On Tuesday, the plaza in front of the Legislative Assembly in El Salvador blazed with sun and the energy of 200 women and men gathered to demand from the state an accounting of progress made on petitions to pardon 17 women unjustly imprisoned for up to 40 years for what amount to miscarriages, stillbirths, and other obstetric complications.
Monday’s Hobby Lobby ruling is one more piece of evidence that we still do not value women’s rights in the same way that we value “universal rights”—that is, rights that pertain to men.
Although the reproductive rights movement and the broader feminist movement have become increasingly intersectional, there is still much work to be done in centering the issues faced by women who are not white, economically advantaged, heterosexual, and cisgender.
Amid the anguish over the Hobby Lobby ruling Monday was a note of optimism among some liberals, suggesting that the ruling was constructed with a narrowness that specifically prohibits use of its legal reasoning to protect religiously inspired discrimination against LGBT people. If only that was in fact the case.
The Hobby Lobby decision is an affront to all women and yet another barrier to Asian American and Pacific Islander women who already face significant health disparities and barriers to insurance access.
Reading the Supreme Court’s opinion in the Massachusetts buffer zone case, you might get the idea that free speech in the form of protests and handing out literature about social and political issues is practiced without restriction in the United States. But that is not the case.
Black women already have low and inconsistent use of birth control due to access barriers, and Monday’s Hobby Lobby decision is one more that puts effective care out of financial reach for many in need.
Monday’s ruling is a cause for grave concern—for women, for LGBT people, and for other groups whose right to equal dignity and treatment in the workplace has been placed on shaky new ground.
Once hailed as a lifesaver and necessity for everyone thinking about having sex, condoms are now frequently maligned—young people are surrounded by messages suggesting they don’t work, they break, and they take all the fun out of sex.
I’m struggling to come to terms with the thought that the Supreme Court would invite discrimination and interference from bosses into the personal health decisions of women.