life is a valid choice, an option made possible by modern contraceptives. We should start to acknowledge that and leave women and their wombs be!

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