Willy Street Co-op Is Correct For Standing Up For Birth Control Coverage Issue


Though it took longer to announce than I would have preferred there is no doubt a great deal of pleasure over the news from Willy Street Co-op that they will not be selling nine Eden Foods products due to the food producer’s restriction of birth control coverage for employees.  Simply put, the war on women over contraception must come to an end.

This issue regarding contraception can be solved with more political spine from elected officials, and also with more grass-roots boycotts.

Not placing of Eden Foods on the shelves for sale is a just boycott, and the effort will be applauded.  Following the June ruling by the Supreme Court that companies can use religious reasons for not covering birth control for employee health insurance plans means that it is up to the folks such as you and I to step in and make companies pay heed to the real concerns of women.

This is 2014 and yet one might think from the way the contraception issue is handled by some that we are not so far removed from arranged marriages for women.  There is no doubt that women and their doctors are best suited to make the personal medical decisions, and companies who only desire a fat bottom line must stay out of that process.

Since some companies seem overjoyed getting between a woman and her personal decisions it is then vital that consumers step up and demonstrate that we find it most objectionable to have women placed at such a disadvantage.

Though I am not a member of the C0-op, though I once was, I am heartened that so many gave voice for women over the contraceptive matter.  It demonstrates to me that at the grassroots level we still have the power it make change happen.

5 thoughts on “Willy Street Co-op Is Correct For Standing Up For Birth Control Coverage Issue

  1. My husband and I ARE Co-op members. And what seems to get lost in the contraceptive debate is this: birth control pills do more than just prevent conception. The pills are used to treat endometriosis, an exceptionally painful and debilitating condition women (including myself) suffer from. No business — big or small, international or local, owned by religious owners or atheists — has a right to cherry-pick the laws they will/will not follow. If that is what they want to do, then the “corporate veil” — the special protections all registered corporations use to “protect” them from litigation — should be ended. Or maybe all of “unwashed masses” being subjected to the alleged religious fervor of companies that in reality want to cut their health care costs should incorporate — become LLCs. Maybe then we can decide which laws we’ll obey and which laws we’ll just thumb our nose at. At the very least, it would annoy a lot of Wisconsin pols who are hellbent on wanting to eliminate the constitutional office of Secretary of State because they have an unnatural hatred of Doug LaFollette.

  2. tom

    LOL! You write: “This is 2014 and yet one might think from the way the contraception issue is handled by some that we are not so far removed from arranged marriages for women. There is no doubt that women and their doctors are best suited to make the personal medical decisions, and companies who only desire a fat bottom line must stay out of that process.” Seriously, arranged marriages? That’s just bad writing or bad thinking. Of course, since this whole issue is silly, I can see why you put little effort into it. I was also previously unaware that prior to this massive give-away to women that companies were allowed to participate in discussions between doctors and women. In reality, women covered by any health plan–or none at all– can be prescribed contraceptives. Who should have to pay for them is entirely another matter.

    As for the Silly-Street co-op, they are just pandering to the whims of their customers, too. Its about their bottom line as well. They decline to sell eight items–eight–and you congratulate them will free advertising. What a profile in courage!

    I think that paying for the treatment of endometriosis is reasonable since it is a debilitating condition, but pregnancy is not. Procreation seems a pretty big part of the natural world according to much of the scientific literature I’ve read. One could almost say that a woman’s body was designed to bring new life into the world (BUT ONLY IF SHE CHOOSES, I KNOW).

    BB comments: “No business…has a right to cherry-pick the laws they will/will not follow.” I would strongly agree. However, the Supreme Court has determined that some businesses do not need to follow that because the law is in that case “unconstitutional.” They are not “picking;” they have petitioned their government. But if BB is concerned about following the law, could she please cite the law passed by Congress which delayed implementation of the employer mandate so critical to The Affordable Care Act? In the end we all applaud people who don’t follow laws we don’t like; I’m no different. But I do think we should expect the government to follow its own laws.

    As for the Secretary of State–clearly unrelated. But for the sake of argument, is there any reason to have the position at all?

  3. It is intellectually stunning (although not surprising these days) that someone would actually DEFEND the logic-defying concept of corporations possessing the rights of individual citizens — a foundational concept of the U.S. Constitution. “All (humans) are created equal…” and not “All humans and corporate entities….” That bizarre interpretation is more the result of the bastardization of American principles — funded by Tea Party types and ultra-conservatives, IMHO.

    I would hope that anyone who actually reads the written decisions of conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices — more often than not narrow 5-4 decisions — might actually be overwhelmed and embarrassed by their lack of logic and common sense. What these decisions DO reflect are conservative/fundamentalist religious beliefs. There’s almost a spoiled-brat approach to the decisions: “For soooooooo long, Dirty Old Liberals have had their way, and now it’s time for us Godly-moral conservatives to be in control and MAKE EVERYONE follow the requirements of MY GOD…”

    Back when I was in college studying the First Amendment, freedom of religion meant NOT imposing religious beliefs on others, as well as allowing folks to follow the religion of their choice. It’s amazing how easy it is to twist what I think is a clear and beautifully simple phrase into a muddled mess. Some folks believe God is formed in THEIR image and not the other way around. It’s beyond me why they claim it to be their mission in live to PREVENT others from sinning. Back in my Baltimore Catechism days, I was taught it’s important to reach out to others, to set a good example, to hate sin but love the actual sinner. But it was an individual’s responsibility to come to a/the Supreme Being — the individual couldn’t be “forced” to it by other (allegedly) well-meaning types.

    If paying for birth control is so sinful, why is it okay for these same corporations to pay for Viagra and other boner-in-a-bottle meds? (No sexism here, eh?)

    As for the comment about the co-op “pandering to customers,” given that the co-op board is responding to its MEMBERSHIP, any non-member who finds their decision offensive has the freedom to shop at many other stores. Members who don’t like the decision have the option to work through the board’s processes and change the decision. .

    As for whether pregnancy is a “debilitating condition,” I always get a chuckle when males comment on what pregnancy is and isn’t. It’s like my laughing at a man’s discomfort from a vasectomy. As I do not have a penis as part of my body, the ONLY basis I have for my beliefs are conversations with, and observations of, the males in my life. To reason from such a narrow set of data strikes me as silly and intellectually and ethically dishonest. When males develop ovaries and spend 9 months pregnant, and when they physically experience menstrual cramps and (my personal favorite) labor pains, I’ll be much more inclined to listen to their sentiments on an intimate aspect of female health.

    As for the statement that everyone “applauds” people who choose to thumb their nose at laws, I’m frightened that anyone would ANYONE offer that as a blanket statement — even in dirty-liberal old Madison! I save my support for such a position to laws that violate HUMAN rights. I willingly violated laws that prevented African Americans from exercising their civil rights, and I oppose laws that prevent gays and lesbians from exercising THEIR civil rights! Hobby Lobby’s “religiously based” opposition to paying for birth control medicine is a sham. Prior to passage of the Affordable Care Act, Hobby Lobby’s health insurance plan DID cover birth control. Funny how they were able to summon up their religious sensibilities when an African American president was actually able to get a piece of legislation through Congress (and through the U.S. Supreme Court).

    BTW, I believe that all levels of government should be required to “follow its own laws.” Let’s require all Wisconsin public officials to follow election finance laws, to be transparent in their decision-making process — no pay for play tactics. Next in line could be keeping the right to vote available to all without district gerrymandering and the imposition of requirements intended to disenfranchise particular demographic segments of society. And we could start by supporting Wisconsin’s secretary of state — as legislation and the state constitution mandates the the existence of the the office. Given that the federal Affordable Care Act has received an imprimatur from the U.S. Supreme Court, any opposition to it isn’t appropriate if we all take an “obey the written law” approach.

  4. tom

    BB: Sorry if my comments or their tone offended you.

    I’m not sure why you find it “intellectually stunning” that one might argue that corporations might, like individuals, petition their government. While you might disagree with the idea, it is certainly a mainstream idea. WEAC is a corporate entity, a 501 (c).3., if I am not mistaken, and they have regularly petitioned the government for many reasons. The owners of Hobby Lobby are a group of people like the members of WEAC. Both operate for the profit of their members, so this is really common.

    As for the reasoning of the conservation judges, I don’t doubt that sometimes judges are not as logical as we assume, but I suspect your “paraphrase” of their commentary leaves something to be desired. Perhaps you could present a specific example of what you are writing about?

    It seems to me like the religious education you were exposed to in Baltimore was similar to mine. It seems like a very Jesuit approach. I was also taught that faith and reason never contradict and that using the Bible only as a guide for morality was ridiculous. My teachers drilled the notion that in terms of morality, blind adherence to religious texts without careful examination and reflection, led to a certainty that could open oneself to vanity, cruelty, and evil. Perhaps if I had not learned these things, the actions of the “religious right” might not seem so terribly misguided at times to me also.

    As for Hobby Lobby, they offered their employees 26 forms of birth control before any of the laws or legal posturing began. That seems pretty tolerant to me. They objected to RU486 and only one or two similar “medical products?” which they thought amounted to abortion. The idea that abortion is “sinful” is a very common one in our society, even among non-religious people. What is intellectually stunning to me is the left’s consummate love of infanticide, and its celebration of killing the unborn as the greatest expression of a woman’s rights. (I know my tone is not one you like there, sorry). I don’t know of any health insurance plans which cover “boners in bottles” but not contraceptives. Before we debate if that is sexist, could you provide an example? By the way, what does the race of the president have to do with this? Nothing. But that’s a nice little personal attack you’re trying to slip in there. Well played!

    I admit that in a casual sort of way you have good cause to chuckle when men talk about pregnancy, but to say that is not to refute my point. Pregnancy is not a debilitating condition in the sense that diseases or other sorts of medical conditions–like endometriosis–are. Some of us on the right do believe in science, and we do read. These are not “sentiments,” but rather facts. If it makes you feel better, I would never condemn abortion in an instance where a woman’s health was threatened or in cases of rape. However, I’m sure someone as educated as yourself knows that these instances are statistically tiny.

    It seems like a contradiction to me when you write “As for the statement that everyone “applauds” people who choose to thumb their nose at laws, I’m frightened that anyone would ANYONE offer that as a blanket statement” and then write ” I save my support for such a position to laws that violate HUMAN rights. I willingly violated laws that prevented African Americans from exercising their civil rights, and I oppose laws that prevent gays and lesbians from exercising THEIR civil rights!” You certainly seem to be applauding there. Otherwise, what you are saying is that you disobeyed laws you didn’t like. I think that was my point.

    Finally, I’m glad that those knuckle- dragging racist religious zealots on the court could see past the color of the President’s skin long enough to rule illogically on ACA. I didn’t suggest in my comments that one shouldn’t follow the law (I would support efforts to repeal or modify it), but I’m glad that we agree that in not following the law, the President is on very weak moral. legal, and ethical ground.

    Thanks.

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