Bright Spots In Reproductive Rights And Justice

Why freedom-loving women and men will ultimately crush the (Hobby) Lobbyists

August 31, 2014 (originally published on Storify)

While the Supreme Court is sleeping, our culture keeps progressing brightly around them. If you think the Court is out of touch with technology, that's almost nothing compared to how starkly their recent "Hobby Lobby" decision puts them at odds with most of America.

The Facts on Birth Control Coverage For Women

When it comes to the facts on birth control coverage for women, here's what you need to know. 1. Americans Support Including Birth Control as Preventive Health Care Birth control use is nearly universal. Ninety-nine percent of all sexually experienced women and 98 percent of sexually experienced Catholic women have used it at some point in their lives.

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The Supreme Court's decision cleared the way for business owners to claim their companies have religious beliefs - yes, you heard it right - and deny health care coverage for employees on that basis. In this particular case, Hobby Lobby can now deny employees insurance coverage for the birth control methods of their choice. It's as if the Supreme Court's patron saint is Rip Van Winkle, who fell asleep and woke up after 20 years to find his beard unkempt and both his clothes and his points of view out of step with everyone around him. And yet the Court is determining the law for decades to come.

U.S. elected officials are right up there too. Statistics show they're so out of sync with the rest of us they might as well be stars in badly-dubbed anime television from the early 1970s.


So why are we so optimistic? Because popular culture is finally bringing forward the matter-of-fact reality that most of us will have sex at some point in our lives, and all of us need accessible, informed, unrestricted, private and affordable reproductive health care. Among many recent examples, two popular movies come to mind: Juno, which featured a young woman who eventually decides to continue an unplanned pregnancy for reasons she can't articulate but are emotionally real; and the new release Obvious Child, in which (as a private reviewer remarked) "...they say the 'A-word' and no one faints."

The Women Behind 'Obvious Child' Talk Farts, Abortion And Stage Fright

When director Gillian Robespierre co-wrote the new romantic comedy Obvious Child, she says she wanted to bring attention to an empowered, funny woman who has a realistic, safe abortion. "We ... wanted to combine a lot of things that we felt our culture was suppressing," Robespierre tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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We're even more excited to see the same young women and men who laugh at these funny films taking reproductive health care very seriously. So excited, we’ve sent three organizations "Thank You Notes" in the form of unsolicited, $25,000 grants to continue their work:

The Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice is brand-spankin' new at U.C. Berkeley Law and promises to become a major resource for attorneys, academics and advocates who want to connect with each other, sharing the knowledge they need to move their work forward.

Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice

Welcome to the Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice (CRRJ), a multidisciplinary research center dedicated to issues of reproduction and designed to supportpolicy solutions by connecting people and ideas across the academic-advocate divide. We have been thrilled by the wide-ranging interest and enthusiasm expressed about CRRJ (pronounced "courage") since its recent launch.

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Law Students for Reproductive Justice (now If/When/How) has a presence at over 100 law schools around the country, involving both women and men (mostly future attorneys) in advocacy for fair reproductive health care, and training them in leadership roles for mobilizing others.

The Center for Reproductive Rights does a huge range of important work from in-depth research like mapping the world's abortion laws, to granular, daily updates on the state of reproductive health in the U.S.

Winning may take longer than we want but, with popular culture shifting to reflect reality, and organizations like these taking the lead in new ways, we believe ordinary people who want to make their own thoughtful healthcare decisions will prevail.

—written by Keneta Anderson for Quixote Foundation