18 July 2013

The Day That Crafting Became a Political Statement

We need to discuss Hobby Lobby.  This saddens me because as a crafty person I love Hobby Lobby.  However, as a feminist, humanist and big believer in medical agency I feel my love affair with this supplier must end.

This piece by Sarah Posner: More Than a Hobby, is the best "Hobby Lobby might awful" summation available.  Check it out so you can have some background on the company and the ACA related lawsuit that comprises the crux of my issue.  It is a long-ish read, but this will be here when you get back. Promise.

Now, I  need to make the usual rants here.  This is misogynistic nonsense.  It is based on religious beliefs and scientific fact.  This lawsuit seeks to remove women's reproductive autonomy, and by extension encourage slut-shaming and rape-culture.....goddess knows we have been here before.  Feel free to read anything else I have ever written about reproductive justice and apply it here.  However, there are some issues that this lawsuit raises that add a new twist to this discussion and one that requires (endless) repeating.
  1. How do you balance freedom of religion with freedom from religion?  Sure, Mr. Green should not be forced to do anything, to himself or his family, that violates his religious beliefs.  Maybe it is reasonable to expect that his money not be used to support those medical interventions that violate his Christian principles.  He should not be forced to buy, use, personally distribute or personally fund birth control that he finds contrary to his moral stance. However, it not acceptable for all his employees to be denied medical intervention based on his personal beliefs.  I think that weight-loss surgery and statins are immoral due my adherence to the cult of science, but I can't force my insurance company to stop covering them.  Mr. Green wants to keep his business' money, not his personal money, out of the hands of insurance companies that would allow other people to spend their own personal money (not his business' money, or his personal money) on contraception. What this boils down to is that one man wants his views to dictate the medical decisions of all his individual employees because of what he believes to be true about conception.  This is all very well and good for protecting Christian values, but what about protecting women and families from Christian values? 
  2. What was his company doing for insurance prior to the ACA?  Since many individual states have mandated contraception coverage, I would find it surprising if this company had found an insurance company that offered these contraception exceptions. Since most medical professionals understand the value of family planning and the value of certain contraceptives as medical treatments for issues unrelated to contraception; and most insurance companies appreciate that 13 packs of pills a year is way cheaper than a pregnancy plus 20+ years of coverage, I suspect that the previous insurance plans utilized by Hobby Lobby covered these interventions.  If that is the case, then why have a snit fit now?  I find myself wondering if these lawsuits have less to do with pushing misogynistic religious agendas* and more to do with the far-right's desire to make the ACA looks bad no matter what it costs  the American people.  Just saying, I wouldn't put it past a self-identified religious zealot to use a fight against the ACA as a method for sticking it to the political party/president that is "ruining" this country with "godless socialism."
  3. I will say it again: this is about more than reproductive justice, it is about medical autonomy.  Maybe today Mr. Green is *only* denying his employees access to some forms of contraception.  What happens when other medical treatments are offensive to him as (apprently) the sole arbiter of what God wants us all to do?  You don't need Prozac, God just wants you to pray the sad away and lets hope it works because if you kill yourself as a result of an untreated mental health issue, you get to rot in hell forever.  Hooray for Jesus!  That was a bit hyperbolic, but you see my point here: medial policy and insurance coverage can not be determined by faith-based logic.  That is not how science works, that is not how medicine works and that is not how we should let businesses operate. 
Sadly, this case is gaining traction and there may be a legal precedent for this kind of nonsense real soon. I am not sure what the long-term ramifications will be of a verdict in favor of Hobby Lobby, but the results promise to be enlightening either way.   I will, needless to say, be following this closely.

*Misogynistic religious agendas are always the basis for anti-choice activity, but sadly, here that may be just a pleasant benefit to undermining a political regime that dares to question the complete authority of Mr. Green's place of privilege.