Politics

Feminists Shouldn't Make Coverage For Oral Pills Their Holy Grail: Shikha Dalmia in TIME

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Feminists were up in arms last week when the Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge against the Obamacare mandate requiring employers to provide contraceptive coverage as part of a standard insurance package (along with

oral contraceptives

pediatric dental coverage to childless couples; fertility treatment to 60-year-olds and drug rehab to teetotalers). But explains Shikha Dalmia in TIME today, by forcing employers against their religious beliefs, feminists are using unsympathetic means to promote a sympathetic cause. She says:

Men everywhere can walk into a store and buy as many condoms as they want, no questions asked. Likewise, women in Mexico, India and 44 other countries can buy oral contraceptives when they wish. Not so in the United States, even though 99 percent of all sexually experienced American women — and 98 percent of Catholic American women — use some form of birth control. This seems downright bizarre.

Despite such overwhelming demand, a Rasmussen poll released Monday found that only 38 percent of Americans support forcing employers to cover contraceptives— and 51 percent oppose it.

Feminists claim that such attitudes stem from "sexism," "misogyny" and a "fear of women's sexuality." But if that were the case, 90 percent of Americans wouldn't say that birth control is "morally acceptable." What feminists don't seem to get is that there is something problematic about making one person's access to contraception contingent on trampling on another person's religion…

The only reason American women need insurance coverage for contraception is because they can't buy birth control pills without a prescription—which doctors won't hand them without an annual exam.

Doctors don't require the exam because the pill is unsafe or requires medical supervision. No. It is a way to keep their clinics busy and their bank balances flush — and use women's own biology against them to make them do the medical establishment's bidding because, you know, women are too stupid to be trusted with their own health. That's the real sexism.

So if feminists were smart, they wouldn't cast this issue in terms women's rights versus religious rights.

That'll turn it into a lose-lose proposition. Medical paternalism is a far bigger threat to women's reproductive choices than religious zealotry. Focusing on the first will do more to give women control over their bodies— including the female employees of Hobby Lobby — than a pitched battle against the second.

Go here to read the whole thing.