Ilhan Omar Decries ‘Religious Fundamentalists’ Trying to ‘Impose Their Beliefs on an Entire Society’

By Patrick Goodenough | May 24, 2019 | 4:26am EDT
Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. (Getty Images/Alex Wong)

( – Wading into the controversy over the passage of pro-life laws in red states, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on Wednesday accused the “religious right” of trying to force its views on the nation, and disputed conservatives’ claims to be motivated by concern for human life.

She also accused conservatives of hypocrisy, citing two instances when Republican former lawmakers were accused of behavior running contrary to their public stances on moral issues.

“Religious fundamentalists are currently trying to manipulate state laws in order to impose their beliefs on an entire society – all with complete disregard for voices and the rights of American women,” Omar said on the House floor.

She cited the signing into law in Alabama of the most restrictive abortion law in the nation, the passage in Georgia of a bill that would make performing an abortion illegal once a heartbeat is detected.

"The recent efforts like those in Alabama and Georgia are only the latest in a long history of efforts to criminalize women for simply existing and to punish us when we don't conform to their attempts to control us," she said.

“A new proposal in Texas would go as far as to threaten women who obtain an abortion with capital punishment,” she said. The proposal referred to was in fact effectively killed last month, when a Republican committee chairman said he would not allow it to advance.

“If that was being proposed by any other country, we would be calling it a dangerous violation of human rights,” Omar continued. “But because it is happening here with the support of the ultraconservative religious right, we call it religious freedom.”

Omar called pro-life Christians’ motives into question.

“Let’s just be honest: For the religious right this isn’t simply about their care or concern for life. If they cared about or were concerned about children, they would be concerned about the children that are being detained, and those that are dying in camps across our borders.”

She turned to the hypocrisy charge.

“This isn’t about religious morality or conviction, because we’ve seen time and time again, those that talk about their faith and want to push policies because of their faith are the ones that simply are caught with the hypocrisy of not living it out in their personal lives.”

Omar then recalled scandals involving former Sen. Larry Craig (Idaho) and former Rep. Tim Murphy (Pa.)

“I am frustrated every single time I hear people speaking about their faith and pushing that onto other people,” she concluded.

“Because we know those so-called religious politicians, when it comes to their life, their choices, they want to talk about freedom, but when it comes to other people’s lives and other people’s choices, they want to talk about religion.”

Omar, a Somali-American, is one of the first two Muslim women to be elected to the U.S. Congress.

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