In 2010, the Affordable Care Act and The Patient Protection Act were signed into legislations for a plethora of reasons to better provide health care to all people. One would think “all” people includes women, correct? Well, the Patient Protection Act did a great job of limiting insurance companies’ power to charge higher rates to women, just because we are women, but now by law they must charge men and women equally. Under casual inspection, this would seem to be leading the healthcare system one step closer to equality under the American Healthcare System.
However, many people, corporations, and even entire States have an issue with women being able to access affordable and safe reproductive health measures. Many people do not understand that ‘reproductive health’ is an umbrella term. The World Health Organization discusses it as the implication that people are able to have responsible, consensual, and safe sex; where people are able to reproduce and have the freedom to decide if and when to do so based on having access to safe, effective, affordable, and acceptable methods of fertility regulation of THEIR CHOICE.
This is where things get a little fishy…
As a woman, I should have the right to choose whether or not I want to have sex and whether or not I want to have a child. I should be able to choose what method of fertility regulation (birth control) I want and I should be able to access it in a safe and affordable manner. However, the Supreme Court rules differently. In keeping with the belief that corporations can be viewed as people, for-profit corporations such as Hobby Lobby are able to discriminate against their female employees by denying them birth control coverage. There are five major issues with this court decision that I see:
1. The Supreme Court is holding corporations higher than women’s health rights.
2. None of Hobby Lobby’s legal arguments are based on evidence based research, but rather an outdated 1993 law.
3. Hobby Lobby invests in companies that manufacture birth control, which goes directly against their religious beliefs and legal arguments (basically a huge contradiction for the sake of money).
4. They have no problem paying for male birth control procedures (e.g. vasectomies).
5. The majority of what they sell in their stores is made in China, the country with the largest percentage of forced abortions.
The conversation surrounding how birth control saves EVERYONE money in the long run is for another day. The rising costs of birth control today can run a lady more than a month of her wages.
Now to be clear, the Hobby Lobby debate is not about abortion. It is about women’s rights. I should not have to discuss my birth control method of choice with my boss; that is a conversation between me and my doctor. My boss should not have a say in whether I choose abstinence, the patch, the pill, an IUD, condoms, or any other method I see fit. Outside of that, many women use birth control strictly for medical reasons (i.e. Acne, anemia, debilitating cramps, etc…).
The fact that 90% of all businesses could potentially go to court, and deny women reproductive freedom gives me the shivers, and should cause an uproar. If we are allowing this decision to be made, all religious rights could be equally assessed: such as religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (some Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations (Christian Scientists, among others). The decision is not narrow, unless you believe 90% of corporations are narrow…
If you want more information regarding the situation with Hobby Lobby and the Supreme Court, here is some more background on the issue: