The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in the year 2017, has declared that birth control is morally and religiously objectionable. HHS, an agency who’s stated mission is to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans, has placed the moral and religious beliefs of employers over a woman’s ability to access birth control. This makes me angry and, probably because I’m halfway through Hulu’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ scared.
My anger is rooted in the blatant hypocrisy of a Trump Administration ruling that my use of birth control is immoral. Donald Trump is as foul, dishonorable, and vile (all synonyms of immoral) as they come. Evidenced by the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape where he is heard boasting about using his wealth and fame to sexually violate women. It’s not lost on any of us that the year anniversary of this tape’s release comes one day after the release of this HHS ruling.
I am also angry because as a policy practitioner who has lobbied the Connecticut General Assembly on many issues that impact women, whether that be affirmative consent, removing firearms from domestic abusers, or establishing a system of paid family & medical leave, I have talked with a lot of elected officials who think about an issue in terms of how it would impact them. It’s unfortunate, but for many people their starting point is how they will fair under a law.
In this case, the Trump Administration–of which 80% of the appointees are men, sees birth control as immoral. Their reaction to having healthcare cover the cost of birth control isn’t the one we’ve seen some male lawmakers [idiotically] argue previously, that it’s unfair because they don’t use it. No, this Administration has reacted to birth control coverage by declaring that any employer who finds birth control morally or religiously objectionable has the right not to cover it. Usually, morality and religion are left to abortion.
Maybe it’s the recent resignation of Republican & self-declared “pro-life” Congressman Tim Murphy after it was revealed that he asked his mistress to get an abortion, or the forever ingrained declaration by foul-mouthed conservative Rush Limbaugh that Sandra Fluke was a slut and a prostitute for taking birth control, or rehearing the tape of Donald Trump talk about how he grabs women by the pussy. I just can’t help but feel like this latest crusade to prevent women from accessing birth control has to do with these men in power seeing women who use birth control as loose whores, the kind of women you have on the side…not in your house.
And, this is where I’m scared. The Trump Administration is comprised of religious zealots and sexist sexual predators. We all know that Trump could care less about women and so Pence is allowed to push his beliefs–remember the no dining with women other than your wife rule–through in the form of public policy that is negatively impacting the lives of women and girls. I’m scared because while I optimistically keep waiting for this 1950’s nightmare to end, there is the real possibility that Pence could become President or we could have 8 long years of this misogynistic duo.
I’m most scared though that we’re arent taking this ruling for what it is– a direct attack on women and our ability to control our bodies and our lives. We are not immoral. Birth control is not immoral. Women are capable of having children and we have the right to control whether or not we have children– not the federal government, not Mike Pence and Donald Trump, and certainly not our employer.
There have been reports that this HHS ruling will be opposed and groups like the ACLU may sue. If that is the case, we need to step it up, take to the streets, and get loud. They’re coming after us ladies, and fast. We must and we will, #Resist.