Monday, July 7, 2014

On the Hobby Lobby decision, contraception, and personal responsibility

OK, I really wanted to weigh in on this earlier, but life has prevented blogging!  I have moved out of Builder's house!  (Happy dance, happy dance.)
This Hobby Lobby case has raised strong opinions, and since I have friends who range from very liberal to very conservative, I have heard them all.  I also caught what Justice Ginsberg had to say in her dissent, and I happen to agree.  Supreme Court decisions have had far-reaching consequences, and when they have curtailed individual rights in favor of some other cause (see Dred Scott or Korematsu--which are now taught as examples of the Supreme Court being on the wrong side of history, and proof of a more bigoted time), they usually are overturned by a more enlightened court, or never brought up outside of a college-level constitutional law class.
Now, here's the thing.  CONTRACEPTION IS NOT ABORTION!  Contra comes from the Latin for "against."  Meaning, that contraceptives prevent pregnancy.  Contraceptives by their very nature cannot cause abortion because the woman using the device was never pregnant.  If you're not pregnant, you don't have an abortion.  End of story.  (Any comments which refer to abortion will be deleted.)
Now, let's discuss personal responsibility.
Once we get past the issue of "but, but--think of all the poor baybeez you're killing" (see what I said above--if you use a contraceptive device, you did not create a baby, therefore you did not terminate one), the next comment is "women should take responsibility for their actions."  Loosely translated--if you dumb sluts would just keep your legs closed, you wouldn't have to worry about pregnancy.  (the thought process of the Rush Limbaughs of the world.)
Let's deconstruct this, shall we?
How many contraceptive users are married?  Should married couples completely abstain from sex until the wife reaches menopause?  How many men would agree to that?  What happens if a married couple can't get access to birth control?
I'll tell you what happens.  Journey with me to the hamlet of Kiryas Joel, in upstate New York.  Kiryas Joel is a Satmar Hasidic enclave.  Birth control is unheard of, and most couples who marry are too young to drink at their own weddings.  That translates to a lot of fertile years, and a lot of children.  Kiryas Joel is number one in the country for two demographics--it has the most children per capita of any town in the US.  And it has the most residents per capita living below the poverty line.  So, who supports all these precious little babies?  Why, you and I do, of course!  These "responsible" citizens may not use birth control, but they sure don't have a problem with collecting welfare.
So, where's the responsibility?  All these couples are very religious and very married.  Holding hands out of wedlock, much less sex out of wedlock, is unheard of.  So, by most measures, they are "responsible."  However, they have more children than they can afford, which to me is very irresponsible.  An IUD is about $400 and lasts ten years, assuming it's not rejected.  Try even getting halfway through a single pregnancy on $400.  Can't be done.
Now let's consider a Hobby Lobby employee making $8/hour.  If she and her husband have a child they can't afford, they have to go on welfare (I guarantee you she has no job protection if she takes maternity leave).  Isn't that more "irresponsible" than implanting an IUD?