In the past month, we’ve all felt the impact of the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision.
After all, as advocates for the right to reproductive choice, subsidizing family planning was a hard-won victory in 2011. Before I begin sounding like a Michael Moore voice over, I won’t focus on what we lost and what we stand to regain – we all know what happened. Instead, my purpose in writing this is to recap some of the worst conservative responses and laugh at their ineptitude. I hope you enjoy, readers:
1. One of the most misinformed statements comes from Conestoga Wood itself, the parent company of Hobby Lobby. They justify not covering contraceptives under the principle that “birth control is akin to abortion.” Now, just about anyone reading this knows that isn’t true; however, this gem loses its luster even more when we take into consideration the considerable drop in abortion rates since the introduction of the contraceptive mandate. With that knowledge in my back pocket, I can assume Conestoga either plays Fox News on a loop in their boardroom (I imagine something cigar-smoke-filled, probably wood paneled) or that they simply want to cut costs.
2. Speaking of Fox News, we can all predict a certain amount of virulent support of the case’s passage from that particular “news” network. Immediately following the law’s passage, Megyn Kelly joined Bill O’Reilly to review Sandra’s Fluke’s post-trial statement. Following the expected groans of exasperation and the typical connection from contraceptive coverage to abortion, Kelly spins the case in a new direction. She’s quoted as saying, “This is about the attempted war on the religious right, not the ‘war on women,’ “ in response to Fluke’s statement that the law’s passage infringes upon reproductive rights. My response to Kelly: YOU ALREADY WON. It’s clear, too, that contraceptive access is unlikely to be a problem for Kelly – she’s got privilege that, say, a woman working retail for a certain craft company does not. It’s sad to see her fighting this hard to limit access for other women. Kelly is also quoted as saying “I listen to FoxNews, that’s it!” when O’Reilly weighs in with outside information. Clearly, she’s a great resource on reproductive care access. A veritable fount of knowledge.
3. Another shared point made by various conservative pundits? Claims that subsidizing contraception is an “overreach of government.” Oh, brother. Because a corporation dictating your personal reproductive decisions is really more of a helping hand, apparently.
4. The last major point I keep seeing is this idea that had the case gone the other way, our nation would be impinging on the free exercise of religion, as protected in the constitution. On the other side, however, limiting contraceptive choices is just as egregious, considering the founding fathers worked to promote the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which, you know, is pretty in line with BODILY AUTONOMY.
Now, before I end up hollering on a table a la Norma Rae, I’ll finish by saying that this court decision, regardless of the nonsensical evidence backing it, leads to a slippery slope. Who knows what hard-won fight towards social equality and universal health we may lose next? I for one look forward to fighting to take it back in November. In the meantime, laughter is the best medicine, and in that regard, the GOP back-pedaling machine is the gift that keeps on giving.
Tim Marshall is a founding member of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington’s Millennial Advisory Council.