I Have Faith in Women

This is one of the most difficult times I've ever had approaching the "Publish" button. Please be respectful and feel free to skip this post if you do not want to read about my response to yesterday's Supreme Court decision pertaining to birth control.
In case you don't live in the U.S. or slept through all of yesterday, here's your update: this happened.

I have a lot of very, very, very strong feelings about this. I'm fully admitting that I am terrified to post all of them here. But I'm more afraid of letting things like this happen to women without ensuring that these types of things are discussed and shared and processed and understood.

I have just a couple of things I want to say, and then I beg you to go and do some googling. I believe 99.9% of you, my dear readers, are women, and I really, really want you to know what the Supreme Court thinks of you.
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Five of the Supreme Court justices believe that "religious freedom" means "freedom to force the public or a portion of to adhere to a religion that a some other people chose to enter into and that has zero legal standing in the United States of America."

The majority of Supreme Court justices — excluding Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and three others — believe that corporations are people, and that they are more entitled to human rights and protection under law than living and breathing and tax-paying women.

Five of the Supreme Court justices think that they and any delusional corporation are better able to determine safe and healthy practices for your body than you and your doctor. I, ludicrously, it seems, have faith in women's autonomy, and a woman's ability to make informed choices for herself.

More than half of the Supreme Court justices believe that birth control and abortion are basically the same thing. Tangentially related, the majority of the Supreme Court justices forgot, apparently, that Roe v. Wade happened more than four decades ago and, even if they don't like it {which is perfectly fine} and if they choose not to participate in one {great!}, abortion is legal by the standards with which we measure legality in the United States.

More than half of the Supreme Court justices do not understand that "religious freedom" does not entitle employers to insert their religion into the uteruses of women they employ.

{Oh and those who are defending the decision and yelling "Those women who want their whore pills can go work elsewhere" have essentially zero concept of the U.S. economy and hurdles in the U.S. workplace and job market that specifically, if not intentionally, target women.}

An unsettling and disturbing amount of people, including five Supreme Court justices, do not believe women {and their trained, educated, and licensed doctors} are capable of determining the safest and best practices for their reproductive system.

An obscene amount of people do not understand that though many women use birth control for family planning purposes and to prevent unwanted pregnancy {which is not only okay, but a good thing — preventing a pregnancy that is not wanted is always preferable to terminating a pregnancy that is unwanted, or birthing and abandoning or poorly raising a child that was unwanted}, there are countless women who use hormonal birth control for reasons unrelated to preventing pregnancy.

There are women like me who have endometriosis. There are women like me who have collapsed Fallopian tubes. There are women like me who have wildly out of control cysts growing in their breasts. There are women like my peers with ovarian cysts, women who have had or may have ectopic pregnancies, women for whom pregnancy is a death sentence. There are women who rely on birth control to harness the effects of such horrors as autoimmune thrombocytopenia. There are women like us who use birth control so that we may lead healthy lives and minimize the excruciating pain we are cursed to endure by virtue of being born genetically female. And the Supreme Court and millions of unaware people don't give a shit about us.

They believe it is more appropriate to put women's lives at risk than to risk... well, I dunno, what exactly are they personally risking when women have access to birth control? Hurt feelings? The need to clutch pearls? I guess they never turn on the news and or read about the actual horrible shit that goes on day after day. Stuff like human trafficking and rape and all that.

I'm not sure if people think that access to birth control means everyone has to take birth control and there shall be nothing but wild sex parties for everyone and no babies shall ever be born again ever, but if so, let me clarify: No, it doesn't.

I'm sure there are plenty of people who don't understand that restricted access to birth control is discriminatory toward women and the poor, that it targets the uneducated and less fortunate, and that it undoubtedly leads to unsafe conditions for women and worsens conditions for teen girls, impoverished women, and minority women. Lack of birth control accessibility will lead to an increase in unwanted pregnancy, and I don't want to have to spell out what happens after that.

I could cry thinking about all the people who believe "religious freedom" means it is their duty to force their choice on half of the nation without any consideration for their safety, well-being, and quality of life.

If corporations want to deny women access to birth control on the grounds of "religious freedom," I have a very hard time taking that at face value until they also determine to regulate employees' consumption of shellfish, tattoos, and haircuts on the grounds of "religious freedom." Until "religious freedom" protects a religion other than Christianity, or restricts health-based practices barred from religions other than Christianity such as blood transfusions, and until the very corporations wanting not to cover women's birth control discontinue their coverage of vasectomies and Viagra prescriptions, you will have a hard time convincing me this ruling is not another step forward for the religious war on women.

{Psst! Very much worth reading: "If Hobby Lobby Wins, Pro-Life Christians Lose," penned for The Huffington Post: Religion by Rev. Richard Cizik.}

I would like to respectfully request that for-profit corporations whose executives believe their companies have valid religious objections and those who believe their religion gives them the right to legally discriminate against women and endanger them take their religion behind closed doors, as they demand we do with our "displeasing" behaviors. Because I have never seen a display of homosexuality or femininity that is as dangerous and invasive and harmful as what these decisions and beliefs are doing to gays and girls.

Note: I realize the limitations of this ruling and that Hobby Lobby specifically had issues with only four types of birth control. However, I'm addressing the larger debate we are still, for some reason I can't comprehend, having about birth control as a nation. Also, it's all important because: precedent, misinformation perpetuation, discrimination, slippery slope.

Also note: I am not anti-religion or anti-Christian. I do not subscribe to one personally, but I wholeheartedly support your right to live by yours and to practice it in your daily life and observe your religious principles in your home and house of worship.
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If you are inclined to comment here and to devalue my character for holding these opinions, you are wasting your time because it will be deleted. If you would like to disagree with me using logic, substantiated facts, and articulate language free from name-calling or the like, please do!

If you are in support of what I've expressed here and are not inclined to comment, no worries — but please do go forth and be sure you and the women you love are educated and informed of their rights {and lack thereof}.

Comments

  1. This is so well written and I highly suggest you submit it to Huffington Post - seriously!! It amazes me how this is supposedly the most free country in the world and yet there are people that decide things like this...randomly selected people that have no idea what their actions will do, or maybe they do and just don't care!! I am so sorry that you have to go through so many things with your health...I was off BC for a little while a few years ago and got a terrible ruptured cyst on my ovary and my doctor said it was because of not being on BC...so on it I went to save myself the pain of ever enduring that again!! We'll see what happens when we try to have a child - but I'm very happy that you wrote this! I'm 100% with you!!

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  2. Whatever happened to separation of church and state does that not apply because its federal? Also, Im not religious at all and don't believe so why should I have to succumb to someone else's beliefs? It makes no sense to me at all. I have been on birth control since I was 14 at first to help with my severe cramps and irregularity now I take it to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Hello the middle and lower classes already struggle, adding children that we cannot afford will only make it worse. UGH this fires me up!

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  3. My opinion about having a select few people decide that I am not a competent enough being to make decisions for myself being the dumbest f*cking thing on the planet aside, I give you this to hopefully give you a chuckle: http://cdn.someecards.com/someecards/filestorage/hobby-lobby-birth-control-insurance-condom-funny-ecard-oln.png

    And also this: http://cdn.someecards.com/someecards/filestorage/fourth-of-july-independence-day-vagina-birth-control-america-government-jLd.png

    Excuse me while I go find some other crazy things to do, like wear pants, before that becomes a problem too.

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  4. Girl this post.....I am so glad you published it. So well written! I am so freaking sickened by this whole ordeal especially with what I see on a daily basis in the health care industry. I really have no words...(or at least no constructive things to say) so major kuddos to you to be able to settle your rage and write this beautifully eloquently written piece. I agree with B submit this to the Post it needs to be shared!

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  5. First, this is so well written I third that you submit it all over the internet for all the people to read.
    Second, what has happened is so beyond ridiculous it makes me sick. It makes me want to move back home - how can America be so in front in regards to pretty much everything, yet so behind with something like this? It's not just birth control, it's the way pregnancy + delivery is handled here, it's your tampons, health insurance, it's so many other things that make America look 100 years behind everyone else. Seriously, it is so sickening. Do you know how much it costs me to have a baby back home? Zero. No, not a couple hundred or a couple thousand - zero dollars. We have a whole aisle full of tampons and condoms and here you have one little square. People are afraid to let sex take over the world, but what they don't realise is that it won't and they are stupid. Gah. I'm sorry I'm not so good with the words, but anyway. It is people shoving religion down other peoples throats and forcing their beliefs. It is ridiculous. Did this seriously just happen?! Gah.

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  6. Great post - glad you had the courage to post it.

    I have ovarian cysts and also used to take the pill for acne. Like you said, many women use the pill for more than (or something other than) preventing pregnancy.

    I don't think it's that shocking the three of the four judges who were not in favor of Hobby Lobby were women. Even more importantly is the slippery slope factor...if we excuse this on account of religion, what else can be excused?

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  7. thank for hitting publish even if it was scary. and also thank you for posting an informed and intellectual post. There are too many people that just argue for the sake of arguing and never choose to hear the other side or their view is so misguided. People may have their opinion and that is their right, but they should never get to decide what a woman does with your own life and body. UGHHH

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  8. i know that there are some heavy religious people out there who are over the top so i can imagine how scary it was for you to hit publish.

    i cant even begin to imagine this happening; restricting access is not right - a person knows what's best for THEM, not some court.

    in canada, there were tons of rulings that are pro-choice and our government protects the rights of women and empowering them to make decisions for themselves (when it comes to abortions). it's not that we "support" abortion per se, but we support the CHOICE that women can make for themselves and the courts do not interfere with the reason why a woman chooses to have an abortion. birth control is covered under regular drug plans and to my knowledge, has never been made into any court case to restrict them.

    -kathy
    Vodka and Soda

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  9. So well written hun. Legally corporations are considered 'people' and have equal rights before the court. As an attorney I get that, I really do, but this decision is just wrong. Sadly I see too often that judicial decisions made on a 'legal' standing affect real people's lives. Again, as an attorney I probably contributed to horribly unfair decision in the past and sometimes it pains me to think that Law, a subject I love can be used to hurt so many. As you know, Im not from the US but Ive read soooo many articles about this today and it really outrages me.

    I for one have PCOS (polycystic ovaries). While I had stopped BC for other reasons earlier this year, I have to go back on (possibly tomorrow after a docs appt). What would happen to people like me or you in such a case. I think its absurd that anyone gets to chose and impose their beliefs on others.

    I love that you wrote this and I say kudos for giving your voice to the issue!

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  10. So ridiculous. I don't understand. Honestly, I have no words b/c it just leaves me flabbergasted that this is even still an issue in our country!

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  11. This is a hard topic but kudos to you for handling it well.
    I am too much a libertarian to like most decisions the government makes. I think the government is too intrusive and too involved in our lives.
    That being said, I do believe in religious liberty and that any person can start a private company and thy should have the right to run the company how they like. I know that hobby lobby pays higher than min wage and offers great health care. I also know that there are 16 options for birth control they offer and they objected to 4, which leaves 12 others to chose from.

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  12. Sorry I hit publish accidentally.
    Fundamentally though, I don't think the government has the right to tell anyone what he or she can or cannot take or do with their bodies.

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  13. Well said, my friend. I'm right there with you. This is truly infuriating.

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  14. There's so much I want to say right now but I'd basically just be reiterating everything you said. I think this is a very slippery slope and it's really scary to think about what the ramifications might be. The most infuriating thing to me is how much cognitive dissonance there is when it comes to these issues.
    Also you should never, ever be afraid to speak your mind! I'm glad you spoke up - like you said, it's too important not to.

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  15. Preach my friend!!! This is coming from the nice 0.1% of your male readership! I'm all for religious freedom, by all means believe in whatever mythical beings you want, but when it imposes on another persons social freedoms I have a major issue. The Supreme Court botched this one and they need to reevaluate there thinking on this issue.

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  16. so i have been debating on whether or not to post because eventually because you and i disagree on the SCOTUS's decision, you will probably ultimately delete my comment why because you say you have faith in women but you don't have faith in women you happen to disagree with you. personally I believe the SCOTUS got this decision right for now why because it choices are allowed to continue, choices of how a person wants to conduct their business whether religious or not. out of the 4 birth controls that Hobby Lobby didnt agree with, they were abortion inducing birth controls and you mention having endometriosis, i'm sure your birth control is still on the list of what they would be willing to pay for and if not then you would have the choice of getting off of Hobby Lobby's insurance, getting on a state or federal government program or going down to Walgreens or Rite Aid and buying the morning Plan B pill out of your own pocket and that is your choice.

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    Replies
    1. Well, I'm not quite sure why you think I will delete your comment, as long as you don't use it to be verbally abusive or inappropriate. And I'm also not quite sure why you say I don't have faith in women who disagree with me, because I don't really see anything I wrote that would lead you to that conclusion.

      I know there are PLENTY of people who disagree with me — it's what makes the world go 'round, of course. But I am firmly behind everything I said, and I do in fact have both anecdotal and factual evidence to support my stance, whereas I haven't been presented with either factual or anecdotal evidence that would lead me to a different opinion. I'm fine with agreeing to disagree, but I am also able to articulate my opinion, which you saw above.

      However I'm also not sure that you did see all of what I wrote above, because I addressed several items your comment took issue with. I also am not anything but a blogger here, who identifies as a feminist and has a strong opinion, and I don't think this comments section is the best place to debate our sides — especially since I'm not entirely sure what point you're trying to make other than that you think I'm wrong {I'm sorry, but your comment is a bit difficult to decipher in some areas.}. And since you did not provide an email address, this is the only way I can respond.

      All I do want to point out to you and make sure everyone understands, however, is that those four birth control options {emergency contraception and IUDs} are NOT abortion-inducing. They prevent pregnancy, and that is all. In addition, abortion is a legal medical procedure here in the U.S. and has been for 43 years. And finally, the Supreme Court's decision does in fact extend so that any privately-held company {and there are many affected by this ruling; don't be fooled by the "narrow ruling" headlines that initially broke the news} can refuse to cover any and all types of female birth control, including hormonal contraceptives that prevent pregnancy.

      That all said, I do respect your right to your opposing opinion and will not remove your comment as long as it's not disrespectful or harassing. However, as I noted in my post, one of my biggest concerns here is the perpetuation of inaccurate information, such as the theory about contraception that I addressed in my last paragraph.

      Thanks for sharing your opinion and have a good rest of your day.

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  17. I adore it when bloggers are brave - good for you! While there is the argument that you can go work somewhere else if you don't like it, there is now a precedent set for companies in the future to enact similar policies under the umbrella of "religious beliefs" (which you said, much more eloquently). Access to IUDs and *even* the morning after pill is not giving other insured Americans carte blanche to kill babies. On the other hand, while I wholeheartedly disagree with SCOTUS' ruling and the specific area it pertained to, I also see the Court's point that no entity can force a business to follow a specific set of rules. Unfortunately, I think we will have to take the good with the bad in this one, even though the implications of the bad are more immediately felt (and also, they suck).

    That said, I see that you lost a follower for this, but you just gained a new one :)

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  18. Why am I reading this 8 months after the fact? This is THE BEST article I've read on this subject and is articulated so perfectly that I want to share it everywhere. I agree so whole-heartedly with everything you said, and also gained a new perspective on the issue as I'd never considered how such a ruling could affect those who take birth control for reasons other than to prevent pregnancy. Really, you should should be insanely, overwhelmimgly, completely proud of this post!

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