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My Turn: Putting the ‘us’ in uterus

  • FILE - In this Nov. 1, 2012 file photo, customers walk to a Hobby Lobby store in Dallas. Steve Green, the president of Hobby Lobby says the chain will start carrying Jewish merchandise in some of its stores after a New Jersey blogger complained about a lack of Hanukkah items. The change came about after blogger Ken Berwitz said a Hobby Lobby employee told him that the chain doesn't stock Jewish merchandise because the Green family is Christian.  (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

    FILE - In this Nov. 1, 2012 file photo, customers walk to a Hobby Lobby store in Dallas. Steve Green, the president of Hobby Lobby says the chain will start carrying Jewish merchandise in some of its stores after a New Jersey blogger complained about a lack of Hanukkah items. The change came about after blogger Ken Berwitz said a Hobby Lobby employee told him that the chain doesn't stock Jewish merchandise because the Green family is Christian. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

  • A demonstrator dressed as the 'Bible' stands outside the Supreme Court building awaiting the court's decision on the Hobby Lobby case in Washington, Monday, June 30, 2014. The Supreme Court says corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

    A demonstrator dressed as the 'Bible' stands outside the Supreme Court building awaiting the court's decision on the Hobby Lobby case in Washington, Monday, June 30, 2014. The Supreme Court says corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

  • Attorney Representing Hobby Lobby, Lori Windham, center, does a television interview outside the Supreme Court following the decision on the Hobby Lobby case in Washington, Monday, June 30, 2014. The Supreme Court says corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

    Attorney Representing Hobby Lobby, Lori Windham, center, does a television interview outside the Supreme Court following the decision on the Hobby Lobby case in Washington, Monday, June 30, 2014. The Supreme Court says corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

  • FILE - In this Nov. 1, 2012 file photo, customers walk to a Hobby Lobby store in Dallas. Steve Green, the president of Hobby Lobby says the chain will start carrying Jewish merchandise in some of its stores after a New Jersey blogger complained about a lack of Hanukkah items. The change came about after blogger Ken Berwitz said a Hobby Lobby employee told him that the chain doesn't stock Jewish merchandise because the Green family is Christian.  (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)
  • A demonstrator dressed as the 'Bible' stands outside the Supreme Court building awaiting the court's decision on the Hobby Lobby case in Washington, Monday, June 30, 2014. The Supreme Court says corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • Attorney Representing Hobby Lobby, Lori Windham, center, does a television interview outside the Supreme Court following the decision on the Hobby Lobby case in Washington, Monday, June 30, 2014. The Supreme Court says corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

I’ve never been to Hobby Lobby, even though there is one just a few miles from me. It’s a conscious choice. If I had time for a hobby, it wouldn’t be crafting.

However, I was born a girl – not a conscious choice – and I grew up to become a woman who went on to experience unplanned pregnancy – four of them, to be exact.

Of course, the whole “planned” or “unplanned” argument can get dicey depending on whether you believe life is preordained by God or biology, or just the luck of the draw.

Anyway, that was all during a time when I was actively using birth control, none of it 100 percent childproof, as we all know. Back then, pre-HMO, doctor visits cost about 30 bucks, common prescriptions were usually less than $10 and medical expenses were not a topic of conversation in any social or political circles.

Preventing my own pregnancy was my own problem. I certainly didn’t expect it to be something my employer, my president or the U.S. Supreme Court should pay for, let alone argue over.

I always paid for whatever my birth control method of choice was at the time. Usually whatever was popular or considered safe – until it was overruled by the next safer or more convenient method.

None of it struck me as that expensive, especially compared with the cost of raising a child.

But the truth is, the conscious decision to prevent pregnancy is not without risks.

Over the years, we’ve read the reports outlining mistakes made in manufacturing, where the white placebo pills were switched with active-ingredient pills during packaging; or problems with IUDs that don’t stay put and get lost somewhere in the womb; or side effects from the chemicals in oral contraceptives that range from acne and nausea to weight gain and breast cancer.

We women are funny like that. We put it all on the line, whether it’s to prevent children or raise them.

When my unplanned pregnancies made it more challenging for me to work outside the home, finish my education, pay my bills or save for my children’s college educations, I did what every other human mother worth her weight in synthetic estrogen did: I figured it out.

Now, if you’ve never been a woman, you might not dwell so hard on the fact that in an effort to control our collective uteri women have, for centuries, subjected themselves to all sorts of physical, chemical and pharmaceutical challenges to thwart pregnancy, most of which come with short- and long-term risks, including actual pregnancy.

This is a fact of human life.

We do what we must do to keep our wombs baby-free until we are ready to commit our bodies – and the rest of our lives – to motherhood.

My point: I’m having trouble wrapping my head around how the founder of an arts and crafts store and his personal religious beliefs have divided the U.S. Supreme Court and pretty much stirred a hornets nest of controversy over governmental overreach and human reproductive rights here, in this place where personal freedom and equality ring from sea to shining sea.

The Greens

To recap, Hobby Lobby founders David and Barbara Green don’t want to subsidize the use of an IUD or a “morning-after pill” for female employees as described by the federally mandated Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act because they are devout Christians.

They don’t want to be damned to hell for carelessly providing a comprehensive health care plan that would allow a female employee to exercise her own freedom of choice about how she wants to occupy her uterus.

Although – big asterisk here – vasectomies are okay with the Greens – even though we’ve all seen the middle school health class video footage of those determined little spermatozoa moving with Olympic-caliber ambition toward the poor, unsuspecting ovum.

Maybe they are technically not considered “alive” until fertilization, and I can’t say whether a sperm has a soul, but they certainly appear to have a mind of their own as they swim toward the goal line and our indifferent female eggs.

I’m not suggesting that the Greens are being lopsided with their logic, but frankly, when it comes to controlling birth, my uterus has no ability to grow a baby unprovoked.

Just saying.

I guess my best unsolicited advice here is don’t work for Hobby Lobby if you are still a woman of childbearing age and can’t afford to pay for your own birth control.

I know. It’s not that simple.

Because now that the Supreme Court has weighed in, quite heavily, tipping the scales of justice in the direction of religious beliefs, it’s going to be even harder to talk about what human health care benefits should look like in a civilized world.

Or what employers should have to provide for their employees to help protect their good health.

There are at least 150 other for-profit companies with Hobby Lobby-like court cases pending, many of which object to subsidizing all forms of birth control for employees.

Grab some popcorn and settle in for the marathon of court drama sequels already in the making.

Responsibility

Before you blame President Obama or a liberal agenda for this mess, consider that we, the people, have done nothing over the past three decades to stop the escalating cost of health care or to break the strong arm of pharmaceutical lobbyists.

We have embraced better living through prescription drugs, hoping for a quick fix for whatever ails us rather than caring for our own health by making healthier choices. We should be eating better, exercising more, not eating processed foods.

We should be eating locally, scrutinizing the corporate practices that seem to be part of our unraveling, like factory farming and genetically modified anything.

Health insurance has become a necessary and costly evil because the cost of health care services has been allowed to spiral out of control. Let’s fix that.

I also have a problem with the greed that underwrites our governmental policies. I believe campaign finance reform is a good idea. I think our elected officials should be hell-bent on protecting us from the things that do us harm, from pollution and corporate greed to poverty to gun violence.

I would like to see more goods manufactured here, rather than in China. And I would like retailers like Hobby Lobby to take a stand on that issue – even if it reduces their bottom line.

Because, clearly, the corporate conscience of Hobby Lobby answers to a power with more clout than the almighty dollar.

Oh, and I don’t think human reproduction – or lack thereof – should be politicized. Period.

But I am no longer worried about contraception. I am more focused on another aspect of the ACA, one that doesn’t get nearly enough attention.

Under a section called the Personal Responsibility Education Program, there is a provision for states to receive federal grants to include science-based sex education – including abstinence and contraception.

One hitch: they must also include “adulthood preparation” subjects including healthy relationships, adolescent development, financial literacy, parent-child communication, educational and career success, and healthy life skills.

Imagine that: Sex education in the context of human life skills.

Most states have applied for PREP grants, which hopefully means that young people growing up under the ACA, particularly girls, will be better prepared for adult life than their foremothers and forefathers.

This is especially good news for Oklahoma, corporate home of Hobby Lobby, ranked fifth in the nation for high teen birth rates at a cost to taxpayers of about $190 million annually, according to the Tulsa Health Department.

If these teen moms need to work to support their babies, I hope that, moving forward, there are good jobs available with comprehensive health care benefits that will make it possible for them to lead healthy lives and choose how they control their uteri.

(Carol Robidoux is a freelance writer who lives in Manchester.)

Meds...are you taking yours?

I was just thinking, sixty years ago a Catholic couldn't become President. Now with five of them on the Supreme Court they can force their religion down our throats. My, Amerika has come a long way.

there are 6....

Gee, I wonder which one Devil Doc's leaving out . . . HMMMMMMM . . .

Santamayor, oviously, but I suspect she's the same kind of Catholic I am. A non-practicing one.

LOL...no one is gonna mistake you for a supreme court expert there Santa...

Maybe she is the kind of Catholic that believes her religion should stay in her church and not be forced on other people.

or she could just be wrong...

Amerika is not being ruined by "Catholics", it is being ruined by progressives like yourself and Barack Obama.

America will survive progressives, it will even survive conservatives. What it won't survive is the buying of our democracy by billionaires.

To bad facts never ever come into play in your daily narrative - Name the candidate bought by Billionaires?

Come on people we all know rights are for gun toting white angry males. Everyone else can go take a powder.

meds...

More hate speech and ridiculous hyperbole.

You would know. You're a master at it.

spoken like a 3rd grader student

Now, now, be nice, asking around your reputation precedes you Phil.

Who the hell is Phil?

Nice try.

Phil Santamayor...Supreme Court Justice...very wise according to some...

Not the "phil" I had in mind but good one.

itsa thinks he knows everything about everybody.

The saying: "know your enemies" is both wise and necessary in 21st century America. I don't 'think' I know.......

I'm sure you have enemies, but I ain't one of them. You simply aren't that important. You're just an annoying little, yappy dog, whose, as you pointed out, chain I enjoy pulling.

Holy Hiahlea Henry! You sure have a hankering for mean spiritedness....hiss like a snake, howling like a hyena.

spoken like a true 3rd grader

You seem to have a 'hank'ering to push buttons. Nice job.

Don't these employees also pay into their health insurance? Why are their rights not important? And when did it happen that employees have to get down on their knees and thank an employer for making money off them. What is next? The company store?

David Burge would be proud!!!

For all of you that don't want to pay for women's health care, especially those who want to impose their religious beliefs about certain types of birth control on women (and not men) or even personal decisions to end a pregnancy. Please stop lecturing only women on not to have sex. It takes two people, and historically it is the men who usually pressure young teens and women in general to have sex. Historically and statistically, it is also the men who tend to walk out on women and their children. Now, I know not all men are like that, but I have never heard a conservative republican publicly tell men to stop having sex with women so they will not get pregnant!!! How about it--- men are stronger they can force a woman to have sex if she doesn't want to. So all the anti-birth control and right to life advocates and conservative politicians--Start telling MEN also not to have SEX, if they don't want to contribute to use of birth control, abortions or children abused or placed in foster care. Men if you don't want to be a father, then don't have sex!!! Let's see if men are willingly to accept this "equality " that they think women all ready have.

Good point, but progressives keep trying to tell us that women are exactly equal to men. They have pushed for them to have jobs in the military and fire departments and police departments and in order to do so have lowered the physical requirements. Which is it? Women are equal in every way to men or are they vulnerable and need special rights? Which one?

I can't believe the moderator is allowing this word to permeate the defenses. Yet, I can't seem resist the temptation to join in. Getting weaker. Here I go. VAGINA! VAGINA! VAGINA! Dang, that was fun.

I wonder if a woman disagrees with the author here submits a column if the Monitor will give her a full page?

II cannot believe what I am reading from women in regards to the HL decision. HL offers 17 forms of BC. The fuss is about 3 they do not want to offer. As far as your daughters having newborns with the father walking off. Here is an easy solution to that. teach your daughters to be smart, confident and to protect themselves. The left treats women like they are in fact walking vaginas, that have no control over themselves and will in fact submit to any guy. They cannot respect themselves, get a mate that is not going to treat them badly, etc. And as a result will constantly need safety nets for when they have unprotected sex. If 17 forms of BC does not work for you, get another job elsewhere, go to PP or demand your partner have BC. Women are suppose to be equals. Yet the left portray them as these creatures that cannot manage anything. Basically your stating women are victims. That is an insult to all women.

Correct, if women want to be so independent about things, they should take responsibility. The "choice" in this debate comes before you engage in the act which will cause you to be pregnant.

Wabbit, I'm not convinced your characterization of 'walking vaginas' is as exclusive to any one party as you imply here. One policy that does seem heavily partisan, however, is the arrogant practice of telling women what they can/cannot do with their bodies. Dem, Repub, Whig, Federalist, whatever...I've never understood that one.

the daily misinformation policy - nobody in this ruling is telling anybody what they can do with their body - what liberals want is somebody else to pay for it.

Hobby Lobby does NOT want to eliminate birth control. They already pay for 16 out of 20 types still available. The ones they object to are those that are classified as abortifacents -- anything that would cause an abortion. And, yes, if someone feels the need to pay for that, they can use their own money. There are also other options, too (like, I don't know, NOT HAVING SEX IF YOU CAN'T AFFORD THE CONSEQUENCES is a big one -- a form of birth control that works EVERY TIME). But no one is forcing you at gunpoint to work at Hobby Lobby.

This move by the Hobby Lobby has little to do with true morality and everything to do with control. Why do I say that? Because if birth control is not included in family health insurance plans the only way a woman can possibly pay for it is to use her employer-provided salary. I find it disheartening to think the highest court in our land is staffed by people who cannot figure out this simple fact. The ONLY way an employer can avoid paying for birth control is to either not hire women of child-bearing ability or hire those woman but pay them no salary or benefits. The latter is called slavery.

Well, they pay about twice the minimum wage, so they pay well. This is about 4 morning after kinds of pills. They still pay for 16 different prescriptions and they pay 100%. They are staffed by 66% female employees. That makes all of your points moot. Finally, Wal-Mart has several birth control pills less than $11.

A true Liberal - always wanting somebody else to pay for things

Excellent column! But then, what do I know, I have a "y" chromosome.

phony baloney theatrics after a narrow ruling. The democrats are shameless and they are the problem with America today - Theatrics is a really poor poor way to run a country. Polls show pushing the phony "war on women" again after the democrats did noting to fix it will be a losing issue at the polls - Bring it on.

BPR...you always leave me ROTFLMAO. I don't suppose you noticed that the five judges offering the majority opinion were all MALE and CATHOLIC. The dissenting opinion, the three female judges.

"In their defense, a lot of the people upset about Hobby Lobby seem to really, really need meds."...David Burge.

a nothing ruling that democrats are make a mole hill into a mountain. How did women survive before NObama

And according to the imbecile Harry Reid..they are all white too

The three female judges were all FEMALE ACTIVISTS and LEFTISTS.

You see, being a woman AND a republican is an oxymoron. You had me up until the "liberal agenda" part. Go ahead, keep defending the men who want to tell you what you can and cannot do with your own body. The right to govern your own body is God-given at birth, not for a political entity to decide: Hey, let's regulate vaginas! You women who attempt in any way to come up with some sort of an explanation, to justifying this crap, is an insult to every single wife, mother, and daughter in our state! Get a grip ladies, we're talking about YOUR kids, what are THEY going to have to face? Do you want them to have an education and a future, or a future taking care of a newborns after the fathers walk off "Scott" free. This is getting ridiculous, what's next baby factories? This is crappy journalism at its finest!

Not all women would agree with your over the top ideas. About 55% of the population are women and over half of those are not progressives. There are many republican women who are pro-life. Our society has gone from wholesome to unsavory in many instances. 90% of the fathers who disappear and do not support children are in the inner cities. Of course no one wants to talk about how years of public assistance and welfare have done nothing to improve those statistics.

And what right wing web site do you get these figures from?

www.census.gov. In 2010 it was 51%, in 2012 54,6%. I did not know that census.gov was a right wing website.

"Store Owner: I'd like to offer you the job. $15/hr, low benefits. Applicant: OK. When do I start? Crazy Person: KEEP YOUR LAWS OFF MY VAGINA"...David Burge

Sooo..... people are crazy to stand up for their rights if the economy sucks. Or if they are paid a few extra bucks. How much do we have to pay you to concede your rights and stop standing up for them?

see how true my comment is?

I see what you did there . . .

nobody is trampling on your rights - what you want is for the right to have somebody else pay for it. Field is 100% theatrics

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