Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Women, Hobby Lobby and Contraception

In case you missed it, Hobby Lobby "won" its case in front of the Supreme Court of the United States yesterday. The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruled that "closely held" corporations did not have to cover certain contraceptives that violate the owners' religious beliefs. I was immediately struck with his short sighted the ruling is, which I will get into, and I was even more shocked to see some WOMEN'S reaction to this ruling. 

A bajillion years ago when I started law school (I know, I know, a bajillion is such a technical term!) one of the first things we learned, other than archaic property law, was the concept of the "slippery slope." The top of this imaginary slope is what may seem like a mundane ruling by a court; the "slip"begins when other cases use the mundane ruling to include more and more situations. More "rights" are taken away; the once mundane ruling applies to a bigger piece of the pie of every day situations. Get it? That is what happened today. "The court's majority said that the for-profit companies that filed suit didn't have to offer female employees all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives as part of a package of preventive services that must be covered without copays or deductibles under the law." You read that right, the contraceptive guidelines apply to women only. Hobby Lobby (HL) are specifically against paying for IUDs, the Morning After Pill and any contraception device that does not allow implantation of a fertilized egg into the uterus... because they think that the inability for this implantation to take place is essentially an abortion. First things first-- the inability for the implantation of a fertilized egg to take place is NOT an abortion. At all. Glad we got that together.

Secondly, "closely held" for profit corporations are not people. Whole corporations cannot and should not have religious beliefs that can be infringed upon. I mean, it sounds great to those of us (and there actually ARE some people who are happy about this ruling) that HL does not have to pay for certain birth control. A popular response to the ruling today is "If you don't like it, don't work at HL." And I get that. I do. I would not work at HL anyway... I like the other craft stores better and I don't want to get paid $12/hour. But, let's make no mistake--"closely held" corporations are now being given the ability to say that they will not participate in something that substantially hinders their religious beliefs. Not the religious beliefs of the corporation... because corporations do not have religious beliefs. People do. So today the SCOTUS gave a small group of people (who run a for profit business) the right to determine what they will and will not cover for their employees, who may or may not agree with their beliefs. That is problematic. What happens when you and your employer disagree with what is acceptable? What happens when YOUR religious beliefs differ from your employers? What if your beliefs make it impossible for you to get a job at a corporation? What if it weren't your beliefs, but your sex? Your color? Your orientation? Still ok with HL's position? Here is the question of the day... what if HL was run by non-Christians? (Oh, I see some of y'all jumping off the party train and running for cover!!) What if the corporation was run by... Jehovah Witnesses? Then what? What if they run to the SCOTUS and say "Hey, we don't believe in blood transfusions or chemotherapy and we should not have to pay for that. We believe that if God gave it to you, you are supposed to have it, so no medical intervention for you...It is wrong." Everyone still ok with today's ruling?

Ah, I have lost some of you. You have fallen off the bandwagon... because NOT paying for something is ok... as long as it is YOUR something that is not being paid for. Chemo helps people, right? I mean, who would not want to pay for that? Modern medicine that saves grandparents and other loved ones are great, but IUDs, we can't wrap our minds around that. See, here is where that slippery slope comes in. Get it now? We have assigned religious freedoms to corporations and now they are able to say "eh, I don't want to do (whatever) and I don't have to because my religion just doesn't jive with that." Example: "yo, I just really don't want to hire short, black women who periodically shave their heads, because to do so would be a burden to my religion, which isn't so fond of short darkies and also states that "For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head." (1 Cor 11:6). I would be in trouble, y'all. But you can see how assigning corporations the excuse of religious burden can get you some place you don't want to be very quickly.

Lastly, I am amazed that fellow women are seeing this as a victory. This is NOT a victory for women. Not a complete defeat, but definitely not a victory. Nowhere did HL say that there were male specific drugs that they just could not bear to pay for. When it comes to men- there seems to be no burden on religious freedom. Could it be because men are the ones judging what is necessary? What needs to be paid for? Determining the new, fake definition of abortion? As quiet as it is kept, I have some :) experience in the insurance industry and men just don't have to worry about much getting denied. Viagra (and the generics) are covered. Testosterone (for sexual dysfunction)= covered. Vasectomy? Covered-- no questions. Why is the SCOTUS not concerned with the will-nilly attention given to sperm? Why isn't someone cutting down on drugs that enable men to actively pursue vagina? I mean, one man has the ability to impregnate thousands of women... yet there are no regulations on guys. Why are women cheering for that? Why are some of us in the sisterhood ok with telling others what they should do with their bodies? When are those SAME sisters going to start telling men to use condoms or lose their jobs? To marry women instead of shacking up? To be fathers to the children they have helped produce? No, no, no, no... we would rather open up another attack on women. Please, let's not be close minded-- this ruling today can (and most likely will) be used to expand upon what corporations cannot pay for, due to religious beliefs. Make no mistake, this is NOT the end... it is just the beginning. The repercussions are coming. When will we collectively say that is enough? Open those eyes ladies. If we don't stand up for us, no one will. They will be back. They will take more. Ah, prepare for the ride, sisters... the slope is slippery and the ride is fast.


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