The Feminist Majority Foundation will deliver thousands of petitions to the US Supreme Court tomorrow in support of the Affordable Care Act birth control benefit, sending a clear signal to the Court that women, not bosses, should make personal decisions about women’s healthcare.
“After a trip to the ER at 19 years old, I was put on birth control to treat ovarian cysts,” said Kristy Birchard, a Feminist Majority Foundation National Campus Organizer. “I can’t imagine my boss telling me that his or her beliefs should trump my health.”
“Women should not have to get their bosses’ permission to access birth control. Whether women are using birth control to prevent pregnancy, using it to treat serious medical conditions, like endometriosis or ovarian cysts, or both, is none of their bosses’ business,” said Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal.
On Tuesday, the Court will hear oral arguments from Hobby Lobby, a national for-profit arts and crafts chain, and Conestoga Wood, a for-profit cabinet manufacturer, who want to prevent their female employees from accessing birth control through their health insurance plans. The Feminist Majority Foundation, along with a coalition of several organizations, will be at the Court to give voice to the majority of Americans who support women’s health and the birth control benefit.
“Bosses have no right to be in your bedroom and no right to determine your healthcare plan. This is a blatant, dangerous attempt to discriminate against women,” continued Smeal. “Denying access to birth control compromises women’s health. Decisions about birth control should be made by women in consultation with their doctors. Women should not be held hostage to the beliefs of their bosses.”
“Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood think they can use religion to discriminate against women, arguing that the birth control benefit violates the companies’ religious liberty. But this case isn’t about protecting religious liberty. Simply put, profit-making corporations are not people with religious beliefs, and as the people of Arizona showed us just recently when Governor Jan Brewer vetoed anti-LGBT legislation cloaked in the rhetoric of religious liberty, we must be vigilant about the use of religion as a license to discriminate. It not only flies in the face of American values, but in this case, it literally threatens women’s health and lives,” said Smeal.
Birth control is basic health care for women. Nearly all American women who have ever had sexual intercourse have used birth control, and as many as 88% have used birth control pills, injectables, the contraceptive patch, or IUDs at some point in their lives. Birth control is also essential for the near 15% of women who use the pill to treat painful conditions such as endometriosis, ovarian cysts, or severe cramps, and studies have shown that the pill reduces the incidence of ovarian and endometrial cancers.
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