Today is a sad day for America. Congratulations to the companies that will now have the ability choose whether or not to support birth control. I hope you are thrilled with your new power.

I get it though, you’re morally opposed with granting people accessibility, via your sponsored funds, to do something you don’t believe in. It would be the equivalent of being vegan and being forced to buy bacon for everyone. Or being opposed to animal testing, but forced to fund it because the government said so. I understand you don’t believe in promoting sex that is not intended to make children. You want that to be on their dime, on their own watch. Not your lawn, not your problem. Why be obligated by the government to do something that is morally against your beliefs? I understand that this will never be the place for government to decide.

I do, however, still see a loss today. That loss is in how we listen to women for their voice on women’s issues.

Ruth Ginsburg had an excellent dissent that I highly recommend you reading or listening to, but in it, she says this:

Would the exemption the Court holds RFRA demands for employers with religiously grounded objections to the use of certain contraceptives extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations (Christian Scientists, among others)?

This introduces a slippery slope of issues and makes me sincerely fear for the well-being of all women. While there may be a slippery slope toward forcing corporations to comply with something against moral obligations, it also makes me worried that we are trivializing women’s issues as casual social phenomena rather than real, life-altering health issues.

For now, though, we can’t do much until they reverse the ruling.

So for those who do morally oppose to birth control, I ask you to consider a few things. Consider the vast numbers of women who use contraceptives for health reasons (PS – Is pregnancy not enough of a health reason, considering the enormous tax it places on your body?). Consider the effect that good family planning has on raising people out of poverty. Consider the number of abortions that wouldn’t have to happen, had they had access to contraceptives in the first place; because abortions and unwanted pregnancies are avoidable. Consider that the number of homeless children will decrease, because they’re born at the time and place when a family can take care of them. Consider that millions of low-income women can finally save up money for college, for themselves and for their future children. Consider all of these things, and realize that you have a choice in changing the world for better. I beseech you to be morally obligated not to enforcing religious creed upon others, but to the service of helping others, and know that you are making a huge difference in their lives if you do choose to be an employer that provides birth control to their employees.

I won’t rob a company of their ability to run an honest business, but this still demonstrates a very real cultural oppression. It doesn’t account for real health concerns that come from NOT taking oral contraceptives. It doesn’t account for women who want to double up on both condoms and hormonal birth control to make sure they don’t get pregnant. It doesn’t account for the women who are so poor that they can’t afford a child OR contraception, and can only hope they don’t get raped between the time they are poor and the time they are a little less than poor. It doesn’t account for the fact that condoms are provided for free at certain health clinics (so if that’s the reasoning for not providing oral contraceptives, they should consider keeping those out of the insurance company’s system of providers). It doesn’t account for women who are married, but don’t want anymore children, and still have religiously sanctioned sex. Most infuriatingly, it doesn’t seem to render any changes to existing coverage of vasectomies.

Maybe it’s demanding to expect people to tolerate non-aligned religious beliefs (or lack thereof). Actually, it is demanding, because it’s not easy. It takes every ounce of willpower from me to not badmouth the people who knock on my door telling me to become a Jehovah’s witness, but I don’t. Because I know they are human beings entitled to their own opinions on faith. It is their right to believe what they want to believe, and say what they want to say. It will never be my place to tell them what is right, for them. However, with that in mind, I only hope other extremely religious people have it in them to realize that their actions as a business will dictate the tone of how they treat their employees and their respective personal views. More specifically, how they want to treat women and their real issues.

I will feel tolerated when we stop letting men decide the fate of women’s contraception availability. I will feel tolerated when the amount of employment opportunities for women increases rather than decreases (because now, women will also have to factor in whether their religious beliefs align with their employers’… a problem that men will never have to experience or understand). I will feel tolerated when women’s sexual preferences, health benefits, & family planning are provided by moral obligation, and not given a price that’s unaffordable to other equally-created humans with lower incomes. I will feel tolerated when my interests as a human being are protected against a corporation’s interests.

I just hope that you, as an employer, truly understand the magnitude of your decision when you make it.

 

Good reads related to Hobby Lobby:

NY TIMES: How Hobby Lobby Ruling Could Limit Access to Birth Control

JEZEBEL: Why Women Aren’t People (But Corporations Are)

WSJ: Hobby Lobby Contraceptive Ruling: Key Excerpts from Ginsburg’s Dissent 

6 thoughts

  1. Actually Hobby Lobby doesn’t have to pay for four birth control pills that cause abortions. The other 16 are still covered. It is in the first two paragraphs of the ruling. It is also available at any drug store or at planned parenthood for free.

    1. Thanks for the correction Rachel. I’ve been reading up a bit more since I’ve posted this, and will be making some edits to match the statistics and numbers. However, my stance isn’t changed, only because it still limits availability of probably the most important kind of BC (the kind you would need post-fertilization in situations such as date-rape or other non-consensual circumstances). It also is NOT available for free at drug stores, it costs $45 on average, over-the-counter, without insurance (the insurance which would be funded by said employers, and thus specifically exclude this drug, at their will.). And if you’re lucky enough to be in a state that is more conservative about these matters, the chances of a drug store carrying or even providing it at request is slim decreases dramatically (from 6% to 20% – and higher in lower income communities, who might need it most, given that they cannot afford routine preventative birth control). (Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/02/upshot/how-hobby-lobby-ruling-could-limit-access-to-birth-control.html?_r=0)

      Nonetheless, the fact that lower income people have to request borrowing $50, or give a reason for borrowing the family car to sit in line for 2 hours at the nearest planned parenthood, with a waiver that alerts the employer that, yes, they did in fact, require emergency contraceptive… all of that involves at least twice as many people in the personal life of a woman, raising the barriers of accessibility even higher. That is what bothers me the most.

      Hope this clears up my stance a bit more. Obviously I understand morals are a huge implication here and to demand such a thing is difficult and unfair to someone who strongly disagrees with it, but it is also life changing to many women, and prevents later stage abortions (which I am strongly against), a surplus of children in foster care, and the growth of poverty (by virtue of better family planning).

      Don’t mean to be aggressive, I just wanted to make sure my standing had a more factual basis. I really appreciate your feedback.

      1. I said free at planned parenthood not the drug store. Sorry for the confusion, I should have included a comma. And they are free to work where ever they choose, just like a company should be free to run their business however they choose.

        With $14 an hour someone could easily get birth control without having insurance, that and they can get the other 16 types that are covered in the mandate. Just not the four abortion indusing ones.

      2. None the less, the extremely low number of jobs available to people in general doesn’t allow beggars to be choosers. This will limit the number of companies a woman can work for. I wouldn’t know the minimum wage that Hobby Lobby actually provides, whether 14 per hour is the average or the minimum, but that still would be subject to taxes, to the number of dependents a person has (children, parents, spouse, or extended family, as in some situations). An IUD at times costs $1,000 for an implant, which might be the form of contraception needed for women not able to take oral contraceptives. This is half of a full time $14/hr pay check. And if you include supporting others, this leaves little room for saving money and actually actively changing their economic situation. Routine birth control can cost $25 per month, if you have a pharmacist willing to provide it with no moral objections, which is fine and doable, but the issue I have is not with these. 59% of women take routine birth control for health reasons outside of pregnancy. As far as the ruling goes, a corporation merely has to believe that a pill causes abortion. The issue I have is the fact that the ruling is worded in a way that enables corporations to opt out of contraceptives entirely, even though Hobby Lobby’s SPECIFIC ruling is for abortion inducing contraceptives. If ANY corporation decides they do not believe in contraceptives at all, they are now able to deny this to their employees. (Ruling states: “HHS has also effectively
        exempted religious nonprofit organizations with religious objections
        to providing coverage for contraceptive services.” There is no designation here what kind of contraceptive services those are. It’s up to interpretation. Hobby Lobby may continue to support the other 16, but that doesn’t mean other organizations claiming a religion (which, I don’t even understand how an entire, money-producing organization of many people can claim a religion without becoming either nonprofit or a church, that still baffles me, honestly.)

        That’s great and all that Hobby Lobby will do that, but there is zero guarantee that other corporations will, and this new power basically allows those corporations to use their nebulous judgment to decide the fate of the women in their organizations.

      3. Actually it is their minimum wage. I checked was going to apply there for that reason, I could use $14 an hour instead of what I used to get but got another job beforehand.

        Individual people and businesses have rights. I have the right to run my business how I want. This is why we live in the United States of America. We have freedom of Religion. We are free to exercise religion, which includes how we run our businesses. Don’t like it, don’t work there. Simple enough. To be honest there isn’t that many businesses who will do that. EWTN does but who would work there if you are not Catholic.

        Btw this is probably my last comment. Not because you won. But because neither of us is going to change the others mind.

      4. That and Hobby Lobby pays $14 an hour and covers 16 out of 20 birth control pills. I’m pretty sure you can afford that at $14 an hour if you want to use the 4 they don’t cover.

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