The only time I’ve ever been on birth control was when my spouse and I were trying to have a child. This just goes to show the variety of ways that birth control is used—and why the Supreme Court’s recent decision allowing more employers to refuse to cover it is very much a queer issue.
First, let me assure you I know how birth control works. My spouse and I, however, were doing reciprocal IVF, with me donating an egg for her to carry. We needed to synch our cycles so that my egg was retrieved when her uterus was ready. Enter the birth control pill, which allows a clockwork prediction of one’s monthly cycle. (More details here on how we did this.) Yet my situation is far from the only one involving queer people and birth control. Bisexual and pansexual people may be in relationships that have the potential within them to create pregnancies, as may transgender and nonbinary folks. Sometimes, too, birth control is used to regulate hormones for medical reasons having nothing to do with procreation.
The Supreme Court upheld the Trump administration’s desire to allow almost any employer, even for-profit ones, to cite religious or moral beliefs as a reason to refuse to cover birth control for its employees. In doing so, it gutted provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that say employers must cover this. (The ACA did, in fact allow exemptions for religiously affiliated organizations, while also giving their employees ways of having birth control covered by having the organizations not pay the costs directly, as CNN explains.) Now, the Supreme Court has said even employers who are not religiously affiliated may use religious or moral reasons not to cover birth control. Between 75,000 to 125,000 women could lose birth control coverage, by the government’s estimate.
As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg said in her dissent, joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, “Today, for the first time, the Court casts totally aside countervailing rights and interests in its zeal to secure religious rights to the nth degree.”
This is deeply frightening, especially given the other ways this administration is pushing for religious exemptions to nondiscrimination laws—say, in adoption and foster care,
I wish I had some words of encouragement—but all I can do is agree with RBG. One more reason for us all to vote in November.