At Least We Have Ruth

If you haven’t been following the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby case, Vox.com explains it in 3 sentences: 

The ruling was 5-4, and it wasn't a coincidence that all three women on the court dissented - because the problem isn’t religious rights, it’s disregard for women’s rights. If men bore the biological responsibility of childbirth (yet remained in the % of positions of power they currently hold) we wouldn’t be talking about this. All birth control would be covered and readily available. Imagine the paid paternity leave!

Fundamentally, I disagree with this ruling. Corporations don’t have religious freedoms. People have religious freedoms. Your religion is your personal life, not the “life” of your company - unless you’re a religiously affiliated institution. An executive, owner, or founder’s religion should have no effects on the rights of a company’s employees, specifically on a woman’s right to choose whatever type of birth control she (and her doctor) feel is best. I say this because, to be clear, Hobby Lobby insurance is still covering the pill but is not covering IUDs or morning after pills. Which isn’t the point and it doesn’t make me feel better. The court’s ruling cleared the way for “closely-held” corporations (that's 90% of corporations in the US) to make contraception-coverage decisions on the grounds of religious beliefs. What really strikes me, though, is that this is only a problem because contraception has been framed as a women’s issue and because women still have so much ground to cover in terms of equal representation. The simple fact that we’re still meeting so much opposition (read: bullshit “religious freedoms” of corporations > women’s health) is a symptom of a flawed system of underrepresentation of women in positions of power.

If the owners of Hobby Lobby don’t believe in the use of contraception, don’t use it. Wait, they’re men? That’s so crazy. I wouldn’t have guessed that. (They’re also white, all members of one family, and billionaires.)

Some media outlets are toeing a moderate line, reminding readers that the Supreme Court worded the ruling so that religious rights of corporations could not call into question medication beyond contraception. For example, this case does not mean that a company could refuse to cover blood transfusions because Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in the use of them. But why should that make me feel better when all that really says is that women’s health is less important than coverage that could effect both men and women?

When I first started reading about the decision released this morning, I had the natural millennial response - texting all my friends about it. I was kind of surprised at the general lack of response, but we'll tack that one up to the impotence of groupme. I did get into a discussion with one friend, who had awesome things to say: 

“We’ve come a long way, but as long as there are more men in power positions things are never going to change. And until we have policies that support women running shit, they’ll never approach those positions of power. That change is in the hands of our generation, and honestly it starts with culture. Things like slut shaming, victim blaming, body image stuff… all things that we can slowly hack away at among friends and hopefully teach the men and other women in our lives.” 

(She's not so Shambly these days) 

Which reminds me of this movie that everyones needs to watch, stat: Missrepresentation (it's on Netflix). 

At least we have Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her 35 page dissent