Midwest Voices

Melvina Johnson Young: Imagine the debate that Hobby Lobby decision might stir between most American women and the GOP


pecial to The Star

An American flag flies in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., where the Hobby Lobby health care decision was handed down recently.
An American flag flies in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., where the Hobby Lobby health care decision was handed down recently. The Associated Press

Most American Women: “Ouch! Dammit, that hurts!”

GOP: “Seriously? Come on! You’re not hurt.”

MAW: “I know what pain is.”

GOP: “No. You just THINK you’re feeling pain because liberals and the media told you that.”

MAW: “Wait. What? You think I have to be told I deserve equal pay for equal work, that rape isn’t ‘regret sex?’ I need to be told that I should be able to choose the best contraception science has to offer for my body, health, lifestyle and sexual choices according to my own religious or non-religious understanding? That’s not a ‘liberal’ thing. It’s American.”

GOP: “Come on! Don’t try to tell me that you were worried about any of that stuff until the ‘lame-stream’ media started with that ‘War on Women’ crap.”

MAW: “It wasn’t the media that started with the crap. Devastating funding cuts to prenatal and maternal care? Closing down family planning clinics with fake concerns about room temperatures and building codes? Supporting this Hobby Lobby mess?”

GOP: “We have to respect and protect the religious freedom of job creators too. They’re only opposing contraception that kills babies....”

MAW: “You really siding with people who think abortion can happen before pregnancy even occurs? Their “sincerely held beliefs” forced what’s basically a religious definition of pregnancy (sperm meets egg) into public policy over the objections of doctors with scientific/medical knowledge. See doctors — like The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists who’ve studied how lady parts work and actually help women conceive and have babies — say pregnancy can’t happen until sperm and egg meet and implant in a hospitable uterine environment. (Did you know up to 80 percent of fertilized eggs naturally fail to implant? How many ‘pregnancies’ is that?)

“By Hobby Lobby’s definition of pregnancy, the methods they object to could cause abortions before a woman is even medically pregnant. Abortifacients? How? By its very definition an abortifacient ends an already established pregnancy. It does not stop a pregnancy from happening in the first place. That's what birth control does. Let that sink in. I'll wait.

“They’re entitled to their beliefs. But thanks to their money and the powerful people who agree with them, American women who are depending on the Affordable Care Act are apparently entitled to Hobby Lobby’s religious beliefs, too. You’d think Jesus spent his entire time on earth writing a birth control pamphlet the way this swindle went down.”

GOP: “Calm down! No need to get hysterical.”

MAW: “Don’t tell me to calm down, Elephant Man. Birth control is the gateway drug to women’s equality. Plan your family — plan your future. When somebody else’s ‘religious freedom’ gets in the way of that maybe it’s time for a ‘Freedom From the Other Guy’s Religion’ amendment. My rights matter. Science and facts matter.”

GOP: “Look, their consciences told them....”

MAW: “Their consciences should have listened harder to science. I’ll go with science on how my body and birth control works. I trust Hobby Lobby when I need delightful knobs for my armoire.”

GOP: “Well, the public shouldn’t have to pay for your birth control....”

MAW: “Birth control is the ultimate and most personal kind of personal responsibility. I pay for my birth control when I pay my insurance premiums. The same way you pay for your Rogaine and penile implants with your insurance premiums.”

GOP: “Whoa! Why you getting so personal up in here?! Gosh, you’re so upset over four little forms of birth control.”

MAW: “Keep up, Grandpa. Not even two days later the Supreme Court affirmed that the Hobby Lobby decision applied ‘broadly’ to ALL 20 FORMS OF CONTRACEPTIVES considered under the health care law.”

GOP: “Yawn. Plenty of women agree with us.”

MAW: “Just because you can get a few people with female organs to say it’s OK doesn’t make it OK with the rest of us. What did we learn about your echo chamber problem from the last presidential election? You had lots of agreement — with yourselves — and very little reality. Until it got really real, and President Barack Obama got to pick out new towels for his second term in the White House.

“So let me break you off a little piece of realness about this: 99 percent of American women, including religious and conservative women, married and unmarried, childless and with children have used contraception. And most won’t appreciate or forget this. One in three American women, married and unmarried, childless and with children, religious and secular has terminated a pregnancy.

“They won’t talk about it to their neighbor or at church. They won’t be showing up in counterdemonstrations outside family planning clinics. But they’ve got strong feelings about medical privacy and long, long memories.

“They won’t appreciate your misinforming the public about the best defense against abortion — contraception. They won’t get over the shaming and the blaming you revel in.

“They won’t like you shutting down women’s and family planning clinics and helping folks with deep pockets push their ‘religious freedom’ down women’s throats.”

GOP: “Bah! Women won’t fall for this ‘War on Women’ claptrap. They’re more than reproductive parts. They care about more than birth control.”

MAW: “True. Your economic policy sucks too. Fighting equal pay? Standing against minimum wage when two out of three minimum wage earners are women? Slashing food stamps and day care in a bad economy when one in three women live in or near poverty? Yeah. ‘Sucks’ covers it.”

GOP: “You’re adorable! You seeing anybody?”

MAW: “Oh. I see. You don't have a ‘woman problem.’ You have a reality problem. Come election — anybody but you. We still get to make private decisions in the voting booth.”

Melvina Johnson Young is a former university lecturer and writer specializing in U.S. history, African-American history, women's history, and gender and cultural studies. To reach her, send email to oped@kcstar.com.