BY DR. AMY TIEMANN I am a pretty unflappable person but I was enraged by last week’s Supreme Court (#SCOTUS) decisions that blatantly discriminated against women. I am not sure who I am more angry at: the men on the Supreme Court who invented specious religious rights to corporations, in and doing so elevated those rights above the religious, moral, equal and self-autonomous rights of women; or women who buy into the arguments that “nobody owes you birth control–if you don’t like it, get a job somewhere else.” As if in this fragile economy, that is even an option! But women should not be willing to be marginalized in our health care. Contraception is an essential part of women’s health care, and to ask that it is covered in health insurance is not a free ride, it is giving us the health care we deserve and have paid for.
It is not in any woman’s self-interest to side with blatant sex discrimination and I wonder what it would take to change those women’s minds. Would it help to know that Hobby Lobby is incredibly hypocritical in the way they are approaching the issue of contraception? Hobby Lobby is against forms of female contraception that they SAY is equivalent to abortion, which is just not at all scientifically true. Preventing a fertilized egg from implanting is not an abortion, and that is not even how hormonal birth controls and IUDs work. The fact that the Supreme Court specifically said that the religious beliefs do not have to be true, but just sincerely held, to be protected is just another mind-blowing aspect of this case.
But back to Hobby Lobby’s hypocrisy: 3/4 of its employee investment fund options include investing in companies that include contraception and abortion services. If Hobby Lobby offering employees health insurance that the employees and doctors may independently choose to implement women’s health care including contraception is too immoral/involved for Hobby Lobby, how could it possibly be okay to offer Hobby Lobby employee investment plans that fund other companies that provide contraception and abortion?
And, Hobby Lobby covers vasectomies and Viagra for men. Don’t tell me that the only difference here is that neither of these involves a fertilized egg–and Viagra use could definitely lead to the formation of fertilized eggs and unplanned pregnancies, by the way. The difference is that Viagra and vasectomies are about men’s sexuality, which conservatives don’t feel the need to control and regulate. And I believe that is the true heart of this issue and debate: conservatives are wiling to let men have sex without consequence (including procuring abortions for their wives and girlfriends when needed, while trying to ban abortion for all other women), but need to control and women’s sexual behavior with punitive, restrictive policies.
I can only hope that the fact that this argument is coming down to birth control–something that almost all American women use, regardless of their political or religious affiliations–will keep this issue into the spotlight for a long time. I don’t like the argument that birth control can be prescribed for all sorts of medical reasons. That is certainly true, and highlights the personal nature of discussions between a doctor and a woman (none of her employer’s damn business), but I hope American women can stand up and say, “I am in favor of birth control because it allows me to have autonomy and power in my life. It allows me to plan my life path and develop a career in ways that are not possible without contraception. It allows me to be a better mother by planning the size of my family.”
Your reasons may be slightly different, but whatever they are I truly hope you will stand up and own them.
Recent coverage of the Hobby Lobby SCOTUS decisions. This is a rapidly evolving story and I have not really addressed the most recent decision about Wheaton College in this blog post. Let’s just say the Supreme Court took its Hobby Lobby decision early in the week and both made it worse and contradicted itself on Thursday with the Wheaton College decision:
13 Reactions to the Hobby Lobby Case That Are Completely Misinformed by Jill Filipovic via Cosmo. (Best single article I have seen about this case.)
Supreme Court Decisions: Religious Freedom and Public Unions, The Diane Rehm Show, July 1. Excellent, informed discussion that brought together a variety of panelists and NPR Supreme Court reporter Nina Totenberg.
The religious right’s No. 1 obsession: Policing women’s sex lives by any means necessary by Amanda Marcotta via Salon
3/4 of Hobby Lobby’s investment funds include contraception, abortion services by Cory Doctorow via BoingBoing
Conservative Women Also Use Birth Control: The Hobby Lobby Decision Hurts All Women by H. A. Goodman via HuffPo
Cross posted with permission by Amy Tiemann, PhD
Dr. Amy Tiemann leads at all levels. Amy Tiemann is an award-winning author, educator and media producer. Through her books, blogs, podcasts and media appearances, she plays a central role in today’s conversation about parenting, child safety, politics and culture. A sought-after speaker and commentator, Dr. Tiemann is a frequent guest expert on parenting websites, national radio tours, magazines from Redbook to Glamour, and TV including ABC News, The CBS Early Show, and NBC’s Today Show.
Amy Tiemann received her PhD in Neurosciences from Stanford University in 1996, and she continues to apply her extensive research expertise to all her work.
Dr. Tiemann’s combination of perspectives and roles as a scientist, educator, author and parent gives her a unique ability to make an impact on individuals, families, and cultural standards and to create positive social change.