Six Texas Republicans in Congress Support Allowing Your Boss to Control Your Reproductive Health

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Good news, ladies! Steve Stockman knows what's best for your health, which means restricting your right to get birth control covered by your employer-provided health insurance.

Six Texas Republicans in Congress signed an amicus brief supporting the right of Hobby Lobby to restrict birth control options for their employees, thus denying those employees their own religious and personal freedom.

The Texans in Congress who think your boss should decide what birth control you can use consist of Kevin Brady, Michael Conaway, Randy Neugebauer, Pete Olson, Ted Poe, and Steve Stockman.

Because if there's one person who's qualified to make medical decisions for anyone, it's the man who wants to arm fetuses with a gun, amirite?

More below the jump about why Hobby Lobby's efforts to restrict their employees' access to birth control is legal hogwash.NPR breaks down the two sides in the case:

The lead plaintiff before the court is Hobby Lobby Inc., a chain of 500 arts and crafts stores with 13,000 employees. The owners are conservative Christians who object to certain methods of birth control – IUDs and morning-after pills – because they can interfere with the creation of life once an egg is fertilized.

IUD's work by preventing fertilization through thickening the cervical mucous and preventing ovulation (only hormonal IUD's do this). If a rogue sperm is able to get by the copper device in the woman's cervix, and find an egg, and fertilize it, the resulting zygote would not implant. IUD's prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years and are one of the most effective forms of woman-controlled birth control.

An IUD can cost up to $900, so without partial or full insurance coverage, many women will not be able to afford the method that may be the best choice for their individual health needs.

The morning-after pill is an option for women whose primary birth control method fails. Condoms break, accidents happen. Essentially, Hobby Lobby wants to financially punish their employees whose condoms break during sex by preventing their insurance from covering a back-up method.

However, as a corporation, Hobby Lobby lacks the religious standing of… wait for it…. an actual human being with religious beliefs, such as the employees whose rights would be infringed by this decision.

The government, however, points to a long line of Supreme Court cases that take a contrary view, declaring that the court has never found a for-profit company to be a religious organization for purposes of federal law. Indeed, the Justice Department says in its briefs that the government would be unable to function if religious beliefs could be the basis for corporations' refusing to comply with generally applied laws – be they child labor laws, immunization laws, laws that mandate serving racially mixed groups or income tax laws that require everyone to pay, no matter how the government spends the money.

Make no mistake: Hobby Lobby is trying to prevent access to two kinds of birth control. If they are successful, other entities will use this decision to try to block access to other forms of birth control.

There's a reason why the Christian right-wing keeps trying to equate pregnancy-preventing measures with pregnancy-termination — to build political support for restrictions on access to any pregnancy prevention.

Shamefully, two Democrats — Daniel Lipinski of Illinois and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina — signed on, allowing the woman-hating brigade to claim “bipartisan” support. Shame on them!

Women in Texas need to consider the following: who is best suited to make decisions about your own reproductive health — your boss, and medical expert Steve Stockman? Or you and your doctor?

I'll tell you this — I don't want the likes of Stockman, Poe, or Neugebauer anywhere near anything that has to do with my health, reproductive or otherwise.  

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About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Central Texas. She is also a fan of UCONN women's basketball and breakfast tacos.

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