Monday, December 20, 2010

The Wedding Shower*

The announcement:
Ghulam Haider, 11, is to be married to Faiz Mohammed, 40. She had hoped to be a teacher but was forced to quit her classes when she became engaged.

What will you bring to the shower? Perhaps this:

The International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act, a bill championed in the Senate by the chamber's No. 2 Democrat Dick Durbin and moderate Maine Republican Olympia Snowe, would require the federal government to develop a plan to combat child marriage with the goal of eliminating the practice worldwide.

The bill's defeat in the House Thursday left Durbin fuming.

"The action on the House floor stopping the Child Marriage bill tonight will endanger the lives of millions of women and girls around the world," Durbin said in a statement after Thursday's House vote. "These young girls, enslaved in marriage, will be brutalized and many will die when their young bodies are torn apart while giving birth. Those who voted to continue this barbaric practice brought shame to Capitol Hill."

The measure had already passed the Senate – unanimously. So how did a bipartisan bill with 112 co-sponsors fail to pass the House?
It's such a cheap present! And comes handy for the groom at least, because there will be less international condemnation of the romantic relationship. The bride might not like that but who are we to judge foreigners and their morals? Except when it comes to abortion, naturally:

Just before the vote, Republicans distributed a memo to pro-life House members arguing that the bill could ultimately end up funding abortions.

"The bill provides little structure or oversight on how the money may be spent," the memo read. "The President is authorized under this bill to provide assistance through nongovernmental organizations that are charged with the promotion of 'health' of girls and women. It is possible that some of these NGOs may view abortion as health care and promote abortion services as a part of that health care."
Never mind how many young girls are torn apart giving birth. That's what they are for, to quote Martin Luther on the topic of gender equality!

But fetuses! Now those are precious. And they must be remembered, even if the bill mentions nothing about abortions, nothing at all! Even if one's eyes cross when trying to understand how an attempt to make forced child brides less common somehow might encourage abortion. Even then we must use fetuses as an excuse to kill girls.

Or money:

In the memo, Republicans denounced the bill as "costly and duplicative."

"Some conservatives have expressed the following concerns," they said. "The bill authorizes $108 million over five years – before ascertaining how much is already being spent on similar programs that aim to prevent child marriage – and without finding any offsets."
How much did we spend on the Iraq war? There was another perfectly good war already going. Did we try to find it as an offset? Did we try to find out how much was spent on general warmongering? Nope, we did not.
*Note that the specific story and picture refer to an older wedding, not a recent one.

Also, I know Anthony McCarthy already wrote two great posts on this topic. But repetition is the mother of learning and the topic needs to be kept in the open.