In light of today’s Supreme Court ruling on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, we’re revisiting two stories:
1. Spin, Measure, Cut: Hobby Lobby and the Tangled Skein of Reproductive Rights (Susan Schorn, The Hairpin)
Susan Schorn writes about family history, crafts, and the power of choice:
In America, my great-grandmother endured multiple pregnancies, many of which ended in miscarriage due to violence at her husband’s hands. But five of her children survived, among them my grandmother and great-aunt. What values did their mother pass on to them? For one thing, they learned that letting men control their bodies and lives was a very bad idea. They were Americans, their mother assured them; they couldn’t be forced into illiteracy, dependency, marriage, or pregnancy. Here in America, the priests didn’t make the laws, and fathers and husbands couldn’t invoke tradition to control women’s live.
My great-grandmother made sure her daughters went to school; she taught them to value education and knowledge over superstition and religious doctrine. Today, the women in my family make afghans, and some of us go to church. We also have college degrees. We have our own beliefs about procreation, but we also think critically, and we value the expertise of scientists and physicians who study pregnancy and childbirth. We trust their opinions on the subject more than we do that of priests, religious leaders, or CEOs of hobby stores. Why? Because they tell us what our bodies do, not what we must do with them. They provide information that helps us make decisions for ourselves. And that is a paramount value in my family: When it’s your body that bears the consequences, you make the decisions. All of them.
Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux examines the Becket Fund, the law firm behind the Hobby Lobby case:
To some, the decision to sponsor politically charged lawsuits like Hobby Lobby’s signals a shift in the fund’s strategy. By choosing cases that will undermine the Affordable Care Act and slow the progression of same-sex marriage, critics contend, the fund has become ideological. The money seems to point in that direction. Although its supporters were always conservative, right-wing activists began to fill Becket’s coffers just as the contraception-mandate litigation took off. The group’s contributions and grants rose by more than 60 percent in the year after the Belmont Abbey suit was filed. In 2012, the Becket Fund received almost a quarter of a million dollars from DonorsTrust, a shadowy middleman used to funnel money from benefactors like Charles and David Koch to conservative think tanks and advocacy groups. (The Becket Fund declined repeated requests for comment about its work and funding.)
Not everyone agrees that the fund is tacking right. “It’s myopic to characterize Becket through the lens of the controversies that happen to be going on right now,” says Rick Garnett, a professor of law at the University of Notre Dame, who has co-written Supreme Court amicus briefs with Becket attorneys. “Their willingness to defend somebody’s religious freedom has never depended on whether or not they agreed with that person’s claim.”
Photo: Nicholas Eckhart