A Response To The Hobby Lobby Ruling

             As a political science major I love me some politics. I love the passionate debates that arise from different viewpoints that everyone brings to the table. It’s important for people to be able to form and voice an opinion and politics lends itself to being an outlet for expressing ourselves quite a bit. I know we’ve all experienced a Christmas dinner where some family member brings up a hot political topic and that’s the end of any hope for peace and quiet for the night.

          In the wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores case, there seems to be a lot of talk about women’s rights. I know this case is fundamentally based on religious beliefs, and having admitted that, this fact does not change my opinion on the matter. The decision to grant Hobby Lobby the right to deny women insurance coverage for some contraceptives (with the potential for many other contraception exceptions for hundreds of other companies), despite the Affordable Care Act mandating all companies must insure these medications seems unfair to me. The Affordable Care Act, whether you support it or not, made a promise to women, and we were then stripped of that promise, and that’s the problem. Who is Hobby Lobby or any other company to make decisions about our reproductive rights? Considering I’m a member of the Saint Mary’s College Republican club, maybe my stance on this issue seems hypocritical, or maybe I’m just a pissed off woman.

            What’s truly disheartening about this current situation, which may affect any one of us, is that women who have spoken their minds, like myself, using their freedom of speech and the right to protest, are being shamed. No matter what side of the political spectrum you fall on, I think we should all be upset about the backlash women are receiving for simply sticking up for ourselves. Women are being told that the best solution is just to not partake in any activity that would result in a pregnancy. That’s not too hard, right? But what if I’m a Hobby Lobby employee and I’m married. Am I a "slut" then? It’s either don’t partake in any of this activity or buy the certain contraceptives that are not covered under insurances by Hobby Lobby and the other 82 companies. What I want to know is how supporters expect every one of their women employees to be able to afford these prescriptions on their own. An IUD, one form of contraceptive not covered, can cost any where from $500-1000. I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t have that kind of cash sitting in my wallet ready to use, let alone a woman who may be working for minimum wage. And if a woman can’t afford Plan B or an IUD, there’s no way she can afford a child, even if she’s married! It takes two to tango, but only women are being shut down and shamed for wanting to be sexually active, yet responsible at the same time.

 

            In a recent segment on Fox News, a male correspondent decided to name a voting demographic. According to Watters, if you're a single woman, you're dependent on the government since you don't have a husband to be dependent on. And he so cleverly called this single lady demographic the "Beyoncé voters" (ha, get it?). Oh and apparently as single women, "[we] need things like contraception, health care, and love to talk about equal pay". Um excuse me sir, but you sound dumb. Do I want to get married? Of course. Do I need a husband to be financially secure? Absolutely not. This is the attitude we're up against and why I'm simply asking you to care. To care about being a woman and to have our voices heard. Because last time I checked we are all independent women who don't need no man.

           I’m not here to tell you what stance to take on this ruling, because again, we’re all entitled to our own opinions. I am here to say that, as Saint Mary’s students, I believe it’s important that we all be aware of women’s rights and the issues that are current in today’s society. A lot of times there are negative connotations associated with being a feminist, but I think being a feminist simply means that you care about the well being of all women, including yourself. Whether that is equal pay in the workforce or, in this case, our reproductive rights, as we grow older, these issues are becoming more and more relevant to our own lives.

            I am forever grateful that Saint Mary’s has instilled within me the belief that women are in fact powerful and we can do anything we strive to accomplish. I know a lot of SMC alum (one being my awesome mom), and they are some of the greatest, most successful women I’ve met. I believe this is because of the resources available to us at SMC, whether it is a gender studies class, a seminar about women in business, or receiving an email subjected “July Women’s History Events and Birthdays”. SMC has created an environment in which I have gained more confidence in myself and in what I believe I can achieve as a woman. Unfortunately, this confidence doesn’t seem to coincide with recent political decisions being made, most of the time by males, which directly affect us. I know we all laugh about our Domerfest shirts (lol Domerfest. Good times, am I right?) that advertised “Saint Mary’s College: Empowering Women since 1844”, but isn’t it about time we realize that this empowerment isn’t always as realistic as we would expect. Shouldn’t we come together to encourage each other and do something about it rather than criticizing and slut shaming each other? In conclusion,  #GoBelles