The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24, officially ending federal protections for abortion in the United States. Social media quickly erupted, and a video of journalist Ana Kasparian's impassioned pro-choice rant from 2018 went viral, reigniting the conversation about the role of faith in politics.
In the clip, Kasparian is discussing a pro-life bill with her co-host on The Young Turks, when he mentions the Bible's position on abortion. Visibly frustrated, Kasparian shot back with her take on the role of faith in reproductive rights.
"I don't care that you're a Christian. I don't care what the Bible says," Kasparian says in the viral video. "You do not get to dictate that way I live my life based on your religion."
Today, Kasparian stands by the comments she made in 2018. "It's surfaced a few times," she tells Yahoo Life. She says that her frustration that day came from the fact that Americans are taught to fight for religious liberty, yet a single belief system carries so much weight in the political conversation.
“What the religious text of one particular faith indicates does not apply to the rest of the population in a country that has constitutional protections against church and state," Kasparian tells Yahoo Life. "Once we get into the weeds of what the Bible permits, we're allowing them to frame it as if their particular religion should rule us all, and I'm sorry, our constitution says the opposite of that."
Kasparian says that "even as an atheist, I support people of faith. I think that it's an important part of their lives, an important part of their communities. And I would never in any way want to violate that."
As host and producer of the online news show The Young Turks, Kasparian has been searching for truth since 2007. The progressive political commentator is known for her strong opinions, smart takes and passionate delivery. She believes her open and honest approach is what resonates with viewers, and she's proud to use her voice and platform during an era where rights and freedoms are being restricted.
Speak on it @AnaKasparian! “They do not have the right to dictate my life and what I decide to do with my body. I don’t care about your goddamn religion!"
Anger and disappointment don't even begin to sum up #RoevsWade #RoeOverturned #tytlive pic.twitter.com/oqjGeEAXMZ
— The Young Turks (@TheYoungTurks) June 24, 2022
After Roe v. Wade was overturned, Kasparian felt a range of emotions. "Once it really sunk in, I felt an overwhelming sense of rage, just this anger and rage, and also embarrassment on the international stage," says Kasparian. "What we're seeing with this rapid-fire round of terrible rulings that chip away at our rights, that intentionally misinterpret what our constitution says — I think we're in for a lot of pain and suffering unless we somehow persuade the Democratic Party to grow a set and fight on behalf of the people who put them in this position of power to begin with."
Kasparian believes that one way the younger generation can fight back and push for political action is by educating themselves on the history of the anti-choice movement in this country. She points to figures like Paul Weyrich, a religious conservative political activist who coined the word "moral majority" in an effort to unite right-wing politicians and gain political power.
In 1971, Green v. Connally removed the tax-exempt status of segregated private schools, which sprouted up in the South after the passage of Brown v. The Board of Education. This caught the attention of Evangelical leaders who wanted to continue running Christian schools which were dubbed "segregation academies." Instead of mobilizing voters around racial segregation, Weyrich and other political leaders gained power by promoting pro-life rhetoric after Roe v. Wade was decided by the Supreme Court in 1973.
"It was actually a response to segregated private schools losing their tax-exempt status. That was the issue that really motivated him, and what he used to galvanize religious voters was the abortion issue," says Kasparian of Weyrich. "And he did it through intentional misinformation, fear-mongering about what happens during the procedure and what's really behind it, aside from wanting political power, is wanting to control the lives and bodies of women."
Overturning Roe v. Wade has stripped reproductive freedom away from millions of Americans. Currently, abortion is banned in 13 states, but according to the Guttmacher Institute, at least 13 other Republican-led states are expected to ban the medical procedure.
Kasparian knows that not everyone appreciates her comments in that viral video from 2018. She also knows that staying silent isn't an option. With the midterm elections approaching in November, and inevitable political shifts on the horizon, she says the time to speak up and fight back is now.
"Things don't move in the direction of progress automatically," says Kasparian. "Everything needs to be fought for and the rights that we have need to be maintained by continuing that fight."
– Video produced by Jacquie Cosgrove
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