Tag Archives: Birth Control

Go Buy Your Damn Craft (and craft) Supplies Somewhere Else

HobbyLobbyStowOhio

As we all know, today the Supreme Court heard oral argument on the Hobby Lobby case, which presents the issue of whether a corporation should get away with the claim that its religious beliefs (actually, the purported religious beliefs of the current owners because, pace Mitt Romney and Citizens United, corporations are not people, my friend, and they can’t have religions) are entitled to such deference that the corporation can refuse to provide its employees with health insurance that covers birth control. Or in other words, whether Hobby Lobby’s right to swing its “religious” fist ends where its employee’s vagina begins.

As I’ve noted before, the Supreme Court (in general) chooses, with absolute discretion, which cases it hears. This court didn’t select this case (“grant cert.,” in lawyer-speak) because it wants to defend women’s right to control their own bodies.

Sarah Posner has a good write-up of today’s argument. She observes that:

Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, arguing the government’s position, highlighted that if the Court ruled for Hobby Lobby, it would mark the first time a court granted an exemption that “extinguishe[d] the statutorily guaranteed benefits” of someone else: Hobby Lobby’s employees. As Kagan noted, “Congress has made a judgement to provide an entitlement,” in other words, the birth control coverage, “and that entitlement is to women” who are “harmed” if they are denied it. Justice Anthony Kennedy, thought to be the swing vote, asked Clement, “how would you suggest we think about the rights of employees?”, noting that their religious beliefs might not square with those of their employer. But Justice Antonin Scalia questioned whether RFRA was even intended to take into account the interests of third parties at all.
 
It was hard not to sense that somehow, if the coverage had been for something other than contraceptives — say, as Sotomayor pressed several times, vaccinations or blood transfusions — the question of the impact on employees might have been treated differently.

NTodd has more.

And echidne, as usual, speaks truth to power. (She’s as pessimistic as I am.)

Mr. Pierce does grok that it’s always about women’s (at first he tries to make it broader, but then the truth outs) sexuality.

Atrios explains, in his usual succinct style, what it’s really all about.

Literata has a lovely prayer to Columbia and Justica.

We’ll have to wait until early Summer to find out, but I’m less than enthusiastic about our chances, especially given Justice (often the swing vote) Kennedy’s questions. And, Justice Roberts needs to re-ingratiate himself with the wingnuts; this case provides him with a perfect chance.

Picture found here.

Meet the New Pope, Same as the Old Pope

Pope Francis

If you’ve ever been in, or even had a close friend who was in, an abusive relationship, you recognize the pattern.

The abuser has been acting like a complete shit for quite some time. Eventually, he realizes that he needs some good PR to balance it all out. So suddenly he does a few nice things — actually takes out the trash without a scene, throws the ball back and forth with the kids, or doesn’t hit you for a day or so. Or maybe he doesn’t really do anything different, but he starts to talk sweet. Yeah, maybe he will go with you to counseling; he’ll think about it. “Hey, Babe, you look decent today.” Or maybe it’s just that he speaks at all, instead of screaming or grunting. If any of this can happen in public, so much the better, as far as he’s concerned.

He doesn’t really relax any of his insane controls nor does he change any of his underlying behaviors. But the victim is so desperate for things to improve that she’ll grasp at almost anything as a sign of change.

Well, you can call me an ungrateful, cynical bitch (and, trust me, I’ve been called a lot worse, while dodging slaps and avoiding thrown crockery), but that’s what I see going on with Pagans and progressives who are falling all over themselves because the new Catholic pope has realized that the church — watching the number of “Nones” and Pagans increase, while the number of priests and nuns continues to shrink — could use some better PR.

None — zero, not one — of the underlying behaviors have changed. Women still are second-class humans who cannot be priests, cannot lead, should stay home and raise children. He has not discontinued Ratzi’s “investigation” of American nuns. Birth control is still verboten and abortion is still a sin. His American minions are still doing everything they can (with tax-free dollars) to keep the government from paying for or requiring insurance companies to cover birth control, abortion, or maternity care. They still sexually abuse children and they still use church money to cover it up. Homosexual acts are still sins and the church still opposes civil same-sex marriages. The Catholic church still hordes massive wealth (earned, inter alia, from South American slave mines, the Magdalene Laundries, and African “missionary” churches), and, via its policies concerning women and birth control, does much to keep large swaths of the population in miserable poverty. Its insane policies also discourage the use of condoms, thereby helping to spread HIV/AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases. NONE of that has changed.

But he talks pretty — well prettier than the previous abuser. He washes some feet at a very public ceremony. He complains about capitalism, while the church continues to profit off of, well, capitalism. He suggests that maybe beating up on gay people isn’t the entire purpose of the church. He makes vague noises about some “other” role for women, although he’s careful to make clear that they still belong at home, raising dozens of babies.

And like the battered victims that they have, for many years, been, Pagans and progressives perk up and grab at the PR crumbs that Francis strews. At least he’s not still hitting us! At least he took out the trash! At least he called me “Babe” again! It’s a sign! If we just show how grateful we are and how willing to we are to meet him at least halfway, why, next thing you know, he’ll be bringing home his whole paycheck and never smacking us, ever!

And, of course, it simply helps his PR effort that conservatives are now calling him socialist, too liberal, misguided, etc. It’s no different from when the abuser comes home on a Friday night and announces, as if it ought to earn him a free pass on his next several punches, that his buddies at the bar laughed at him for coming home early to you, Baby. Now get me a beer. Conservatives long ago mastered, in a way that Pagans and progressives have not, how to work the Overton Window. So they make sure to call Obama, whose policies are to the right of Eisenhower and Nixon, a “socialist.” So Ann Coulter is accepted as a serious commentator, and the new pope is some kind of hippy Liberation theologist.

I’ve said this of Obama and I’ll say it of the new pope: We know he can speechify. Get back to me when he can actify.

Until then, I’d appreciate it if more of us had the dignity not to slobber.

/Rant off.

Picture found here.

Don’t Not Have Sex

I’m Just Going to Print Out Copies of This & Hand Them Out from Now On, Instead of Arguing with Fundies

Pro-life? That’s a lie. You don’t care if women die.

This.

/hat tip: Echidne.

Picture found here.

War on Birth Control = War on Women

This is a fascinating discussion of the history of opposition to birth control. Interestingly, it started in reaction the initial move for women’s rights. And that’s something to keep in mind when people try to tell you that it’s really religious and that it really isn’t anti-woman.

hat tip: @sarahposner

Me, In a Bad Mood

Several years ago, a bunch of white men got together and limited women’s rights to abortion:

Today, a bunch of white men got together and talked about limiting women’s rights to birth control:

I am just saying.

There’s a lot of chortling in the Twitterverse and the Blogosphere over how the Republicans are really stepping in it by going all out against birth control. After all, women vote and about 98% of them use, or have used, birth control. Goddess knows, I hope that’s how it plays out.

But I’m not so sure.

One thing you can say for the Republicans and the Dominionists is that they are masters at moving the Overton Window. (And one thing you can say for Democrats and Progressives is that they give new meaning to the word “lame” in this regard.) And what’s happened over the course of just a few weeks is that the argument has shifted from keeping abortion legal and accessible (an argument that we’ve been losing, BTW, up until Komen went too far, too fast) to whether it’s a vile intrusion of big government onto the religious rights of fundies for women to have access to birth control. I may be a bear of little brain, but it’s difficult for me to see how that’s a huge win for women.

The brilliant Sarah Posner warned us about this some time ago when Newt Gingrich began ramping up his rhetoric about the poor, persecuted Catholics. Christians are v good about insisting that any time they’re not allowed to impose their (completely unworkable, anti-woman, anti-reality, sex-negative) worldview (I won’t call them morals, because they’re not) on the rest of us, that means that we’re picking on the Christians. Honest to Hera, Mobius had nothing on these guys; they’re that good.

Charles Pierce is one of the lone voices suggesting that maybe we ought to be concerned instead of celebrating.

Seriously, does anyone here expect any prominent Democrat to come out and take a stand to protect women on this “icky” issue? I don’t. Not Barack Obama. Not Catholic Joe Biden. Not Katheleen Siebelius. None of them. Nancy Pelosi made one statement today and then shut up. In fact, I expect Obama and the Dems to do what they always do in the face of these entirely-predictable negotiating tactics by the right: retreat some more. Keep negotiating against themselves. Pretend that there’s a middle ground and keep running after it as the fundies snatch it further and further to the right.

Meanwhile, there are a few expressions that no one dares to utter in this entire debate: (1) Population Explosion. (2) Planetary Carrying Capacity. And the fact that those terms dare not speak their names is a HUGE part of the problem.

And, yes, for all that many of us have been saying for years that these people really wanted to abolish birth control as well as abortion, I can’t say that I’m enjoying being right.

I’ll just add that there’s no reason for some of these insane policies to stop with women. Maybe gay men should have probing anal exams before they can get access to drugs for HIV/AIDS. Or to condoms. Sure, it has no medical purpose and is done simply to shame, humiliate, increase costs, and hurt. But we’ve apparently crossed that Rubicon. Maybe immigrants should be subject to humiliating medical exams before they apply for citizenship. Maybe people who apply for unemployment insurance should be waterboarded once a month. Maybe women and children claiming to have been raped or abused should be thrown into a lake. If they sink, they were telling the truth; if they float, they’re lying and should be punished.

I have an idea. Let’s leave the tender consciences of the Catholic bishops (who aren’t worried when their own priests bugger little boys, but who faint and cry at the thought of having anything to do with providing birth control) intact. The government, via single-payer health care, can provide birth control and abortions (fuck the Hyde Amendment), free of cost, to women who want them. As to the argument that Catholics don’t want their tax dollars supporting something they find abhorrent, I’ll simply note that war is against my religion. Torturing people is against my religion. Drilling for oil and cutting timber on federal lands is against my religion. Holding people without charges is against my religion. Tasing people is against my religion. Breaking up peaceful demonstrations is against my religion. And my tax dollars get used for all of those things and many more that I find abhorrent. So unless we’re going to add about 500 pages of check-off items to income tax forms, the Catholics can either suck it up or become tax protesters, facing jail and foreclosure as serious anti-war activists, Quakers, for example, do.

Damn. I’m sick of this bullshit.

Making the Witch Laugh


Since just about EVERYONE else in the entire blogosphere has linked to this today, I’d normally refrain. Except that Colbert’s imitation of a T Rex (G/Son’s favorite dinosaur) putting on a condom just flat-out makes me cackle out loud (COL v. LOL: I’m a Witch). And as all of my lovers will tell you, making me laugh is just the best thing, really, ever, and the best way to get me to link.

Picture found here.