A Blow to Independence Day


Photo: (cc) Mark Fischer/Flickr, license from Creative Commons 2.0

by guest blogger Maya Rodale, author of smart and sassy romance novels

On Monday morning I was planning to dash off some fun, fluffy Independence Day blog for today (fireworks! sparklers!). Then the Supreme Court handed down the sort of ruling you wouldn’t expect in America, but in some fundamentalist Third World country.

Basically, with its ruling in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood case, SCOTUS decided that a few people’s religious beliefs are more important than the life, liberty, and freedom of half the population.

There are many brilliant articles about what this all means:

I highly recommend reading up on this issue. After learning more, if you’re left quivering with rage and a desire to DO SOMETHING, here are seven suggestions:

1. Power Shop

American women account for 85 percent of overall consumer spending and spend about $7 trillion annually. Wield that power wisely; I bet that the only thing more important than a company’s religious beliefs is its bottom line.

Get your glitter and glue guns somewhere other than Hobby Lobby. Get your wooden doors and cabinets from somewhere other than Conestoga Wood Specialties. And there are more companies to add to your #DoNotShopList: Mother Jones and RH Reality Check have long lists of companies that have filed suit against the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate (I was surprised to learn I will no longer be shopping from one of my favorite organic food companies).

Interestingly, many of them are in construction, cars, and medical supplies. Not places that ladies shop? Think again.

  • Women account for 91 percent of new home purchases.
  • Women account for 68 percent of car purchases.
  • Women make 80 percent of healthcare decisions.
  • Over the course of a family’s life, 90 percent of married women will control its wealth.

Source: Business Insider

2. Don’t Forget the Employees of These Companies

Many may not have a choice in where they work and may need those jobs—and the healthcare benefits—to support their families. Help them out and give to Planned Parenthood and other organizations that provide accurate information and affordable healthcare services for women. This might be the only way many women can get birth control or the help they need to gain control over their bodies and destinies.

3. Talk about Politics

Silence is agreement. Instead, speak up, discuss the issues this holiday weekend, and don’t be afraid to contradict. Read the news, inform yourself, and share the facts. In conversations I’ve had about current events, I often find that people are getting vastly different information. But turn off the blowhards on the news.

4. Act On Your Convictions

Do you want to be involved (physically, romantically, or otherwise) with someone who doesn’t think women should have access to the birth control and health care they want and need? Probably not, especially if they don’t understand the basics of safe sex and that unplanned pregnancies are a two way street.

If the person you’re with doesn’t want to share the consequences, why should they share in the fun? Take a cue from the ancient Greek play Lysistrata and withhold sexual relations from those who don’t support your reproductive rights. In the meantime, don’t sacrifice your own pleasure. Check out Babeland for some fun personal toys.

5. Support Political Candidates Who Support Women

The organization Emily’s List helps to get pro-choice democratic women elected. Support that organization or just check out its recommendations. While you’re at it, register to vote.

6. Study Science and Encourage Others to Do So

So often, the conversations surrounding hot-button issues are simply not based on scientific fact. Not basing decisions on legitimate facts, scientific data, and peer-reviewed studies often prevents us from taking meaningful steps toward solving our problems. Simply believing something doesn’t make it true. Replace ignorance with education. Visit science museums, watch TV shows about science, read books, encourage the study of science in schools, talk about it, google it. Better yet, Google Scholar it.

7. Talk with your daughters AND SONS about sex and pleasure!

We talk to girls about their responsibility to protect themselves, have safe sex, use birth control, and how reproduction works—and we should! Boys should get the same talk. The SCOTUS ruling in the Hobby Lobby case was nearly along gender lines (with a big shout-out to Stephen Breyer, who voted with the women), and it shows that we need to do a better job at communicating how sex, pleasure, and the consequences impact us all, male and female (or other), for better or for worse.

Next Independence Day I hope to be writing about fireworks and sparklers.

MayaRodalephotoMaya Rodale is the author of multiple historical romance novels, as well as the nonfiction book Dangerous Books for Girls: The Bad Reputation of Romance Novels, Explained. She has a master’s degree from New York University and lives in Manhattan with her darling dog and a rogue of her own. Visit her online at mayarodale.com, or say hello to her @mayarodale on Twitter.


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4 Responses to A Blow to Independence Day

  1. Gary Kimball July 4, 2014 at 7:29 am #

    I agree 100%. The US Supreme Court – well 5 of th men on the court – got it Wrong. Corporations are not people. The Koch brothers and all those like them have systematically been “buying” our government. We used to have limits on political contributuons. So, my big question is: How much does it take to buy a S up remember Court Justice?

  2. Maya Rodale July 4, 2014 at 10:56 am #

    I agree, Gary! And I wish I knew how much it cost to buy one!

  3. Barbara July 4, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

    Thanks for writing this Maya. This ruling shows how out of touch with the real meaning of their jobs and how soaked into their own personal values these Court Justices are to have voted this way. Seems many in our country have forgotten the importance of separation of church and state. These decisions are personal and should not be dictated by our workforce. Personal bias of a judge should never be part of a court ruling, especially not a Supreme Court Justice. I too will no longer be supporting another of my once-favorite organic foods companies, and will watch very closely my choices for where to shop.

  4. Alice Green July 4, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

    I am so glad to see your strong and important words of wisdom here on this blog, Maya. We should all be talking about this issue, but it makes a huge impact when leaders who have voices and a place to voice their concerns speak out this way!! And I am thankful for those ‘watchdog’ groups who let us all know which companies are in the Hobby Lobby group! Never in a million years would I have thought that Eden Foods would have this same mentality! Makes me wonder how they ever got involved in organic foods to begin with. But they will never get another cent from me, unless they change their radical tune. This is a Big blow to our independence and nothing to celebrate about. Thank you for your intelligent stand on the issue and for your great information in this blog.

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