Allowing an employer to refuse birth control coverage for their employees if they themselves are morally or religiously opposed to birth control is sexist —plain and simple.
If someone is religiously or morally opposed to birth control, that is their choice not to take it. But as an employer, you must treat all employees equally under the law, regardless of sex. The ruling handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday targets women and prevents them from accessing preventative health care.
As an elected official who has taken positions on gun violence prevention, women’s reproductive rights, and most recently wearing masks, I attract quite a few “trolls” on my social media. Though these “trolls” act like the fly at your picnic that serves only to bother, they also shine a light onto the deep-seeded sexism that permeates our country.
The “trolls” share their sexism. And it is that very same sexism that allows decisions like Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania to happen.
In response to the Supreme Court’s 7-2 ruling (the dissenters being two women), the “trolls” on my social media told me that women should just close their legs and that women should take responsibility for their sexual behavior. The last time I checked, sex takes two people. Birth control isn’t about sex. It is about freedom. The advent of birth control gave women —single and married— autonomy. Birth control allows women to decide how and when they get pregnant. It protects rape victims. Birth control helps women who have painful periods or endometriosis. Women are the only ones who have the biological capability to get pregnant, so our healthcare includes our reproductive healthcare.
No one should be making decisions about something as crucial and as personal as women’s reproductive health other than the woman herself.
We are living in precarious times. This decision is dangerous, and it will have a severe impact on women (especially women of color) who already face limited access to healthcare and grave inequities. This decision should serve as a rallying point for women across this county. Just as we rose in 2016, women must rise again and take back our country from men who use us and judge us.
Health insurance coverage for birth control isn’t a moral issue —it is one of fairness. And the more essential care is restricted, the less free and fair our country becomes.
State Rep. Jillian Gilchrest represents West Hartford’s 18th Assembly District.