Posts Tagged: birth control Results 24
Four years before women won the right to vote in the United States, Margaret Sanger — the future founder of Planned Parenthood — and her sister, Ethel Byrne, met a young Jewish immigrant named Fania Mindell. On October 16, 1919, the trio opened the country’s first birth control clinic, located in a tenement in Brownsville, New York.
When I first read Alana Massey’s recent piece in The Atlantic, “Women Don’t Need to Have Periods,” about period-suppression, I wondered if it was sponsored content for a pharmaceutical company, specifically Bayer, the makers of the Mirena IUD.
Last week, my post on why Jews should care about the Hobby Lobby contraception case, and my subsequent defense of its points, caused a furor on right-wing Twitter. The collectivist principles inherent in insurance, the fact that the Affordable Care Act’s expanded coverage is associated with President Obama, and the promotion of women’s bodily autonomy is always a toxic combination for this particular crowd of angry folks.
They were mainly incensed because I put forward the idea that contraception, like all preventive health care, should be treated as a human right and therefore its cost taken on by society rather than the individual. This was received with widespread outrage frequently bordering on vitriol. “Slut, pay for your own birth control” was the most common message I received. The second most common was, “Fine you pay for my Cadillac!” I was privy to the very special ultra right wing talking point that contraception is analogous to cars. Fancy cars.
Last week the Supreme Court agreed to hear Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. v. Sebelius and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, two cases about the conflict between Obamacare mandates and religion. Specifically, they examine whether for-profit corporations can refuse to provide employees with certain types of contraception (those that prevent fertilized eggs from implanting), which they object to on religious grounds, as part of their health insurance. The new healthcare law requires all employers, with exception of certain types of non-profit religious institutions, to offer contraception or be subject to fines.
Naturally, the Court’s acceptance of this case has caused many to speak up against the notion of “personhood” for both corporations and fertilized eggs, and, once again, breathlessly, for women’s right to affordable and accessible contraception for the many, many health-related reasons we require it.
Like most young, engaged Modern Orthodox women, Tova decided to go on the birth control pill when she and her husband got engaged. Tova, who asked to go by a pseudonym, visited the gynecologist, spoke to her kallah teacher, and learned about the pill from her friends. As the most viable form of birth control for halacha-observant Jews, the pill was what she expected to take until she was ready to become pregnant. She never imagined that instead of enhancing her newly married life, the pill would come close to ruining it.