Imagine this. You’re sitting in some faceless office. Your palms are sweating. You really hope you get this job. The man behind the desk finishes asking you all the relevant questions about your qualifications. He asks you if you have any questions about the position. You do, but you don’t want to say it. Then suddenly, you go for it.
“What is the company policy on what I do with my uterus. I mean…my hormones. I mean, what medication I take. How do you guys feel about birth control?"
I know what you’re thinking. Why would I ever ask that question in an interview? But if things go a certain way with cases that are before the Supreme Court right now, it might not be such a weird question after all.
The Supreme Court announced yesterday that it will be judging the question at the heart of a few high profile court cases: can a for-profit company refuse to cover the cost of contraception for its employees if the company’s leaders have religious objections to contraception? As it stands now, the Affordable Care Act requires most employers (exempting churches and religious non-profits) to cover the full range of contraceptives in their health plans. For some conservative companies with religious leaders, this is not cool.
One of the most high profile companies in this fight is Hobby Lobby, a Christian-owned craft supply company that argues that the ACA’s provision goes against its owner’s beliefs that forms of BC like IUD’s and Plan B are the same thing as abortion. Hobby Lobby maintains that it should not have to help provide for practices that it finds morally reprehensible.
The politics in this fight are complicated and multi-layered. In a political sense, this is just another fight in the argument that never ends: how big can the government get? But this argument doesn’t really interest me. What interests me is what this fight means for women. Most importantly for me, the argument seems to come down to this. Does the Supreme Court believe that birth control, all birth control, is a medical right or a medical privilege? And if they decide it is a privilege, what else will begin to fall under this category? What other medications can companies choose not to subsidize? Anti-depressants? HIV medications? If the Supreme Court decides that it is a woman’s right to use whatever preventative birth control she chooses with little to no cost to her, then it will be a big day for feminism. Because it will remind us once again that ownership over a woman’s body belongs to no one but herself. And any type of monetary coercion that seeks to bar a woman from exercising this agency is a violation of her rights.