Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Unprotected Sex

Mix Bake Shop
Anise Shortbread

I don't know where to start.  I have found myself shouting and/or writing the word "motherfucker" frequently following the Supreme Court's ruling on the Hobby Lobby case.  The anthropomorphic personification of a business arrangement has been granted primacy over my body, my sexuality, and my religious beliefs.  The most sexist, slut-shaming-ist corners of a single religion have been given preference over all other interpretations of a loving and tolerant deity - or a loving and tolerant society, for that matter.  Pseudoscience has been legitimized by the same method as getting Tinkerbell fly: clap your hands and say, "I do believe that a zygote is a person even before a woman is pregnant!"


This is one of the most ridiculous interpretations of the law that I've seen in my lifetime.  First, just because it is "precedent" for corporations to be considered people, doesn't mean the interpretation was ever valid in the first place.  That interpretation can, and should, be struck down at any time.  But even the liberal justices seem disinclined to rock that boat, so it's going to have to take an act of Congress - the most inactive body of government - to explicitly undo corporate personhood.

Second, no person has the right to deny their employee their due compensation, nor to direct them in what they can or cannot do with their wages.  Not for any reason.  You can't say, "I'm not giving Phil his paycheck because he smokes and drinks and I have a deep moral opposition to those behaviors - you can't make me pay for it!"  You don't get to decide.  It's not your money anymore.  If Phil put in his time and did the work, then he is now entitled to his compensation, whatever form it takes.  Withholding it would be illegal.  Unless, apparently, Phil is a Philomena.

Next, by what logic does this particular belief get its special exception?  Logically, how does this differ?  Because this person behind the corporate person thinks that contraception is a form of abortion?  So what?  First, that's not accurate.  There are numerous articles out there circulating that explain the real science behind all these forms of contraception.  Second, abortion is a legal right and should be protected, though it is continually infringed or outright assaulted.

If we all agreed that the abortion of a fetus was murder, then it would not be legal.  But we don't.  Hence, it is still nominally legal for a woman to decide what happens in and to her own body.  To be clear, I don't believe that a fetus is devoid of personhood, but I do not believe that it is of equivalent personhood to that of a born child.  And I certainly don't believe that whatever rights it has are superior to those of the mother carrying it.  I believe that we need special "grey laws" that try to address the interests of the potential person and the undeniably real person carrying it.

And a woman is more than just a baby incubator.  That developing fetus that will one day, if all goes well, become a child is altered continually by the conditions of the mother's condition.  And vice versa.  The mother's diet, physical activity, her worries, affect the developing fetus, and the very act of carrying the child alters the woman in profound ways.  Her chemistry, her mental health, her physicality all change in unknown and dramatic ways.  And who best to say whether or not those changes or conditions should be continued for the mother and the one-day-maybe child?

Certainly not the abstract legally-incarnated bogeyman withholding her paycheck.

Here's a little insight for you sexist bosses who want to pretend that depriving a woman of her healthcare will prevent you from being complicit in her "consequence free sex" life.  If she can't prevent her unintended pregnancy from happening through not-actually-abortive contraception, she's going to use the money you give her in her paycheck to pay for the real, actual abortion a few weeks later.  Which is costlier in every possible way...

And I'm just gonna leave this little link here to one of my earlier blogs, wherein I totally demolish any opposition to the idea of contraception: To the new pope...

As was noted by Justice Ginsberg and others, the Pill and other contraceptive devices are frequently used for other medical purposes (right here, guys!).  The not-able-to-get-pregnant feature is a side-effect the woman and her healthcare provider have to take into consideration when deciding whether or not to utilize it.  What about other medical treatments that cause temporary or permanent infertility?  Should we allow those treatments to be denied as well, even if we could cure somebody's cancer?

The day after this decision came down we immediately saw, not just the hypothetical ways in which this ruling would enable "non-favored" (non-Christian) religious beliefs being imposed on workers by for-profit corporations, but the new actual legal challenges by employers trying to deny workers various rights because of "sincerely held beliefs."  Specifically, they're goin' after the gays.

And why is it that sincere religious beliefs are imbued with a variety of protections, but my sincere beliefs founded on reason and empathy get bupkis?  How many people just go along with what they were told to believe when they were little?  Somebody hundreds or thousands of years ago came up with a story full of dos and don'ts and somebody else just said, "Okay," and, ta-da! - you're exempt.  I put years of thoughtful consideration into the guiding principles of my life and it's, "Pay your taxes and burn in hell, hippy!"

Again, motherfuckers.

(Yes, I know many devout people do reflect upon the tenants of their faith.  I'm just saying there are millions mailing it in and still getting preferential treatment.)

I have the right to believe and do as I choose, so long as it does not infringe upon the rights of others.  The burden of being an American is protecting the rights of those you disagree with.  It doesn't matter to my employer what I choose to read or watch or listen to, just as long as I'm polite to the customers.  It doesn't matter whether or not I eat a vegan diet and go hiking, or if I love bacon and barely leave the house, so long as I can lift box A and put it on shelf B.  My employer doesn't get to dock my pay if I get drunk one weekend, make out with some random lesbian at a party, and show up on Monday with a new neck tattoo, so long as I show up and do my job - in a turtleneck.

As other great thinkers have said:

If I wanna take a guy home with me tonight
It's none of your business
And she wanna be a freak and sell it on the weekend
It's none of your business
Now you shouldn't even get into who I'm givin' skins to
It's none of your business
So don't try to change my mind, I'll tell you one more time
It's none of your business

But, alas, sex is not a protected right in this country.

Sexism, however, has just been thrown a box of Trojans and a bottle of Viagra.

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