Birth Control Wars: What’s the Real Issue?

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I had a dream the other night that the world was no longer arguing about my uterus, vagina, or sexual choices. I had a dream that women were able to have sex freely without judgement, allowed the choice of not bringing a child into the world that was the product of abuse, molestation, or rape, and birth control fell from the sky like pastel-colored raindrops. In that dream young girls were no longer the victims of female circumcision by rocks, glass, and rusty knives. Women were no longer looked at as slutty temptresses, deserving of rape. It was a pretty good dream.

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But then I woke up and was inundated with protesting screams about the Hobby Lobby decision on Facebook. I was instantly angered and completely shocked. I felt like I had just lived through the abortion fiasco in Austin only now to deal with the Supreme Court’s new ruling. I wanted to punch myself into a coma.

But then I started investigating and realized that the sensationalist media was painting a picture that wasn’t necessarily true and uneducated readers were spreading the incorrect information like wildfire. The decision was being painted as a “war on women” and just another blow to women’s reproductive rights with headlines such as, “Religious Companies Deny Women All Contraception”. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi made her opinion very clear when she said that:

“We should be afraid of this court, that five guys are determining which contraceptions are legal or not. It’s not her boss’ business.

So I get why, if you didn’t take the time to actually research the issue, women would be very angry.

However, though you may be angry, do not allow them to work you up into such a state that you don’t understand the facts or think about things logically. After I calmed down, I found out a few things, which I would like to share with ya’ll:

1. Hobby Lobby did not refuse all birth control.

They refused to cover four out of the twenty FDA approved birth control methods. The four they refused to cover were Plan B, Ella, the copper IUD, and the Mirena IUD. Hobby Lobby considers those four to be “potential life-terminating drugs”. However, they’re still covering sixteen other forms of birth control, so articles using the headlines, “Companies Refuse Birth Control to Employees!” are only partially correct.

On a side note, ALL hormonal birth control is potentially life-terminating, which apparently Hobby Lobby doesn’t get. While hormonal B.C. contains hormones that prevent the release of an ovary, sometimes that function doesn’t work. In that case, if an ovary is released and fertilized, hormonal B.C. has a back-up hormone that makes the uterus inhospitable to a fertilized egg. Therefore allowing the body to reject a “potential life”. So, the joke’s on YOU HOBBY LOBBY. HAH. Ahem…moving on…

2. This decision affects more companies than ya think.

A lot of people have stated that this decision ain’t that big of a deal because it only affects “closely held, for-profit firms”. So what’s the big woop? Well, it’s a HUGE woop considering that 90% of the companies in the U.S. fit within the IRS definition of closely held, for-profit firms. Including businesses like Mars Inc., which employs 72,000 workers and pulls $33 billion in revenues. These types of companies employ about 52% of the workforce in the U.S.

3. The decision of the Supreme Court had nothing to do with attacking women.

It did not go down how many people think. It wasn’t five men in the Supreme Court hating on women and plotting the eventual take down of all things housing ovaries. Least we forget, there were nine male justices who ruled in favor of the Roe vs. Wade decision (legalizing abortion) and I didn’t hear anyone complaining about male justices making decisions for women at that time.

The Hobby Lobby decision actually affirms a law that was already on the books. In 1993 a federal law was introduced called the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act.  It is aimed at “preventing laws that substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion”.

Hobby Lobby was referencing that law, claiming that under the new Obama Care System, if they refused to supply birth control based on their religious freedoms, they would be fined $100 per day per 130,000 employees. That’s approximately $475 million Hobby Lobby would have to pay per year in fines. This decision was all about the spiritual Benjamins.

On another side note, the Senate passed this law with a vote of 97-3. Last time I checked the Senate wasn’t 98% Republican, meaning that the very law involved in the Supreme Court decision that’s pissing off Democratic politicians today (I’m looking at YOU Nancy Pelosi…who voted in favor of the Religious Freedom law), is the very law they all voted into existence and sponsored.

So basically, the Supreme Court wasn’t ruling against women’s uteri. Instead they needed to make the decision whether $475 million in fines per year were considered “a substantial burden” to Hobby Lobby. I think all of us can agree that it is. And, if Obama Care didn’t have the fine in place for not complying, Hobby Lobby wouldn’t have had a case at all. Thanks Obama. 😉

So is this really a war on women?

Instead, I think it’s an ongoing war over whether the government has a right to control people’s rights to make their own decisions. It gets hairy in regards to businesses though, because now people’s religious rights are influencing employees, giving rights to one group by taking away rights of a larger group. Already, with the ink not even dry on the Supreme Court ruling, companies are demanding religious freedom to not cover any birth control (believing that all birth control is potentially life-terminating) or the freedom to refuse to employ homosexuals.

Should Employers be Forced to Provide Health Insurance?

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All of this brings up another issue though. Why are we just assuming that it’s the employer’s responsibility to pay for our sexual proclivities and insist that they have no say in the matter? Employers don’t generally pay for our condoms, toilet paper, soap, feminine products, diapers, groceries, or gas, all of which could be considered necessities for hygiene, health, and staying alive. So why should it be law that they need to cover birth control? Or even for that matter, be forced to provide us insurance in the first place?

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s an awesome perk to get health care from my employer. But do I think it’s their legal responsibility? No sir, I surely don’t. They’re already giving me money to work for them and that’s good enough for me. Back in the day, employers did not provide health insurance. It wasn’t until the 1940s that companies started providing insurance to entice people to work for them and compete with other companies. At the time, there were federal enforced wage controls, so the only way for companies to entice people to work for them was by providing health insurance. This was also beneficial to the companies because it was 100% tax deductible.

Is it Your Bosses’ Business?

Here is the part I really don’t get. I’ve seen protesters with signs that say, “Not my boss’s business” or “No boss’s in my bedroom”. But it is your employer’s business because they are literally paying for it. It’s like when I was a bratty kid and would trash my parent’s house, eat all their food, use up their money, but demand privacy, respect, and freedom from their rules. I was basically telling my parents, “You pay for everything but you have no right or say in anything I do. Oh btw, I totaled the car you paid for because I didn’t follow your rules, buy me another.”

When did normal behavior include being able to demand that people take care of you, pay for all your stuff and then simultaneously demand that they have zero say in what they’re providing and paying for?

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Final thoughts

So to sum up, I don’t think this was a targeted “war on women” decision. This is a larger, more complicated issue with a lot of history associated with it. Hopefully you understand the decision a bit better so you can argue with your family and friends with more confidence. 😉

And I think that a couple things would have solved this problem.

  1. Make hormonal birth control available over-the-counter. They’re about as safe (if not safer) than liver-damaging Tylenol and the gastrointestinal blood-inducer, A.K.A. Aspirin, and does not require an exam by a doctor in order to get it. Today, you can walk into a pharmacy and purchase Plan B or Ella without a prescription, so why not hormonal birth control?
  2. Government should not legally force employers to provide health insurance.
  3. Remove the fine for not participating in Obama Care, and you’ll solve the argument of financial burden placed on employers who feel that Obama Care encroaches upon their religious rights. They simply won’t have a case.

Bam! Our government would still be providing affordable healthcare to the general population, girls and women would have larger and cheaper access to birth control, and businesses wouldn’t be able to argue that their religious freedoms are being denied.