Yesterday, I went to the Supreme Court with the other National Organization for Women interns to protest the ruling on Hobby Lobby which gave employers the right to discriminate against women and deny them healthcare. Pro-choice and pro-women’s health organizations were well represented at the court, with NARAL, the Feminist Majority Foundation, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and others showing up en masse to voice our disapproval.
Of course, the other side showed up to celebrate. Were are the Top 6 examples of uninformed and misguided rhetoric the right uses to undermine women’s health and women’s rights.
The Slogan: “Pro-Life is Pro-Woman”
Why it’s Wrong: Pro-Life organizations care more about a fertilized egg than they do about women’s health and women’s rights. If so-called “Pro-Life” organizations were really pro-woman, would they push legislation to shut down women’s health clinics? Would they mandate adherence to out of date medical practices, exposing women to greater health risks and side effects? Would they create policy with no exceptions for rape, incest, and life-endangerment, putting women’s lives at risk? Would they harass, stalk, and kill women’s health care providers? Nah, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t…
The Slogan: “#WomenInControl can Manage their Fertility”
Why it’s Wrong: If this is referring to “natural family planning,” I’m sorry to break it to you guys, but that has a failure rate of 24% meaning that 1 in 4 women who use this method get accidentally knocked-up every year. Not to mention the fact that this method requires detailed knowledge of one’s body, and thanks to conservative Christian and pro-life groups, millions of Americans never get taught comprehensive, medically accurate sex education. How can women be “in control” of their fertility if they are uneducated about their bodies, and don’t have access to affordable birth control methods? Not to mention that there is an epidemic of sexual violence in this country, resulting in an estimated 17,000 pregnancies from rape every year. So yeah, we’re totally “in control” and definitely don’t need access to contraception to manage our fertility.
The Slogan: “#WomenInControl Don’t Want Bosses’ Handouts”
Why it’s Wrong: This is just straight-up false. Women want affordable healthcare! Polls show that the majority of Americans support contraceptive coverage in the ACA and oppose letting employers deny women healthcare because of their religious beliefs. Healthcare is not a “handout,” it’s part of a benefits package that all employees are entitled to as part of their compensation for their hard work—regardless of the employee’s gender.
The Slogan: “We Are the Pro-Life Generation”
Why it’s False: The majority of Americans support Roe v Wade, and millennials are even more supportive than the American public at large of women’s full reproductive rights including abortion. 68% of millennials believe abortion should be legal and accessible in their communities, and over 75% believe that insurance should cover the full cost of birth control for women. Millenials also support progressive policies on comprehensive sex education and many other social issues. So actually, we are the pro-choice, pro-women’s health, pro-education, pro-social justice generation!
The Slogan: “Women for Religious Freedom”
Why it’s Wrong: The Hobby Lobby ruling was far from a victory for women’s religious freedom. By ruling that corporations should be freed from the ACA’s supposed “substantial burden” on their religious beliefs (because companies are totally people, am I right?), it instead places a substantial burden on women’s religious freedom, forcing them to comply with their boss’ morality. This decision was a loss for women’s (and people’s) religious freedom, instead privileging corporations. As the Notorious R.B.G. states in her dissent, “Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be ‘perceived as favoring one religion over another'” which is definitely contrary to true freedom of religion.
The Slogan: “Ban Bossy Bureaucrats #WomenInControl”
Why it’s Wrong: Is it just me, or did this person get it totally backwards? If this lady really thinks that contraception is #NotMyBossBusiness, she is on the wrong side. This ruling gave bureaucrats the power to boss women around in their healthcare choices and in the bedroom. The Hobby Lobby decision took the power of self-determination and bodily autonomy away from women, placing it instead in he hands of their bossy, patriarchal, overstepping employers.
So it’s pretty clear that right-wing rhetoric on this issue is pretty far off. The Supreme Court’s decision on Hobby Lobby was supremely disappointing. In case you are as bummed about this as I am, this video of someone singing R.B.G.’s dissent might cheer you up. And remember, the fight is far from over.