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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

It’s the misogyny, y’all

In trying to make sense of The Way Things Are in a post-Hobby Lobby world, it is important to peel away the layers and understand what the Hobby Lobby ruling is and, more importantly, what it isn’t.

The Supreme Court ruled that a closely-held corporation can avoid paying for health insurance that covers contraceptive options if the belief about how those methods work offends the religious feelings of the majority stockholders.

Yes, the ruling is a direct assault on common sense in its attempt to assign freedom of religious expression to a corporation.

Yes, the ruling is science-denialism writ large.

Yes, it is a poke in the eye to the separation of powers: where a law passed by Congress and signed by the president can be, not merely ruled unconstitutional, but hacked up and rewritten by a court.

And, it is likely a specific poke in the eye to President Barack Obama who the right wing has become completely unhinged over to the point that they want to nullify the results of two presidential elections and three congressional elections.

What it really is: complete and utter disrespect for women.

From an article by Joan Walsh in Salon:

[Reproductive freedom is] still perceived as threatening and undermining to family and society, particularly when it involves (as it always essentially does) issues of sexual freedom. The Hobby Lobby decision, and the conservative reaction to it, made this dynamic particularly and depressingly clear. Some pundits hailed its implications for religious liberty, but a whole lot of them welcomed it as a rebuke to slutty females having sex on their dime. […]

[When] it comes to questions of work, family, sexuality and women’s equality, we are still fighting the culture wars of the 1960s. And women are still losing ground.

Walsh points out the quote from Justice Ginsberg in her dissent related to previous rulings from the court:

Ginsberg quotes the court’s 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, which affirmed the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion. “The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives,” Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, a Ronald Reagan appointee, wrote for the majority. More than two decades later, both of those abilities – to “participate equally” and “control their reproductive lives” – are still widely contested for women.

It did not go unnoticed, by most observers, the pretzel that Justice Alito turned himself into in order to carve out what he called a “narrow exception” … and to hand his extremist supporters more grist for their anti-woman mill:

Justice Samuel Alito worked so assiduously to narrow the implications of the court’s Hobby Lobby ruling that he made its disrespect for women’s health, privacy and autonomy even more obvious and outrageous. […]

How did it happen that the only issue on which religious liberty trumps existing employment law, for the court’s conservative majority, is the issue that pertains to women’s freedom and sexuality? By emphasizing how narrowly tailored the court’s decision is, Alito only underscored its sexist radicalism. But that’s fitting. From the beginning, the entire controversy over the ACA’s contraceptive mandate served to highlight the backlash against women’s freedom we’ve endured in the last few decades.

From Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a “slut” for supporting the mandate, to Mike Huckabee lamenting that Democrats were using it to appeal to women who “can’t control their libidos,” the outrage and abuse exposed the deep fear of women’s freedom at the heart of the modern conservative movement.

Conservatives to women: get a husband and place your life in his hands. And sex only for procreation, missy!

We may get the last laugh, if we can hang on long enough:

These backward attitudes don’t reflect majority opinion. On abortion, on the contraception mandate, on women’s rights generally, Americans remain broadly supportive of measures to allow women to “participate equally in the economic and social life of the nation,” to use Sandra Day O’Connor’s words from Casey.[…]

The GOP’s last reliable female voting bloc is older, married, white Christian women, and their time is passing. It will pass more slowly if other women fail to vote in 2014, but the right’s crippling panic over women’s autonomy will eventually doom it to irrelevance.

The last reliable Republican female voting bloc is women so fearful of angering men (or unsure of their own worth) that they are willing to suspend all rational thought.

We can fix the Hobby Lobby ruling in a number of ways. But they all require that Democrats win back Congress from the regressivites.

Let’s do it.


  1. The only way we can fix Hobby Lobby, the ruling, is to elect a Congress that reflects the opinions of the people. And the only polls that matter are the ones on November 4th.

    As to Hobby Lobby, the company? Meh.

  2. against Carly Fiorina

    “A lot women including me are sick of the ‘war on women’, and we saw it in spades on Monday after the Hobby Lobby case,” Fiorina told a CNN panel. “Somehow this is the long arm of business and the Republican Party reaching into the body of women. It’s ridiculous.”

    “The war on women is shameless, baseless propaganda, there’s no fact to it, and it’s worked because it’s scared women to death,” she insisted. […]

    Miller noted that every woman she knew was “furious about he Hobby Lobby decision.”

    “This is not just a war against women, this is a war against science, Carly,” the radio host explained.

    “Oh, for heaven sakes,” Fiorina gasped.

    “These religious people believe certain drugs cause abortions, doctors and scientists say they do not,” Miller continued. “They prevent abortion… I have friends who need it for endometriosis. How do you say you’re small government, and get the government involved in those personal decisions between a woman and her doctor?”

  3. Portlaw

    Gitmo detainess

    have invoked the Supreme Court’s controversial decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which allowed certain corporations to ignore the Obamacare contraception mandate if their owners object to it on religious grounds. The motions, filed with a Washington, DC, district court on behalf of Ahmed Rabbani of Pakistan and Emad Hassan of Yemen, ask the court to bar military officials from preventing Gitmo inmates from participating in communal prayer during Ramadan


    The details are here. Wonder if the SCOTUS had any idea what doors they were opening.

  4. Hobby Lobby ruling puts bosses’ values ahead of a woman’s health

    To the majority of Americans, birth control simply isn’t a controversial issue. What is deeply unpopular, however, is the idea of giving bosses a right to discriminate and deny their employees access to birth control.[…]

    Planned Parenthood will continue to fight for women’s access to affordable birth control, and we look forward to working with local leaders like U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene, D-Medina, to fight back and make sure women have the same rights and protections as everyone else.

    The solution is clear: Responsible members of Congress must join together to pass legislation that stands with women and our right to affordable health care.

    Elections Matter. We can fix this if we vote in the midterms and retain our Senate majority and take back the People’s House.

  5. Diana in NoVa

    Excellent diary, JanF, and I’m enjoying the discussion. (And BTW, I greatly miss the morning check-in, although I realize it must have been a lot of work.)

    What if we CAN’T get women to the polls in November? What if they’re just too apathetic or apolitical to care? So far I’m not aware of any extraordinary efforts by Democrats to urge voters to come out. If there are outreach efforts to working-class communities whose members are so busy working three crap jobs for $7 an hour they don’t have time to read blogs or watch the evening news, I’m not aware of any. I realize, of course, that nothing serious will happen until after Labor Day, but fundraising goes on relentlessly whatever day of the year it is, so why shouldn’t outreach?

    My great hope is female empowerment. Almost everyone except the desperately, desperately poor has access to the Internet–whether through a smartphone, laptop, or the public library–and those people can be reached. Women can share contraceptive recipes and knowledge about where to obtain RU-486 (never can remember how to spell the name of the actual drug). I read just the other day that birth control pills do not and SHOULD not require a visit to a doctor’s office. This was a surprise. Traditionally they’ve only been available through that means. The statement went on to say that birth control pills are safer than many other drugs that are already sold over the counter. We have to gain control over the manufacture and distribution of these pills.

    Things look VERY bad for women in this country and I appreciate the fact that vote, vote, vote for the right kind of politician might make a difference. But does it really? Now that the Rethugs control the SCOTUS and the House, what difference will voting in a few Dem. politicians make? I think (1) we are no longer helpless. Women are smart, and (2) we can devise our own networks and disseminate knowledge and contraceptives through them. After all, think about “Jane,” and that happened before the Internet came along.

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