Yesterday morning when I woke up I found several posts on Facebook about the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case. A few posts (all but one from *men,* imagine that!) were celebrating the “victory” in the courts. Many, many, more were lamenting the unfortunate decision that the court made, basically giving a corporation the right to refuse contraceptive coverage to women. My first question was this: if a corporation chooses to refuse contraceptive coverage, how can they then publicly oppose abortion if they have not provided women with the ability to prevent a pregnancy via their healthcare? I am aware that Hobby Lobby specifically will continue to provide pre-conception birth control in some forms, but today the courts gave them and any other company the right to completely refuse to cover any form of contraceptives whatsoever. So, what does this mean for the gender gap?
A woman who knows full well that she is not ready to have a child (whether she is married or not) may be turned away by her employer when she wishes to receive contraceptive care. A woman who suffers from endometriosis may be turned away by her boss when she asks to be allowed to take a pill that will help her live her life more normally. A woman who misses multiple days of work every month because of excruciating menstrual cycle symptoms may continue to lose income from those days of missed work because her employer has a “religious objection” to her taking a pill with her breakfast every morning. At the same time, a man will be able to walk into a drug store and buy a little purple pill at a reduced rate because of his insurance to help him “get it up” without any question, as well as walk into a doctor’s office and schedule a vasectomy without a question as to whether his form of “birth control” will be covered by his insurance.
Now, am I advocating for the removal of coverage for pills like Viagra, or vasectomies? Nope. I think that if you want to make your sex life better by taking a pill, by all means go for it. If getting “snipped” makes your life easier because you don’t have to worry about getting someone pregnant, you should be able to do so. I do advocate for a woman’s right to birth control as well. By continuing to pass laws regulating what women can do with their bodies, and not what men can, the government is perpetuating the gender gap as we know and hate it. I am a 20 year old virgin, and I have never taken birth control, but does that mean that I think it is appropriate for the men in Washington to tell me or any other woman what to do with our bodies? Absolutely not. I’ve seen people be very, VERY ugly about those of us who support those judges who dissented, going so far as to tell me and the other women who are outraged by this to keep our legs closed and we won’t have to worry about it. Another had the audacity to suggest that by cutting out luxuries in their lives, all women would be able to afford birth control on their own if they wanted to. To quote the honorable judge Ginsburg, “It bears note in this regard that the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month’s full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage…” So to those who suggest all women could pay for it themselves if they “really wanted to,” since when have a roof over your head and food on your table been classified as “luxuries?”
We as a country have to wake up and realize that by guaranteeing this religious freedom to a corporation, we have essentially allowed any corporation to refuse to serve women in an equal manner to the way they serve men. We have now become a nation that allows a corporation to force its owner’s religious views onto an employee by way of their health and well-being. We have now become a nation that has allowed its government to take away the right to decide as a woman whether or not you are ready to have a child. So, even if you believe in taking away this right, I ask you this in closing: If we take away this right today, what right will we take away tomorrow, and what will you do when it affects you the way this ruling will affect the modern woman?