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Category Archives: birth control

Hobby Lobby Needs a New Hobby

The Supreme Court heard Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, last week, which asks the justices to consider whether for-profit companies can refuse certain types of medical coverage, citing religious objections. Hobby Lobby President Steve Green stated, “We do not have a problem with contraceptives . . . it is those that are abortive in nature—that is when it becomes a problem for us.”

As women are now blessed to have full contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the basis of this complaint, I maintain, is discriminatory in nature. Only contraceptives used by women are at question, like the morning after pill and the IUD. Hobby Lobby contends that these birth control methods are abortifacients, which they are not. Perhaps before allowing a case to come before the Supreme Court, the lawyers representing the organization should be required to take a class on how these methods actually prevent pregnancy.

The morning after pill prevents an egg from fertilizing but if the fertilized egg is already implanted in the uterus, it will not. Likewise, the IUD makes the uterus a hostile environment for the sperm so that the sperm can’t make it to the egg and the egg doesn’t want to hang out there.

Hobby Lobby is pushing, with this case, for corporations to be recognized as religious. Um . . . we already have that provision for not-for-profit religious organizations. They are called churches. And synagogues. And mosques. If the owners of Hobby Lobby want to go open a church and call it Hobby Church and not provide birth control and abortion to their employees, go for it. But you’re not going to make money off consumers who want to buy model air plane kits if you don’t obey the law like all the other companies.

Here’s some background on this company.Image

Hobby Lobby is a privately held, for-profit corporation with 13,000 employees. It’s owned by a trust managed by the Green family, devout Christians who run the company based on biblical principles. They close their stores on Sundays; start staff meetings with Bible readings, pay above minimum wage, and use a Christian-based mediation practice to resolve employee disputes. The Greens are even attempting to build a Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC. [Mother Jones, 3/21/14]

The Greens feel that they are being forced to pick between their religious convictions or pay penalties. This is why we have that lovely piece in our constitution on the “separation of church and state.” Where does one draw the line on religious convictions in these circumstances? What if a company is run by Christian Scientists who oppose all sorts of medical intervention? Then you’ll have no coverage. What if it is a company run by Jehovah’s Witnesses? You won’t be covered for blood transfusions or dialysis, for starters. Here we are again, at the precipice of a slippery slope. Let’s hope the Supreme Court, already divided on this one by gender (surprise!), makes a decision that keeps religious beliefs out of capitalism and allows women to have the same access to healthcare wherever they choose to work.

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The Childless Feminist

A few weeks ago I posted a link to The Current Conscience, a blog by LA feminist and writer, Yashar Ali (yes, he is a man!).  I Don’t Want to Have Kids.  There were 13 likes and 10 comments.  The article struck a chord with many of my friends, particularly those who are women.  It felt good to see that many women felt like I did:  frustrated, pressured and not valued for our choices. So for today’s blog I thought I would write down all the things people have said to me about my choice, my very personal choice, to contribute to society in a different way than my friends and family who have children.

“That’s the biggest mistake you’ll ever make.”
“It’s good you know you’d be a bad parent.”
“You’re too young to make that decision.”
“You’re not too old” (Told this at 42 & 43 years old)
“There’s nothing better in this world than having children.”
“Why?”
“But you’d make such a good mom.”
“But being pregnant is so amazing.”
“Who will take care of you when you are old?”  This question assumes that ALL children care for their aging parent, and this we know is not the case.
“Wow.”

I would love to have readers add to this list.  My sister, who is 28, and her fiance, are starting to feel this same pressure.  What’s frustrating about this is that she is 15 years younger than me, yet she is getting the same exact pressure from society.  Why do we continue to remain stagnant or even go backwards as a culture?  I also wonder if I would be questioned the same way if I was in a relationship with a woman rather than a man?  Is this compulsory heterosexuality at work or some other term we haven’t coined?  Compulsory motherhood?

Take for instance the recent debates about contraception.  Really?  In 2012 a hot button topic of the Republican race for President is going to be whether women should have the right to contraception or not?  It makes me sick.  Our Ophthalmologist recently told us of a study she read (she is the mother of twins) that the happiest people in U.S. society are actually couples without children.  Remember the term DINKs?  Apparently as much as people claim that having children is the “best thing ever,” it turns out the happiest people are those without the pressures of children.

Yet I remain proud that I have chosen, with my own free will, and in deep discussion with my partner, that we will choose to be a wonderful Aunt and Uncle to our nieces and nephews.  We will continue to value the precious time we have together as a couple.

 

Oppression Renamed

As I’m making the slow drive to New Hampshire last Friday to see one of my besties home from Switzerland, I am listening to the “breaking news” on NPR about Obama’s plan to allow ALL women to obtain birth control in the year of our Lord, 2012. 

In a political move called compromise, the President bows slightly to the right and instead puts the onus on the insurance companies to cover the costs of women’s birth control.  If you haven’t followed the story, a quick recap:  Obama wanted to give all women in the U.S. birth control coverage under their health insurance no matter who was funding that insurance.  Previously, if a woman worked for a Catholic owned (or other religious affiliated institution)  organization, they could set up the health insurance to only provide services that did not conflict with their religious views and beliefs. 

The compromise forces insurance companies, who are contracted with these religious institutions, to cover the birth control so the organization won’t feel as if it’s “religious freedom” is being messed with.   The outcry by bishops was all the rage that Friday as I drove slowly toward Rt. 3 North.  And this outrage was expressed soley as Obama messing with religious freedom, the very foundation of our country.

Hmmmm.  So let’s break this down.  We are forcing the Catholic Church, the majority of whose female members USE birth control, to allow insurance companies to provide this birth control. I didn’t hear any women complaining about this.  The only people whining on the radio where men who felt that their religious freedom was being called into question.  Statistically speaking, Catholics are also the highest percentage of any religious group to get abortions.  (I wonder if this is connected to their inability to obtain birth control).

I am very uncomfortable with the term “religious freedom” being used in this matter.  For me, religious freedom allows anyone in this country to practice whatever religion they choose.  It does not, however, allow an institution like the Catholic Church to supersede federal laws providing equity for the protected class of women in this country. 

And lastly, because you know I could really drone on and on about this topic, I ask when will the Catholic Church and some of these right wing fundamental organizations come in to the 21st century and realize that controlling one’s family size and fertility should be in no way connected to anything religious?  This is an economic issue and one that speaks to the very core of women’s equality.  If a woman is not allowed to choose when and if to have a family she cannot be considered equal. 

This whole topic is ONLY a debate because it lies on the backs and belly’s of women.  I keep thinking this issue of reproductive rights will be resolved in my lifetime, but as I add 43 to my birth years, I am amazed at how now we are pitting reproductive rights opposite religious freedom.  It’s time the male leaders of the Catholic Church step back and leave women’s bodies out of their doctrine. 

And while I am not happy with Obama’s compromise, I have to give him credit for actually giving a damn that women weren’t getting equal coverage in birth control.  He’s the first one to take this on and that itself is worthy of note.

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critical reflections on my feminist praxis: activism, motherhood, and life

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Providing weekly critiques of theatre, film, books, politics and pop culture from a feminist perspective.