Tag Archives: contraception

Sebelius v Hobby Lobby UPDATE: It’s worse than you think

“It’s not that bad!” you might wanna believe. “It’s only a few kinds of birth control, and if they don’t want to pay for it they shouldn’t have to, and women can probably still get it covered from the government, and not paying for it isn’t really restricting access!!”

wrong

Lets address these one by one:

First of all, I maintain that corporations shouldn’t be able to have sincerely held religious beliefs in the eyes of the law. They should not be able to get around the law of the land in this manner. And this whole ‘not wanting to pay for things’ argument is really just tough shit. Because there are lots of things we all pay for that we could reasonably object to, particularly with regards to health insurance. For example, I sincerely believe that the American diet causes heart disease, diabetes, and many types of cancer. So I don’t want to cover treatment for any of those issues. People should eat more kale and less hamburgers, or pay for their drugs themselves (Sound familiar? Be less slutty, or pony up for your slut medication yourself? Yea, that’s a real thing people argue.) Or the classic Viagra argument. That shit isn’t strictly necessary, and men should deal with their own penis/heart disease issues, why should I subsidize their erections? But also, what is the real difference between paying for it via insurance coverage and paying wages with which employees purchase contraception? Both are technically benefits earned by working. So to me, not including contraception in a benefits package is akin to an employer deciding what you can buy with your hard earned wages. Which is scary, and wrong.

But Alex, you say, it’s only some BC they don’t wanna cover. There are still lots of options!

1) If the options are legal and FDA approved, there shouldn’t be limits imposed by your employer because they aren’t a doctor and their ‘sincerely held beliefs’ aren’t backed by science and they don’t know what’s best for your body and health. Full Stop.

2) This ruling is limited to only contraception, however it is not limited to only the 4 kinds that Hobby Lobby opposes. I repeat: Companies that wish to are able to stop covering any type of contraception they have a ‘sincerely held religious’ objection to. Here are the 82 companies that currently have cases pending. Not all object only to EC and IUDs.

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Additionally, I’d like to point out that not covering something is indeed restricting access for many many families. Contraception isn’t cheap. The reason that coverage was mandated when the ACA was passed is because the medical community widely recognized that contraception comprises basic care for women and families, and that it should be universally covered like other forms of necessary and preventative care. When it isn’t covered, women and families are forced to make tough decisions. It’s like if health insurance didn’t cover mammograms or prostate exams. These kinds of procedures are covered because they save lives, and often prevent more expensive and harmful issues from occurring. Contraception has the same effect on the lives of women and families.

Finally, the work around. Remember, this work around currently only applies to non-profits that are exempt, so they will need to extend it to for-profit closely held companies. They most likely will, but as of now it’s hypothetical. Regardless of the fact that women shouldn’t have to endure extra steps to get the basic care they need, the federal work around isn’t working smoothly for the non-profit employees. Because companies are assholes. In order for employees to seek coverage from the government, the employer must put in writing that they object to providing coverage. But employers don’t want to put it in writing, because that would allow access which obviously they are against. Erin over at Jezebel explains, complete with sass:

If your company objects, the workaround as it exists as of yesterday requires them to register their objection in writing. This will allow employees of said companies to obtain BC through the government rather than through their employers. Problem is, nonprofits that have been offered that workaround have said that signing a slip of paper objecting to birth control, thus enabling their employees to obtain birth control via other means, violates their religious freedom because it’s a tacit endorsement of birth control/murder/sluts/slutmurder.

It’s a real clusterfuck.

So then, what does this really mean. Is it about upholding your own values? Or forcing your values onto those around you? Is it about personal integrity, or controlling women’s bodies?

eyebrow

Nope. I call bullshit. We cannot live in a religiously diverse nation if part of what it means to act religiously is to impose your beliefs on others. That’s a catch 22. And it’s really insidious and toxic that this ruling encourages the parts of religious exercise that seek to control women. Only contraception is covered under the exemption. Only the kinds of medicine that help empower women to have control over their bodies and their sex lives. Some women need this medicine for reasons other than preventing pregnancy, and some women cannot safely become pregnant, and those are really compelling points. But the real issue is that women should be able to not get pregnant if that’s what they choose, and they should have access to the medicine needed to safely have sex with their chosen partner(s). That is not radical, and it’s not anyone else’s business. We have all kinds of medicine that, it could be argued, allow people to act recklessly without consequences. People are allowed to smoke cigarettes despite the myriad health risks, and their eventual treatment is covered. We have drugs for constipation, gas, weight loss, diabetes, and heart disease, despite the fact that those issues are largely caused by poor diet and could be remedied with the proper nutrition shift. But controlling what people eat is crazy! They can eat what they want, and how much. Fine. So why is sex different?

why

Employers who find contraception morally reprehensible should figure out how to make money without female employees, or perhaps it would be easier if they accepted the full humanity of all women and all people and worried about the state of their own soul instead of forcing their will on other folks who are just trying to live life. I can’t help but think a lot of this would be a non issue if folks learned how to mind their own fucking business.

mindyabusiness

Yea but, they don’t. And the justices are whack. And lots of companies could potentially stop coverage and refuse the work around, legally. I hope Obams is working furiously to figure this out, hopefully maybe by mandating that if you don’t provide coverage you MUST put your objection in writing, thus allowing employees to seek full coverage else where. But it shouldn’t require this much thought or effort. Women shouldn’t be forced to work this hard to get basic care coverage.

 

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Rage Post: When Republicans Say Fucked Up Things II (UPDATED!)

Well, that didn’t take long did it.

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In today’s addition, we meet Senator Rand Paul. This is not my first moment I’ve had shameful violent urges towards this elected official after reading one of his quotes, but the line of thinking he puts forth is super common among folks on the right and it’s a major ‘fuck you’ to women everywhere, and so lets take a listen so we can learn just how much they give zero fucks.

“Maybe we have to say ‘enough’s enough, you shouldn’t be having kids after a certain amount… I don’t know how you do all that because then it’s tough to tell a woman with four kids that she’s got a fifth kid we’re not going to give her any more money. But we have to figure out how to get that message through because that is part of the answer.”

Now, I think that his kind of policy is disgusting. The government shouldn’t be deciding how big of a family a person can have. It is, however, already policy in some states. I find that shameful. Because, you know what a better plan is? ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE AND SAFE SEX EDUCATION/CONTRACEPTION/ABORTION DUH OBVIOUSLY OMG.

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I’m already yelling. There’s more. He goes on:

…married with kids versus unmarried with kids is the difference between living in poverty and not.

The stats don’t entirely back that up. More importantly, it smacks of a deep bias towards a state sanctioned union, with zero regard for the real world. Not all relationships can or should result in marriage, and the link between unmarried mothers and poverty is much more complicated than a lack-of-marriage-certificate. Marriage is not directly correlated with poverty rate, nor with happiness or success. It is not the answer to this problem.

The answer is giving folks the tools they need to have safe, consensual sex.

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The kind of policy Senator Paul is describing polices only women, because it is our body that gets pregnant as a result of sex. So the logical conclusion based on his comments reads: you can’t have sex ed or birth control, but you also can’t get pregnant: ergo you shouldn’t be having sex. As if sex is some kind of privilege for folks who can either afford to get educated and procure contraception on their own, or for those who can afford to support children. That’s ridiculous. Women having sex is natural, the same way men having sex is natural. But he is not talking about men, or giving men instructions on how to stop having sex so they don’t participate in a pregnancy. No, the onus is entirely on the woman. But we can’t allow her access to contraception. Wait. We’re going in circles.

Here's a helpful Venn Diagram!
Here’s a helpful Venn Diagram!

My question: WHAT IS YOUR PLAN? What’s the plan guys? No sex ed, no contraception, no abortion, no pre-natal care and no support or job training for single moms… So. People should just keep their legs closed? And by people I mean poor women?

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Ew. That idea is misogynistic and prejudiced in all manner of ways. It’s sex-negative, anti safety and the opposite of empowering. It lacks empathy and logic. Do they hear themselves when they talk?  They have no plan, they do not care about women’s health or sexual well being, and they are in complete denial about the real life needs of girls and women all over the country.

over it.
over it.

Rage Post: When Republicans Say Fucked Up Things

I fear this post is episode 1 of what will surely be an ongoing and arduous journey. I will try not to angry post about every dumb thing that comes out of some white man politician’s mouth, cause really, I don’t have that much free time on my hands and neither do you. But this is, well, rul bad, and it’s Friday and YOLO so let’s go ahead and rage.  Here. Watch.

Seethe.

If you can’t bear to watch that, here it is in good old text form.

Women I know are outraged that Democrats think that women are nothing more than helpless and hopeless creatures whose only goal in life is to have the government provide for them birth control medication…  And if the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of government then so be it! Let us take that discussion all across America because women are far more than the Democrats have played them to be. And women across America have to stand up and say enough of that nonsense.

First of all, Mike Huckabee doesn’t know any women. At least not any women who like him.

But seriously, this is some really gross and disgusting bullshit. It is a complete distortion of reality. He is trying to make is seem as though the government is rescuing us female damsels with birth control because we don’t have the power to control our bodies without them. That is so twisted it’s almost funny.

First of all, having access to safe and affordable contraception isn’t anyone’s only goal in life, asshole. But it is super cool and it does provide women with added autonomy and mobility in their lives and decision making. Next, birth control is not the government rescuing women. Tax payers are not paying the cost of covered contraception. The ACA mandates that insurance must cover birth control because it is a necessary part of a woman’s overall health (SIDENOTE: the first time I picked up my BC at CVS and the pharmistist was like “Oh, it’s covered now” my jaw dropped, I put my debit card back and said “I fucking love Barack Obama” and she said “Yea girl.” End Scene.) And it is integral. 99% of women who are sexually active have used contraception. Providing us with what we need is not rescuing us, it’s a reaction to women’s continual demands that our sexual health is paramount, and that our health depends on these resources. Taking birth control does not mean our bodies are out of control, and birth control isn’t about a lack of self control, you ignorant prick. If almost all women have used birth control, including the virgins and sluts and wives and girlfriends the single ladies and the mothers, then what you are saying is that all women are wanton harlets. That isn’t true. And if it was true, it would be 100% A-OK BECAUSE OTHER PEOPLE’S SEX LIVES ARE NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. Also, new rule: I hereby ban the use of the terms libido and Uncle Sugar, forthwith, from now until eternity please and thank you EW goodbye.

I just don’t get it. I don’t get how they really think it’s possible that this shit will fly. Do they really think that making access to contraception harder is doing women a favor? And do they really think we will believe that? I also don’t get how they don’t see the irony of trying to block access to birth control while keeping their Viagra prescriptions filled to the max and covered by insurance. Holy sexist double standard batman!

bat,am

I am really sick of hearing old [mostly] white guys talk about women’s bodies and women’s wants and needs. Just stop. If you have never stopped to think about what it would be like to be pregnant and scared, stop proposing legislation that would affect young girls and women in ways that you will never have to understand and don’t even deign to try and empathize with. I feel like I’m totally rambling… it’s hard to even write coherent sentences after reading that quote. Maybe it’d be a good idea to just let them keep running their mouths, so they can continue to alienate folks who give a shit about women (which, fortunately, it quite a few people) and then those folks will use their voting power and then they will all go away. I am hopeful that the back lash against feminism and the gains made thanks to the tireless work of activists will be over soon and we can stop having these ridiculous conversations. If that sounds naivee, well it’s Friday and I can’t be pessimistic all the time and damnit I still believe that Obama is dope and a step in the right direction and maybe we’ll see women get to even numbers in the political arena in my lifetime. Maybe one will even make it all the way…

rachelandhill

A girl can dream.

Further Reading: Five Important Sex Ed Lessons for Republican Lawmakers

Wrap it Up, and Keep it Clean

So I went to Duane Reade for a few items yesterday. Downstairs, near the pharmacy, I faced a wall full of condoms. I am very into sex being an equal partnership, which means all parties are responsible for keeping it safe (and good). Personally, I find that stopping the process because you don’t have the proper coverage is AWFUL. And I for one don’t wanna be caught unprepared. So, after putting it off for more than a week, there I stood.

don't be scared, its just me!

 

And I realized, I know very little about condoms. Truth be told, I’ve really only ever bought them a few times in my life, because mostly I rely on guys. Which is totally lame and also unreliable. And that’s why I sucked it up and decided to make a purchase. But, I was perplexed. I mean, there are ‘her pleasures’ and ribbed and lubricated. There are 3 packs, 34 packs, MAGNUMS. I mean, how optimistic should a girl be? Maybe a 34 pack of MAGNUMS is wishful thinking, but just a 3 pack seemed like a waste of time. All the sudden my face got hot, and I started sweating, and I could feel the pharmacist’s eyes burning in the back of my head.

I grabbed what I think is a standard type in a median number and fled. I couldn’t look the young man behind the counter in the eye, even though I had other items. When I got out into the cold, rainy night I was hugely relieved. Which is really annoying, but probably typical. Listen, I am a single cute girl, and it isn’t outrageous at all that I should be in need of contraceptives. Also, even though I started to feel dirty and sinful (that shit gets really ingrained in us, doesn’t it?) I was actually being responsible and mature. I was doing something that showed forethought and sufficient knowledge of my actions and their potential consequences. I was being a smart cookie.

these are for smart cookies! yes we can!

But it’s hard to feel that way about it, because girls aren’t supposed to be smart (and sometimes we aren’t supposed to be mature and self sufficient either). And there is also this weird thing that its a guy’s responsibility, but we all know not every guys is a 10, or reliable, and that sometimes situations happen when you aren’t expecting them and the more prepared all parties can be the better. So despite my discomfort, when I use up my modest stash, I am gonna go back and get more. Also, I’m going to stop into Babeland on my way to work and suggest that they get some condom workshops on the schedule. I need some serious instruction, and maybe I’m not alone. I don’t wanna be caught unprepared, and I don’t wanna be caught unawares. Safe sex is good sex because instead of your mind worrying about all the various icky consequences, it can focus on your orgasm. Stamp.