So the SCOTUS ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby today, vis-a-vis their religious right to deny access to birth control to their employees on religious grounds. The internet is, unsurprisingly, shitting a collective brick, and I’m just sitting here noticing that liberal media coverage of this sad day is not only shooting themselves in the foot, but they’re practically blowing the damned thing off. This is why we can’t have nice things!
I prefer not to associate myself with certain labels when it comes to my personal and political beliefs, and I wish people would do the same, because not only does it feel like we’re boxing ourselves into our labels, we start blindly following the leaders and the media who identify themselves the same way that we do. So while my personal beliefs are widely considered to be liberal, I don’t identify myself as one, and it’s allowed me to take a much more objective perspective. And that objective perspective has led me to realize that the liberal media is full of shit, and it’s no wonder this country is still so fucked up.
For those of you who have only read the titles of articles discussing the SCOTUS ruling in Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby, you may not actually know that the ruling allows Hobby Lobby to deny only four of the twenty available types of birth control that its insurance plan otherwise covers, namely emergency contraception that they believe is akin to abortion (whether or not that’s true is not the point). Employees are still free to seek out these four forms of birth control elsewhere, and honestly, they’re not particularly costly. So what’s wrong with that? Well, nothing, if you look at it on the surface, but the issues run much deeper, and the liberal media is actively fucking that up.
Every liberal article I’ve read about the SCOTUS ruling states that Hobby Lobby is now able to deny contraception to its employees. Think about that. Contraception. Not some forms of contraception, but the whole goddamned spectrum. Now anyone who decides not to read the whole article is going to think that Hobby Lobby is denying all forms of birth control to their employees, and those who do read are going to go in with tainted judgment. Liberal media is doing what conservative media does all the time – cherry picking information and using buzzwords that convolute the underlying problems they’re covering so as to put their own agenda in the forefront, and thereby widening the gap between liberalism and conservatism. So the focus is now shifting back to not what the SCOTUS ruling means, but about the us versus them black and white mentality that has kept this country at a dysfunctional standstill.
So what does the ruling ACTUALLY mean? Well, let me take a crack at it.
October of last year, I was still working at Peet’s, and thereby had Kaiser as my health insurance, before the ACA went into full effect. I had, up to that point, been debating for some time about getting an IUD, because I’d had one too many scares using condoms, and the pill was becoming increasingly difficult for me to keep up with because I was working two jobs with inconsistent schedules. So I finally decided to do it, thinking I was going to have to put down around 500 bucks to have something that wasn’t any bigger than my thumbnail wedged up into my ladybits to lock down my uterus for five years, because if there’s such hubbub about birth control pills, how could this completely voluntary procedure be covered by my insurance? I mean, my birth control pills were partially covered, so why wouldn’t I have to pay full price for an IUD? Imagine my surprise when I found out my company-paid insurance policy actually covered the full cost of my IUD, so I paid nothing out of pocket beyond my 20 dollar office visit copay. I thought that wow, maybe we’re actually learning in this country that a woman’s rights to her reproductive health are important and worth the investment. But then SCOTUS ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby and I realized that I was wrong.
The problem that I have with the SCOTUS ruling is the same problem that everyone else has with it – that once again, the rights to a woman’s body and her reproductive health were put in the hands of men who have precisely zero right to interfere with them. The base argument is, of course the usual “Pay for your birth control yourself then! Don’t have sex if you don’t want to have babies! How would you feel if we made you pay for something you didn’t believe in?” et al. And to a certain extent, I agree with it. A woman should have control over her sexual health, and it’s not anyone else’s responsibility. If you want to have sex and not make babies, the burden of responsibility is on YOU AND YOUR PARTNER, not me. The problem with this ruling, however, is two-fold. One, it grossly interferes with a woman’s ability to access birth control, and second, the problem isn’t what this ruling is on the surface, but everything that it REPRESENTS.
The dichotomy between men and women is pretty obvious to anyone with half a brain, but along with the societal implications, we also have to consider the biological ones. Men do not carry babies. They can make them, but if they decide to cut and run, what on earth is a woman going to do about it? That’s why I emphasized earlier that sexual responsibility is the duty of the two consenting partners, not anyone else. But once a woman becomes pregnant, her decisions are shackled to that pregnancy because she is the one carrying the fetus – the man can choose to stay, or he can choose to leave, because he’s not physically connected to his offspring at any time. Sound unfair? Well, it is, but it’s biology. There’s not a whole lot to be done about it. So while a man’s burden of responsibility doesn’t necessarily end at conception, he is now presented with the choice of whether or not he wants to take it. A woman’s sexual responsibility begins the minute she becomes sexually active and remains whether she is pregnant or not – she doesn’t have a choice, nor is she ever presented with one. It’s easy to say that a woman should just not have sex if she doesn’t want to get pregnant, but no one tells that to men, now do they? That’s because, once again, a man can make the decision to forgo responsibility for the child he sired, and women shouldn’t be denied the same joy that is sex and intimacy just because they never are presented with a choice. It’s an argument that reduces women to second class citizens because it revokes a second right on top of the one they already lost simply by being born with a vagina. Removing or inhibiting rights to birth control is just a reinforcement of the idea that women should not be allowed to experience sex or pleasure because they are not equal to men, but in fact are meant to be baby factories with no choice or say in the matter. So it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for women to be sexually responsible when you start taking all of her ability to be sexually responsible away.
So what does this have to do with Hobby Lobby winning the right to deny emergency contraception? The problem is that it’s going to be the groundwork laid down for more conservative men to continue the sad trend they’ve been on for the past few centuries – legalized sexism. The legitimate right to reduce women to second-class citizen status under the umbrella term “religious rights.” It’s opening the door to all kinds of religious whackadoodles who run corporations to deny their employees equal protection. One corporation could deny all forms of birth control because it’s against their religious beliefs. Another can refuse to extend insurance to the same sex partners of their homosexual employees because their religion condemns homosexuality. It’s taking the small amount of progress we’ve managed to make in terms of equal rights and representation and undoing it with interest. It’s giving another legal platform to those who want to set fire to the constitution and continue to put this country under the jurisdiction of heterosexual(ish) Christian men. So Sebelius vs. Hobby Lobby isn’t just about giving a corporation a right to practice its religion, which is completely wrong on its own. It’s about white male Christian America trying to take back control.