I actually had quite a few other things that I had planned on working on today. And then I saw the news of the latest Supreme Court decision. To be honest, I can’t say that I am surprised at the decision. I rather expected it. The many decisions leading up to this one, each one chipping away at our basic human rights, voices and liberties. And this one, even in the face of the sheer hypocrisy of the company that took the suit all the way to the justices.
We, the women of this country, can be refused coverage for contraception based on the professed beliefs of our bosses, even if the organization is not a religious institution. Because the “rights” of a company trump the rights of an individual. However, a great deal of the responsibility for this decision I believe falls on the heads of the citizens of this country.
The outcry wasn’t loud enough, it held far too few voices and wasn’t backed by the outcome at the polls. It takes a protest on a far grander scale than any we have seen in some decades here. It was protests of such a scale that garnered us those rights that were lost today. Rights that have been slowly stripped away from us for the past number of years. The women seem to have lost focus on the true impact of what these decisions mean to the freedoms women have come to enjoy. As the old adage goes, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
You know? This isn’t an issue of whether or not you use birth control. This isn’t about whether you would ever choose to have an abortion or not. This isn’t about whether you want to be a career woman or a stay at home mother. This is about basic human rights, basic respect given to an intelligent, conscious human capable of making decisions about your health, your choices and the right to keep those choices private. As such they should be. Your employer should have no more right to dictate something out of your health insurance any more than they should have the right to dictate how you my spend the paycheck they give you. It is part of your compensation package that you should be able to use as you see fit.
It truly is humiliating to realize that we are now, as women, faced with having to obtain permission to be granted a medical prescription. We must shut ourselves in with them and tell them of the private, possibly embarrassing details of our bodies to get their permission to obtain medication to alleviate painful and debilitating conditions. To tell them that our menstruations are irregular and we need this medication to bring them under control. And those that just want the simple ability to decide when to, or if to, become a mother, well, you are on your own for that one.
Not to fear though! Those same restrictions do not apply to the medications to aid men suffering from ED. They will still be covered for their Viagra, Cialis, etc. They will even be covered for their vasectomies. So, a man’s choice of sexual and reproductive freedom is not, has never been and never will be under question. They don’t even need to have a sit down heart to heart with their boss to explain why they need it.
I remember an incident a couple of years ago before the presidential election a response I got on something I said on Facebook. I don’t remember what the specific topic was, though I am sure it had to do with my either expressing my support of the Democratic candidates if for no other reason than their support of women’s and LGBT rights. A man who was a friend of the friend that made the initial post told me that, and I quote, “You women need to quit voting with your uteruses and not be so afraid to take a step in the kitchen once in a while.” Well, you know? Women comprise 50.8% of the population. Control of our uterus is critical to our ability to succeed in the world. It is critical to our ability to have the freedom to choose the life and education and chance at a decent income. Things that men take for granted. All they need is have the desire and initiative. A woman can have all the desire and initiative in the world, but if she doesn’t have the right to control her reproductive capabilities, she could lack the means to act on those dreams.
The actual truth is that abortion is at its lowest point in decades. Teenage pregnancy is also at its lowest levels. That is, with the exception of a handful of Southern States where it has been made difficult to obtain access and education to reproductive choices. Young women are entering Colleges and Universities in record numbers. And they are also graduating in record numbers. They are breaking barriers and changing the landscape in virtually every area. Granted, they are still somewhat held back in certain fields. The old boy’s club doesn’t give up easily. But, one of the critical things that has made possible for the numbers that are breaking through these walls and barriers is this ability to control and regulate our reproductive health.
We, as women, spend our entire lives with a stacked deck against us. We are judged by our looks, how we dress, how we carry ourselves. There is a different vocabulary of words used toward us, about us; negative words to the positive counterpart to the same behaviors in men. Everywhere we turn, society, and corporations in particular, are looking for a way to excuse not letting us take any further steps forward. Or demonizing us for the ones we have. We slept our way to the top, its a good thing we have our looks to rely on. Even Hillary Clinton was challenged in the media lately when it came out that she was about to be a Grandmother. How can she expect to be considered a candidate with a grandchild? It doesn’t matter if you like Hillary or not, its about the fact that no such questioning would arise if she was a man about to become a Grandfather. In fact, it has NEVER been a question in that situation.
Take all of that into consideration as you determine how critical you now think it to be for a woman to control her reproductive health? Then we have the issue of religion. Should an employer have the right to impose their religious beliefs on their employees? That is a terrifying can of worms for anyone to open. Because, if you allow that for one, you must allow it for all. Because you cannot ONLY give this right to one belief of one religion; correction, demonination of that religion (the misspell began as legit and decided it should stay).
Add to this equation the fact that roughly 12% of the hospitals in this country are owned by the Catholic Church. So, you now have a Supreme Court ruling that says an organization’s religious/moral belief can dictate what you can and can’t have. You currently have 12% and growing of the hospitals in the country that are owned by a church that is anti-birth control, abortion, gay, and any belief other than their own. As it is, if you go to a Catholic hospital, you are subject to the Bishops laws, regardless of your beliefs or instructions. Some of those are:
The Bishops’ Directives forbid: • Contraception • Vasectomies and tubal ligation • Abortion under any circumstances, including an ectopic pregnancy, which is a life-threatening condition • Most fertility treatments • IVF • New treatments (e.g., for Parkinsons or Juvenile Diabetes) that make use of embryonic stem cells • Any participation or referrals for patients who want to exercise their legal rights under Death with Dignity laws The Bishops’ Directives require: • tube feeding in the case of a persistent, vegetative coma (similar to Terri Schiavo) regardless of any Advance Directive to the contrary • Employees to override patients’ Advanced Directives if they conflict with the Bishops’ Moral code – See more at: http://states.secular.org/states/washington/post/impact-catholic-hospitals-acquiring-secular-ones#sthash.aVVpJm5k.dpuf
Getting a bit nervous yet? We’ll save my rant about how it won’t matter if you have legalized gay marriage in your state. They won’t allow you at the deathbed of your spouse because their moral rights trump your legal rights. Good grief! They burned at least tens of thousands of people for their beliefs.
Right now, I want to scream, I want to pound my fists violently on a table top. More than anything else, I want to shake the living shit out of all the women who have not been taking this seriously, who have been too busy to be bothered by it, who didn’t believe they could get away with it. I want to scream at them, “Do you have any idea what we went through to get you those rights? Did you think they came without sweat and blood? Women died for the rights you are taking for granted. They have been humiliated, abused, degraded, beaten, ostracized. Did you think just because you had them, they couldn’t be taken away? Well, wake up time little girls! If you don’t hold tight onto those rights, they will grab them away in a heartbeat. They just did. And they are doing so every . . . . . single . . . . day! It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in abortion. It doesn’t matter if you want a family and don’t need contraception . . . . now. It doesn’t even matter if you call yourself a Christian. What matters is that you have had the right to make a decision for yourself taken from you. You have allowed a hypocritical company take away decisions that are personal, your’s and that only belong being discussed with your doctor. Its a damned pain to have to keep such a tight hold on the rights when you get them. But, its a whole lot harder to get them back once you lose them. And they ain’t done yet. Its your body ladies. We used to be owned. Is that what you want again? No? So then its about time you young ladies get off your asses and start fighting. ”
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