Posts Tagged pro choice
Birth Control and Religious Freedom
Banning insurance coverage of abortion is an anti-choice strategy to restrict access to abortion without having to actually navigate the political and legal difficulties of banning the procedure outright, thus violating Roe v. Wade.
This is how the war on agency and bodily autonomy works.
Over the past few years, abortion opponents have been working around the clock to make it too difficult for doctors to provide abortion care by enacting dozens of complicated state-level restrictions that dictate how these services may be performed. Once state legislatures pass tighter restrictions, anti-choice activists can start filing complaints alleging clinics are breaking the new law and endangering their patients. Sometimes they’ll conduct undercover “stings” — posing as a minor trying to get an abortion without telling her parents, or pretending to be a woman forced to have an abortion against her will — in an attempt to catch the clinic staff making a wrong move.
Ultimately, they’re hoping to trigger the state’s agencies to step in and conduct surprise inspections, which, in turn, are expensive and time-consuming for clinic staff who have to spend a substantial amount of their time and efforts refuting these false claims.
This week, Georgia will be the 25th state to forbid abortion coverage on the insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
In fact, the debate on birth control and thus President Barack Obama’s health care law – in a case that pits the religious rights of employers against the rights of women to the birth control of their choice and thus bodily autonomy and agency – is going to the Supreme Court as well this week.
On Tuesday, the court will be hearing arguments in a religion-based challenge from family-owned companies that object to covering certain contraceptives in their health plans as part of the law’s preventive care requirement.
Under the ACA, health plans must offer a range of services at no extra charge, including all forms of birth control for women that have been approved by federal regulators.
Some of the nearly 50 businesses that have sued over covering contraceptives object to paying for all forms of birth control. But the companies involved in the high court case are willing to cover most methods of contraception, as long as they can exclude drugs or devices that the government says may work after an egg has been fertilized.
The largest company among them, Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., and the Green family that owns it, say their “religious beliefs prohibit them from providing health coverage for contraceptive drugs and devices that end human life after conception.”
The other company is Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. of East Earl, Pa., owned by a Mennonite family and employing 950 people in making wood cabinets.
A victory for the companies would prevent women who work for them from making decisions about birth control based on what’s best for their health. If they win, then employers would be able to invoke religious objections under the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act to opt out of other laws, including those governing immunizations, minimum wages and Social Security taxes.
Interesting to note is that a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found 85 percent of large American employers already had offered such coverage before the ACA required it, raising the suspicion that this may be yet another political stunt by those who oppose Obamacare to attack the legislation from this angle and gut its provisions as much as they can.
The Greens say they have no desire to make health care decisions for their employees, other than, of course, when it comes to sticking their noses into said employee’s vagina and uterus to tell her what she may and may not do with her own body.
One key issue before the justices is whether profit-making corporations may assert religious beliefs under the 1993 religious freedom law or the First Amendment provision guaranteeing Americans the right to believe and worship as they choose. The court could skirt that issue by finding that the individuals who own the businesses have the right to object.
Accommodating the Religious, Once More
I am no legal expert but if the government, through laws and legislation, were to actually grant business owners the right, the legal right, to deny services – or in this case a particular health-care coverage – to people and/or employees whom a religious business owner does not like and objects to if he or she felt that providing those services would violate his or her religious rights, then that would, in fact, constitute the government “respecting an establishment of religion”, which is a clear violation of the First Amendment.
If discrimination remains illegal, except for on religious grounds, then that would open up a Pandora’s box unleashing the intolerance and bigotry of religious people onto peoples’ lives in unimaginable ways with real harmful consequences.
What the Greens and other plaintiffs in this law-suit are doing is demanding a deeply misogynistic piece of legislation to be enacted by the government whereby employers can, indirectly yet remotely, regulate and control a woman’s personal choices as pertaining to her body. It is one of the grossest transgressions of agency and bodily autonomy and would set this nation back a century or more.
The legal precedent that would be set if these religious nut jobs win would not only result in the government having made a law respecting an establishment of religion, but in some terrifying Twilight Zone scenario this would basically just give companies free reign to do with their employees whatever they damn well please as long as it is done under the “right to religion” provision.
After all, what is to prevent the Greens from also not hiring gays and lesbians in any of their stores because it violates their religious beliefs? Or Muslims? Or Atheists? Or unwed mothers?
What if they feel that they also do not want to cover the medical needs for their gay and lesbian or transgender employees, provided they hire them in the first place?
The next thing we know an employer who is a Jehovah’s Witness, for example, will object to having to pay for blood transfusion for their employees and their dependents. Individuals who develop certain types of problems such as leukemia or other things could end up with bills in the hundreds of thousands of dollars or die because they can no longer pay for transfusions. Hospitals and other institutions charge a fortune for each transfusion in blood costs and administrative costs.
Such a piece of legislation would essentially grant an employer the right to make health-care decisions for their employees, including taking away a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions especially as pertaining to her reproductive choices.
I want to point out that no one ever questions paying for maladies and situations which only affect men such as for erectile dysfunction drugs, prostate treatments and penis pumps. But women are always placed in a special category (almost as if being a woman was a pre-existing condition) to be either charged higher premiums or routinely have services they need questioned, scrutinized and right out denied.
Lack of access to abortion is directly linked with income whereby women who attempt to get abortions but are denied have been found to be three times as likely to fall into poverty than those whose efforts were not blocked.
Pro-Birth Not The Same As Pro-Life
A few weeks ago I talked about the common misconception that people who claim to be pro-life are, in fact, merely pro-birth because wanting a child to be born but then not giving a damn what happens to it once it is out of the womb is unequivocally not pro-life but, it is, in fact, hostile to life.
If the Greens really are “pro-life” and care about doing the right thing as dictated by their faith, then maybe they should start with emulating their number one Messiah, Jesus, by being generous and fair to their employees, which includes more than just doing the bare minimum in terms of pay and benefits to stay competitive.
If you care about life, as you proclaim, then maybe you should consider paying your living, breathing and grown employees livable wages, plus health-care benefits, vacation time, sick time, disability pay and a host of other things that make life livable and bearable for people, not to mention that are the decent thing to do.
Why is it that religious people who oppose abortion and claim to be so much pro-life are only so for some accumulation of cells in the gestation period but somehow lose all that care when it comes to the actual person carrying such an accumulation of cells in the gestation period.
Will you, dear Green family, make sure that those women you just forced to birth out babies they do not want to have, also get paid maternity leave? Will you make sure there is a work-life balance for them so they can both do their job and be there to raise their kids? Will you increase the mother’s pay on a regular basis to make sure it keeps up with inflation and increased cost-of-living so she can take care of this kid and properly provide for it?
Because being a Christian is more than just merely being against abortion.
I really do not see any of the companies who proclaim to be objecting to paying for birth control pills and abortions acting particularly Christ-like in many other ways. Their morals just seem to begin and end in a woman’s vagina.
Finally, I find it hard to believe that anyone seriously believes that paying insurance premiums somehow violates their religious beliefs. It is not like the employer would be billed directly for certain procedures, they merely pay the premium. The insurance company pays for the procedures because that is what insurances are for.
If an insurance company were to not pay for the birth control (or abortion), then said employee would be using her wages to buy such birth control, thus Hobby Lobby would still be subsidizing an abortion as employers cannot tell their employees what to do with their wages.
Not that at the end of the day an employer should be given a say in what medical procedures employees may utilize to begin with (this, by the way, is another reason why putting the providing of health care into the hands of employers is such a terrible idea. Between the insurance company that is in it for the money and employers who are doing everything to gut an employees pays and benefits, also for money, the employee gets the shit end of the stick. Access to health care is a human right, because the right to life is a human right, that should not be placed in the hands of entities that merely have a profit motive in mind).
Separate But Equal
Denying certain people a number of rights that others are granted is discriminatory (reminiscent of Segregation and Jim Crow laws), not to mention deeply un-American.
The double standard here is phenomenally discriminatory. If women are denied the ability to make integral choices in their health care for issues which just affect them, then health-insurance plans should have to deny choices and coverage for men for issues which just affect them as well, such as payment for erectile problems and prostate problems. But they don’t.
Far worse, the “right to discriminate” legislation would, undoubtedly, give religious people the “right” to go after everyone and anyone they do not like. This would not just become a law solely addressing birth control. Once you set it into motion, corporations will step in and try to pull all sorts of things under the “right to religion” clause.
This would be legislated hate and discrimination on grounds of religious freedom. It cannot get more intrusive than that.
Why Do You Hate God?
Of course, I do not hate God. Technically speaking, you cannot hate something that doesn’t exist. What I am contemptuous about, however, is the extent to which religious people, and theists in general, use this tiresome accusation and rhetorical as a silencing meme when talking to atheists or critics of religion/god/theism.
Religion is harmful. I have mentioned that before and you know I will never stop repeating it.
Religion is harmful and the above example, which is one among many, makes that point quite clear.
Last week I talked about a bakery in Oregon that refused to bake a wedding cake for a same sex couple stating that baking the cake allegedly violated their religious beliefs and that because it did so, they were subsequently entitled to deny services to such a couple and that doing so was totally ok and not discriminatory at all since it happened under the auspices of “religious freedom.”
Religious people have put everyone on the defense, playing the victims whose rights are being allegedly neglected and stomped on. As the privileged, dominant entity they really believe that they are entitled to their privilege and dominance and that demands for equality infringe upon their rights to subjugate, discriminate, oppress and harm others. And they think they have that right, that entitlement, because it is in the name of god and religion.
So why do I hate your god, so to speak? Because your fucking god is meddling in my life everyday resulting in my rights as a woman and human being to be regularly pissed on to accommodate your god and faith.
Personally I couldn’t give a rat’s ass if you wanted to believe in hobbits, unicorns, flying pigs, Big Foot, Jesus, Mohammed, or easter bunnies as your personal savior. Have at it. Whatever makes you go through the day.
But the moment you infringe upon my human and civil rights and bodily autonomy because your belief in your savior says so, that is where the buck stops, as they say. That is where I will step in and criticize you and your religion and your messiah and the bigotry, intolerance, ignorance and harm they cause ad nauseum. Teaspoon by teaspoon.
I am tired of religious people meddling in and thinking that somehow their right to religion was a special one and thus superseded other peoples’s human and civil rights.
Freedom From Religion
What all this birth control debacle and employers suing to not cover birth control etc. show is that what Americans really need is a “Freedom From Religion” law to protect people from becoming the victims of religious people and their skewed, backwards and harmful beliefs. It is long past time to tax the damn church that is no longer a religious institution but a political one as witnessed here and with PropH8 in California, NOM, The Family Research Council and Bryan Fisher and all their Missionaries of Hate.
Religion a personal matter that needs to be respected, my ass. Religion is harmful because it continuously interjects itself into other peoples’ lives in really detrimental ways. Criticism of religion, therefore, is not something angry atheists who have nothing better to do, engage in but, more than anything, a public service to protect those directly harmed by someone’s religious beliefs and practices.
People who are against abortion usually label themselves as pro-lifers or “pro-life”. Pro-lifers, in turn, are almost always Conservatives who vote for politicians and policies that favor and help wealthy entities so they can enrich themselves at the backs of the poor and middle class wage earners, while having manipulated their voter base, that mostly consists of poor and middle class wage earners, to subscribe to bullshit bootstraps narratives and other associated Gordon Gecko prosperity dribble.
The real problem arises because Conservatives categorically vote against social safety net programs that lend a helping hand to people who cannot afford to properly provide for, oh, I don’t know, the children they were just forced to have.
A social safety net program may include anything from minimum wage laws, union representation to welfare checks. Pro-lifers are categorically opposed to a host of social safety net programs aimed at keeping the middle class strong and prosperous, instead of weakened and exploited.
The pro-life advocates are the same people who vote against unions – which are in place to protect workers against exploitative employers; they are the same people who vote for giving the wealthy and corporations tax breaks they do not need at the expense of the middle class, which then will have to pick up their slack; these are the same people who vote against proper safety standards on the job and unemployment/disability benefits; they are the people who vote against increasing the minimum wage and providing everyone with affordable, proper access to health care regardless of their employment status. These are the people who think people aren’t entitled to food!!
The thing is, when you, for example, vote against unions, fair wages and benefits and thus take away a person’s ability to protect themselves against their employer, or when you subscribe to the notion that people aren’t entitled to food, then not only are you not “pro-life”, but you render people vulnerable to a host of exploits and abuses by their employers, thus ultimately leaving them unable to properly provide for themselves and their families, including the baby you just forced them to have.
When you do not have protection on the job and become subject to a host of exploitative tactics by your employer. without any avenues of recourse available to you to protect against such exploitation, you slide down and eventually end up needing assistance too.
Note how these things are interconnected: when you vote against unions, fair wages, overtime laws and so forth, you help create more poverty, which then results in people having to rely on welfare programs that you voted against as well.
Despite these realities, one will, however, be hard pressed to find a so-called pro-lifer who would vote for social safety-net programs such as unions.
What they do want to do is be able to shame and coerce a woman into giving birth to a child she does not want to have, under the guise of love, god and reverence for life. After having shamed and coerced said woman to give birth to a child she does not want to have/cannot afford, they then refuse to vote for policies that would allow that woman to properly provide for said child.
That anti-abortionists would call themselves pro-life is both ironic and deeply hypocritical because their position is anything but pro-life as they merely want a child to be born, but not fed, or educated, or clothed, or housed, because doing so would require prioritizing and funding social-safety net programs instead of defunding and de-prioritizing them to subsidize corporations, the wealthy, banks and oil companies – thus effectively siphoning and redistributing wealth from the bottom to the top under the guise of The American Dream, hard work and other such prosperity gospels.
To be clear, wanting a child to be born but then not giving a damn what happens to it once it is out of the womb is unequivocally not pro-life but, it is, in fact, hostile to life. Theirs is a position that is pro-birth and there is a chasm of a difference.
We need to really think about, and ask ourselves, what the morality of the pro-life position is and who in this debate really has the welfare of people in mind; who the entity is that respects agency – which is related to acknowledging a person’s (in this case a woman’s) consent, boundaries, and autonomy – and which entity does not, thus resulting in women being dehumanized by being repeatedly robbed off their ability to consent and set boundaries and maintain autonomy over their own bodies, including their reproduction and family planning.
Beyoncé pisses me off. She is such an out of touch, overprivileged and pretentious puke who rarely seems to be taking the time to examine her privilege, such as when she said this:
“When I gave birth, that was the first time I truly let go and surrendered. And it taught me how amazing that feels… Giving birth made me realize the power of being a woman. I have so much more substance in my life. And expressing that excitement and that sensuality and the connection I have with my husband—I’m a lot more comfortable with that now. I actually feel like my child introduced me to myself.”
Yes, because that is totally what womanhood and being a woman and empowered is all about: giving birth. In fact, that is our entire raison d’etre as women…to give birth because otherwise we are nothing but unhappy, sloppy, weak, man hating, disgusting, bitter wrecks who don’t know themselves and are lost in a sea of meaninglessness just killing the time in between giving births.
I am so glad B is totally not validating the view of every misogynist, Right wing, Republican nut job who has worked long and hard to reduce a woman’s entire being and diminish her rights accordingly, based on her birth giving abilities and willingness, even going so far as to place the existence of a bunch of cells in the gestation period above the life and choices, autonomy, humanity, dignity and wishes of a woman.
Thanks Beyoncé, you privileged Oreo, for proving once again that women are, more or less, uteri attached to a female body with the added bonus of a fuck hole; thank you for making being a woman and empowered all about reproductive capacity – especially adding salt to the wound of those who are reproductively challenged or experience some other health issue that makes giving birth hard or impossible and who are made to feel incomplete because of notions you perpetrate; not to mention those who simply may not want to be mothers because they do not define their happiness and sense of fulfillment and worth as a human being by whether they had a child or not.
Thanks for not only making them all feel like worthless, incomplete human beings and women, but for also essentially validating the views of all who reduce a woman’s personhood and humanity to her reproductive capacity.
Given such enlightened sentiments, I am totally surprised at the onslaught of legislative attacks on reproductive rights with law makers believing that they have every right to control and dictate and legislate a woman’s reproductive choices by, in fact, taking away those very choices they allege women have, forcing them to do something with their body they do not want to do, and thus without their consent – much like a rapist who uses physical force to force a woman to do something she does not want and thus without her consent – even going so far as to declare a child resulting from an actual, literal, act of rape divine providence; legislators who assert that a woman’s personhood is debatable and that she has little rights if she doesn’t use her body to give birth.
I am not the word police here or trying to blow things out of proportion. I just really would like to point out how deeply entrenched patriarchy – and all of its adverse consequences for some – is in our society and that such sentiments say a lot about how these issues, especially women, are viewed and are viewing themselves. I know Beyoncé is deeply religious so that might definitely have something to do with her attitude of wholeness connected with motherhood. Religion, after all, was born out of patriarchy, male dominance and misogyny.
This is also not a judgment on women who are parents and who made that choice. This is about a culture that works hard on many levels – subtle or obvious, direct or indirect – to take away the choice from women who do not want to follow the traditional path; a culture that devalues and judges women, seeing them as less than or lacking in some way and thus being incomplete if they exercise their autonomy and choice, to not be a parent; a culture where women have to constantly justify and explain their private, reproductive, family and lifestyle choices to strangers and law makers who look at them with astonishment and even a sense of pity for not being or not wanting to be a mommy; this is about women being socialized, encouraged, cajoled, and coerced into childbearing from the moment of birth.
So, Beyoncé, get back to never, never land with glitter and diamond encrusted pacifiers for the daughter whom you are going to teach all about the virtues of human and woman hood, namely giving birth.