Wednesday, July 2, 2014

You Have the Right to Remain LOUD

My next post was going to be an All Things Portland one, full of happiness, food, and stellar city views. But, I need a space to work out my thoughts. And for now, this has to be the space. I need to respond to the SCOTUS decisions, and if you want to stop reading now, go ahead. I promise I won't be mad.

You have the right to remain LOUD.

I'm trying to wrap my head around what I read and heard yesterday, regarding the SCOTUS ruling on the contraception mandate and the buffer zones around clinics.  I have known from a young age that women are struggling in this country. That, though we are in the Land of the Free, we are so often NOT free. We're not free from harassment, from persecution for what we do and do not do with and for our bodies. We are not free to earn the same paycheck or respect as men. And it makes me ANGRY. Few people have ever seen me really angry. But I am ANGRY.

Everything you say can and WILL be used against you in the courts of the US, public opinion, and the media.

In 2014, we are witnessing legal decisions that make it feel like we've time-warped backwards into 1950. Sure, we don't mind if Viagra and vasectomy are covered, but an IUD? Hell no. Birth control? No way Josie! Four-hour erection pills so old white dudes can get some, TOTALLY cool. Sometimes LIFE SAVING hormones for women, who are making informed and necessary healthcare decisions for their present and future? Not a chance! Jesus would TOTALLY dig Viagra. Pregnancy prevention? We draw the line! The hypocrisy is ASTOUNDING. And speaking of hypocrisy...

A Massachusetts law regarding buffer zones outside of Planned Parenthood clinics, for the safety of patrons, was struck down from the safety and comfort of the SCOTUS' own buffer zone. That's right. Documented violence against patients, doctors, nurses, etc, that created the need for the zones in the first place is now lumped into the "Free Speech" category. Did the state of Massachusetts go about it in the wrong way? Maybe. Is it a flawed law, difficult to enforce? Probably. But the rationale for overturning it sends a message that the safety of women is not an immediate priority. It feels as though our highest court is staring evidence of violence in the face and ignoring it.  This should be alarming to absolutely everyone.

You have the right to a job (with equal pay) and an education. If you cannot obtain or afford one, each SHOULD be provided for you. 

I can't help but shudder at the breakdown of the separation of church and state. As a confirmed Episcopalian woman who is rampantly liberal and pro-choice, I struggle with those that try to change, create, or enforce laws based on religious beliefs. While I support the Freedom of Religion 100%, I cannot throw my support behind the notion of corporations as people, dictating laws based on religion. What if there is a Hobby Lobby worker who DOESN'T believe an IUD is abortion? Who had a rough pregnancy last time and cannot risk another? Who cannot afford the wildly expensive device that could prevent a dangerous and unnecessary (or even *gasp* unwanted) pregnancy? How is it okay for the upper management at HL to claim "Freedom of religion! We can't be FORCED to cover what we don't believe in" while also FORCING their beliefs on employees?

How is it "Christian" or "God's work" to harass, berate, hurt, maim, and MURDER women outside Planned Parenthood in the name of life? How is putting any life in danger being pro-life? How can we pick and choose what to believe in from the Bible, what aspects of law OR religion we practice and believe in? Can religious organizations who don't believe in anesthesia refuse to cover that? When a parent refuses medicine to their child, on religious grounds, they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law as child-abusers, despite religious convictions. Because, THAT'S THE LAW. And yet, a monumental decision about healthcare coverage related to women exclusively is made on religious grounds, and the highest court of the nation, tasked with upholding our laws and constitution, says that these religious beliefs may provide exemptions from LAW? I guarantee if the issue were coverage of vasectomy procedures, it would not have yielded the same ruling. Why are we being persecuted?

If you decided to wear tight clothes, use birth control, have an abortion, be a lesbian, etc. you have the right to do so and be left alone about it.

Politicians, pundits, the general public, many of them women, are staunchly denying that we are in the midst of a war on women in this country. Though the evidence actually stares them in the face, it's deny, deny, deny. Those that acknowledge it are ignored, silenced, ridiculed and tormented. How Ruth Bader Ginsburg could sit in that room and not just scream "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING?" to Alito and the like, is an example of extreme self-control and restraint. Her 35 page dissent is making headlines, thankfully, and is hopefully painting the picture of the potentially disastrous consequences of a ruling like this. I applaud her for speaking up, for being a voice.

We are fighting a war. We have to speak up, speak out, speak LOUD about our fear and confusion. We have to refuse to be considered second-class citizens. We must demand that no one can dictate what we do with our bodies except for us. We should be allowed to earn the equal pay for equal work, to get an IUD or an abortion and not be harassed and threatened for doing so; nor should we be expected to go broke protecting our bodies. We should be able to wear whatever the hell we want to, without being called a "slut," presuming we are "asking for it," or asked to cover up. Why is attention, airtime, headlines given to the argument that we are 'redefining' marriage if we support gay marriage when we have politicians and pundits redefining rape? A male politician can justify a woman going through the trauma of delivering her rapist's baby because it wasn't "forceable rape" and "every life is sacred" but that same one can't justify two men or two women who love each other getting married?

I knew before that we were in trouble; the two latest decisions of our highest court has solidified this. I am speaking up, remaining loud in the best way I can right now. Let's talk about it, let's channel RBG and voice our dissent. Let's be heard!

Knowing and understanding your rights as I have presented them, are you willing to live your best life possible, and defend your right to do so?