On the last day of the legislative session, the Missouri legislature passed a bill allowing employers and health plan providers to opt out of covering contraception or abortion in health plans if such health services violate their religious convictions. The bill also gives the state Attorney General the authority to sue any government official or agency that overrules the state law. The legislation, modeled after the failed Blunt Amendment in the US Senate, passed the state Senate 28-6 and the House 105-33.
There’s no word yet on whether the governor will sign the bill into law, but things are getting worse and worse for women as state legislatures pass increasingly insane bills to limit women’s access to birth control, abortion — even basic health care services like annual exams.
What they want, apparently is to re-enslave women. No birth control, no abortions — they’ll just keep us so busy with pregnancy and child-rearing that we won’t have time or energy to challenge their authority. And we’ll be worn out before we’re 40 and dead before we’re 50 because they want to keep cutting our access to health care too.
There’s this in Missouri, the closing of women’s health clinics in Texas, the attempts at “personhood” laws, the bill in Tennessee that would make women prove their miscarriages weren’t abortions.
Next up? Employers will be able to ask you whether you’re using birth control and fire you for it.
These decisions are intensely personal and I don’t think anyone but the person who might get pregnant and the potential father of her child should have a say in them. My employer has no business in that decision, nor does my pastor or any state or federal lawmaker.
In a nation that is supposed to offer me freedom from your religious edicts, this is just nuts.
But here’s the thing. I grew up in a church that held many of these beliefs. Women were not equal to men, we were not allowed to teach men, meaning we couldn’t hold any position of authority in the church, we were to submit to the authority of men in all things.
We were supposed to welcome as many children as God would bless us with and vote the way we were told by our husbands. We went from our fathers’ authority to our husbands’ and then if we outlived our husbands, our sons or sons-in-law could take over telling us what to do.
This didn’t appeal to me, so I left that church. But now, state legislators are trying to impose those same religious views on women across the country.
The Establishment Clause in the Bill of Rights exists to keep this from happening. We aren’t supposed to be governed by the religious views of anyone, least of all a bunch of creepy old white men who want to re-enslave us.
We can fight this. All we have to do is get out and vote against these clowns. It’s time for them to go because their time is long gone.
We no longer live in Victorian times, we don’t need to be put on a pedestal. We need to be treated as equals, capable of making our own decisions about our own bodies. We, alone, own ourselves. Anything less is enslavement.Leslie Boyd, a former newspaper reporter, is president of the health care advocacy nonprofit, WNC Health Advocates, founded in memory of her son, who died in 2008 because he couldn't access health care. E-mail her at leslie at lettersfromtheleft dot com or follow her on Twitter @leftyletters1, visit Letters from the Left on Facebook. For more information about WNC Health Advocates or to read Boyd's health care blog, visit wncha.org.