For some reason, women who desire to take care of their bodies -- especially through preventative measures -- are terrifying to some large corporations. Yesterday, five of the nine Supreme Court justices decided that Hobby Lobby was human and that women were not, ruling that certain kinds of companies don't have to cover the costs of specific types of birth control for their employees.
Afterward, I saw many a Facebook spat over our "overreaction" to the ruling; some folks were saying it wasn't a big deal or that they didn't care because it didn't affect them. But here's the thing: when the Supreme Court gives the same rights to companies as it does to people, we have a problem. And when people are denied certain freedoms to take care of their bodies in a safe, effective and affordable way, we have a problem. All of us.
So, what really happened yesterday? The Supreme Court ruled that "closely-held" corporations can refuse to cover certain forms of contraception in their health plans if they are opposed to them from a religious standpoint.
But its seems to me that Hobby Lobby is using religion as a way to distract people from the larger issue of women's (human) rights. When a company actively covers Viagra but won't pay for medication that both prevents pregnancy and provides other health benefits to women -- a message is being sent loud and clear: That 50 percent of the world's population is less valuable than the other half.
But what about the fact that this ruling means that while Hobby Lobby no longer has to cover specific forms of birth control because of its/their religious beliefs -- like emergency contraceptive pills and intrauterine devices -- it may still cover other forms like the pill? Why is that dangerous? This Supreme Court decision is like cracking a door that will eventually get swung wide open -- what if other corporations decide they too want to institute religious beliefs that will cut into healthcare coverage?
It's a gateway to dismantling the workings of the Affordable Care Act, and in turn, creating more ways to remove healthcare access and choices from people who need it. As my mother taught me a long time ago, when limitations are slowly set upon our rights, that only leads to an eventual total overhaul. When we say it is okay to take certain rights away, we are consenting to a longer-term diminishment.
The ruling also imposes one corporation's beliefs onto another person's body. For instance, if you think, "Hey, maybe the morning after pill isn't a good idea, and corporations shouldn't have to pay for something that was created for people who make 'bad choices?", well guess what: we don't get to decide these things for anyone else. A morning after-pill is still preventative and it is still up to the human whose body is taking it to decide why she is taking that step. It is not anyone else's moral or religious obligation to say whether she is making the right choice. It should be covered just like any other healthcare, just like any other form of birth control.
And what if you yourself are not a heterosexual female? Why should you care about women having access to healthcare? I think of it like this: I advocate for equal rights for people of color. I have marched at the State Capitol in support of the global LGBTQIA community. I've spent a good amount of time highlighting and speaking out against what I see and believe to be classism in every day life. So, even though I myself am a white, cisgendered, heterosexual female who comes from a working class background, I believe all people should be granted the same freedoms. I have a personal interest in what happens to all people.
What I'm saying is, this ruling isn't a gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity or class-specific problem. It's a human problem. We are all humans, and when important entities like the Supreme Court decide that corporations have the right to push religious-based agendas that limit individual's choices and rights when it comes to their bodies, that's everyone's problem.
And finally, this argument: What if I don't shop at Hobby Lobby anyway? Why should I care about this ruling if I don't support the particular corporation in the first place?
Because you live in this country too, the same country that the people who work at Hobby Lobby live in. And when the Supreme Court decides that a corporation is a person with religious beliefs but a woman is not a person free to take care of her body as she chooses and sees fit, that's a problem for everyone. Because again, when we pull back the social constructs around gender and sexuality, we are all the same kind of human being, and no corporation should be telling us what to do with our bodies.
Our main woman the Notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg did an awesome job of expressing her complete disgust with the ruling her counterparts made yesterday. For those of us on her side of the ruling, it was a call to action.
Do you value body autonomy? I do. And I don't plan on giving up my rights any time soon.
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