Julie Tarp

Julie Tarp
Born and bred in Texas. I'm a Screenwriter with a script currently in Development in La-La Land. Met and fell in love with my husband who is an actual cowboy. We have a 140 head cow/calf operation. He does the hard work, I just write about it.


Editor’s Pick
MARCH 11, 2010 1:22PM

The Last Frontier: God and Reproductive Rights in Oklahoma

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The ongoing battle over a Ten Commandments monument erected on the courthouse lawn in Stigler, Oklahoma between the Haskell County Board of Commissioners and the ACLU has finally come to an end with the U.S. Supreme Court declining to even review the case.  This follows a bitter struggle for the separation of church and state leading all the way to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in which, by unanimous decision, the court ruled that the monument violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution and that in erecting it, the county commissioners “advanced their personal religious beliefs”.  

Haskell Courthouse - Stigler 

In a statement on the final outcome of the case, Joann Bell, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oklahoma said, “All Oklahomans, of all creeds – and not just those who share the beliefs of those in power – should feel welcome at the county courthouse.”

I agree.

When our government, whether at the local, state or federal level promotes something as inclusionary as religion, specifically Christianity, how are those who have different beliefs supposed to feel?  There is an increasingly volatile undercurrent that pushes the beliefs of the vocal, well-funded majority onto anyone with differing views.  An agenda.  If you don’t share that same belief system or if you speak out against it, that makes you somehow un-American.  Yet, the same people who decry “big government” interference always seem to be the ones introducing legislation that is downright invasive to its citizens.  This fight to have a religious monument on government property is only one instance of religious groups and conservatives funneling their belief systems through legislative channels and chipping away at our individual freedoms in the process.

Recently in Oklahoma, the State House approved anti-abortion legislation.  In what some have called one of the strictest and “most extreme” abortion laws in the country, House Bill 1595 bans women from getting an abortion based on gender selection.  That in and of itself doesn’t sound so awful even though I don’t believe that anyone should have the power over what a woman chooses for herself.  But, they are sneaky.  The bill also requires doctors to ask their patients 37 personal questions pertaining to their race, relationship status, relationship issues, whether the woman having the abortion was an employee of the state, education level and what county they reside in among others. This information would then be compiled by the state at a cost of $256,285 every year and then released as public information. 

In addition, it requires abortion providers to post signs stating "you may not be coerced into having an abortion.”  What about the coercion of intimidation to those who seek abortions?

The Center for Reproductive Rights filed an injunction and a judge has ruled HB 1595 to be unconstitutional.  Unfortunately, not for the reason we might think.  The Oklahoma Constitution bans multiple subjects to be included in a single piece of legislation.  The Bill’s author, Republican Senator Todd Lamb, argues that it only has one:  “The first part, prohibition of sex selection, the second part, abortion reporting, they both deal with the same thing, the sanctity of human life.”

Rest assured, new bills are being drafted separating out each issue, which will no doubt pass with lawsuits to follow.  But, my question still remains, how is this not government interference of a highly intrusive nature into the lives of its citizens?  Or are women still simply second-class citizens who shouldn’t be allowed to make decisions for themselves?



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The Oklahoma legislature also made loud and clear its view on a woman's right to choose by passing a resolution aimed at the United States Congress, urging them to reject a “Freedom of Choice Act.”

*sigh* Because the Oklahoma legislature has nothing better to do.

Given the choice, I'd prefer the Ten Commandments to the Confederate soldier who stands in front of so many courthouses across the South.
Em - Oh, no, apparently they do - preventing people from getting a divorce. This place boggles the mind. And, yeah, that's totally creepy.

Janie - WWJD? Just hang on, I'm sure the elected leaders of Oklahoma will tell us.
Jesus Christ.

Is this "Fuck Your Civil Rights Thursday"? I am sitting here shaking my head because I really can't think of anything that isn't just a string of expletives. I swear, we aren't in a "recession", we're in social "regression". You gotta love all that freedom, right?

A little ignorance and fear goes a long way in reversing or impeding hard won reproductive rights. This is the 21st century, right? Yes? Just checking... sigh. Nicely done.
Ann - I particularly like that they pick and choose the rights and freedoms we're allowed. Fuckers indeed.
you happen to know where this character, Todd Lamb, lives?

just sayin' ...
Oh, by the way, the Adsense are brilliant: access to contraception, free government money, and how to put a lien on someone's land.

Just read the questions. A bunch of nosy old men, those Okie legislators, aren't they?
CK - I'm thinking I won't be allowed to vote here pretty soon.

Ann - I do believe it's on the way from Missouri to Dallas. Just sayin'

Em - Yep, nosy. I really like how there's a disclaimer of sorts at the end that says they won't use any information about where a person lives (or something like that), yet ask all the questions necessary to know just that. Ugh.
1_I_M, you just made my day. Thanks.

Excellent article, Julie.
This is so sad. The new bill re: abortion, that is. I've been following it. And yes, I remain unsurprised. And we're NEVER going to get back up to the Supreme Court to invalidate the chip chip chipping away those busy little bees are doing to our civil rights. Not until there's a revolution. And by then, I'll be in Canada.
Thanks, Aric

Connie - It really is mind-blowing. But, hey, we'll have kick ass block parties in Canada, eh?
We'll welcome you all up here. Do a bit of research first - parts of the frozen north are more frozen than others. :)

And after a few years, you'll discover we're just as crazy as anyone south of the border. Just in different ways. :)
The thing about the 10 commandments is that only 4 are crimes in the US legal code.
Funny (not so) how that dreaded buzz phrase "the sanctity of human life" seems to never include the woman's life or rights.

Right on the heels of (Monday's) International Women's Day too.
a-wipes. you probably know by now how i feel about all this holy horseshit...xx a
Makes me embarassed to be from OK. From OK, living in TX...what is wrong with me? :)
It appears that this is officially Redneck Thursday. I'm gonna go out and get me some overalls and a kerchief and a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon. You in?
At first I thought it was Texas, with its repeated efforts to rewrite school textbooks (and history) by making sure children know this is a Christian nation. Now Oklahoma. The truly amazing thing is many people feel that posting the Ten Commandments would serve as a fine substitution for actually following them. *sigh* indeed
This is the most chilling part, "released as public information."

maybe there's no such thing as "privacy" around this issue, now that one woman has taken to tweeting it. But it's sad.
These are men who most likely support war, torture, the death penalty, violence toward children in the form of spanking, etc., even abuse of women.

Evil men own the banks, corporations, school boards, colleges and universities, the professions, the media, law enforcement, the courts, the militaries, the governments, and therefore are responsible for the condition of this planet.

Yet all the crimes and evil perpetrated by men pales compared to abortion. Women are whores who have abortions. Even though the male-controlled planet does little for the children already living here in terms of education, health care, providing quality food, water, air, on and on.....but it's those whores who are always, always, always the REAL problem.....at least on a male-ontrolled planet.

A male-controlled planet that blames women for its problems is not addressing the real issues and is choosing to blame the wrong source. So, needless to say, we find ourselves on a dying planet and the slavery of women and children is at an all time high worldwide, etc., etc., etc.
That's a very strange state you live in, Julie. Not that the one I live in isn't strange, too. (Our ex-governor is on the next "Celebrity Apprentice.")
I'll say it again: freedom of religion requires freedom from religion (for those who don't want it). I'm one religious person who's all for thoroughly secular government!
From Sen. David Boren to Sen. Tom Coburn... there's something in your water and it feels toxic even at a distance, he said spitting out imaginary, disgusting juices.

I'm guessing the SCOTUS was leaving the door open for one of every kind of sectarian monument. It's evident from the picture above that there's real estate aplenty for shrines, mini-stupas, pagodas, wildlife sanctuaries, wailing wall replicas, sun temples, mosques and myriad forms of celebratory triptychs. Or not.
When they try to force the religion of the majority on the rest of us, the rationalization often is (smugly) "majority rules".

Is it legal to single out one medical procedure for this kind of (really poorly drawn) data collection? I can't believe a good lawyer couldn't make mincemeat of that measure.

MN also some prohibition against ganging subjects in one piece of legislation. As I understand it, when the SC overruled (some law I don't remember) for that reason, it was said that was just the most immediate, obvious violation. It didn't mean that the law or its parts were constitutional apart from that.

And I hope we'll all come back from Canada for the revolution!
Damn. All I can say is damn. The right is trying to weasel their viewpoints in at every turn imaginable. This type of legislation just makes my skin crawl.
Another example of the evil of "states rights" That's really what the "small government" crowd is about. They don't want any interference with their notion and practice of what the Old Confederacy quaintly called "our domestic arrangements."

Oklahoma was more developed in 1950 than it is now. Same for most of those western red states.
I'm with Irritated Mother - a social regression indeed. If we need to come and rescue you, just say the word.
I am with you --- this is an on going battle in many spheres.
Women need to have the right to choose. Being a man I will never have to deal with the issue of an unwanted pregnancy. I don't like the thought of abortion but as a man whatever I believe is irrelevant when it comes to what happens in a woman's body. And as far as the 10 commandants, which set? There are at least 3!
Shame on the no-nothing State House of Oklahoma.