Though I was not surprised at the outcome of the case of Burwell V. Hobby Lobby, I was surprised by my own outrage, and shocked that so many people seem to think this has something to do with religious freedom . I felt sick and angry and really almost frantic. Lately I have jokingly said I’m thinking about leaving the US, about living elsewhere, and this decision has added another straw to my camel’s back; it isn’t yet broken, but we’re getting close. Despite the outcry of victory from the GOP, and the likes of people like Reince Priebus, Bobby Jindal, and Ted Cruz (individuals I have no regard for whatsoever) that this was a case about religious freedom, anyone who believes that has no understanding of what religious freedom is.
Religious freedom is a freedom everyone single person in America has. All of us, no matter what faith that is, or even if we choose, no faith. We have the right to practice the religion of our choice, and we have the right not to practice any religion. Because this is so critical I will re-state this, individuals have religious freedom, entities do not. Businesses are not citizens, they are not individuals, and they do not have freedoms and rights, people have freedoms and rights, business entities are just that. Their owners have the same rights as individuals, but their businesses are not them.
Almost all I’ve read or heard is saying this a women’s issue, and though it is, and it has diminished women in a deeply profound way, it isn’t just a women’s issue; those women who need contraceptives are having sex with men! I have read numerous posts etc. written by women who use some of the contraceptives included in this ruling, and they are using them for reasons other than preventing pregnancy, and of course they should have access to them, but what I hear when people bring up these issues is that at least they’re not using these things to prevent pregnancy, as if that is some dirty, shameful thing.
I’ve heard from multiple sources that 99% of women in the United States use some form of contraceptive, and most of them are trying to avoid pregnancy! And all of them are having sex with men! And quite frankly that is a perfectly acceptable reason to want access to whatever form of birth control you, your partner and doctor feel is the best method for you. Contraceptives aren’t just for sluts and whores (and I apologize for using those words, and my implication is that is what these male Justices, and most of the males of the GOP seem to think). Contraceptives are used by women and their male partners, some are married, and some aren’t, and regardless, the choice to engage in sex without risk of pregnancy is no one’s concern beyond theirs.
Add to this insanity the premise that these few (sic) methods are being banned not because they actually are abortifacients, when in actual fact they are not, but because the ignorant, and wealthy owners of Hobby Lobby seem to think they are. This case actually reached the Supreme Court and it is based on misinformation, and some fictional belief of religious zealots who feel they have the right to make decisions for their female employees!
Even more disturbing to me is the implied judgement that of you are poor (and I think in the eyes of the GOP poor=black/hispanic) you don’t deserve to have sex, and if you do have sex, your punishment is an unwanted child. I say this because it is these women who rely on subsidies to have access to contraception. They are poor! They often choose between feeding their kids and paying for their electricity, and what I infer from the righteous judgements and proclamations coming from the right is that these women have no business engaging in anything as pleasurable as sex, that is for rich white men, and women who can afford their IUDs, pills, etc.
What I keep circling back to in my head is the play Lysistrata by Aristophanes, in which the women of Greece decide that the best way to convince the Men of Greece to end the Peloponnesian War is to withhold sex from their husbands until peace is declared. I wonder how fast men would find a way around this ruling if the women of the US tried this. No sex until every woman has free access to whatever birth control she chooses! (This would probably reduce the number of abortions legal and otherwise are being performed now.) The odds of this happening are pretty slim, but maybe our plan B can be to get a Democratic majority back in the house, and make sure we put a Democrat in the white house in 2016.