You’ve probably heard that the Supreme Court laid down a pretty bad decision on Monday in the Hobby Lobby case, essentially giving some corporations the right to deny coverage of certain types of contraception to their employees based on religious freedom.
We won’t know the exact impact of this ruling until we see how many of the eligible corporations (closely-held private companies that most are interpreting based on the IRS definition that they be 50 percent owned by five or less people) actually choose to use this right given to them by the Supreme Court on Monday. Nine out of 10 businesses are estimated to be closely held, and an estimated 52 percent of private sector employees work for closely held companies. So we’re talking about a potential impact on just a few thousand employees, or a few million, depending on how many businesses choose to exercise this right. We know that in addition to Hobby Lobby, there are at least 82 other companies who’ve already been challenging the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate.
While much proverbial ink has been spilled speculating about the impact this will have, few have talked about how women of color might fare under this ruling. On its face there is nothing about this ruling that singles out women of color. But because of our political and economic realities, women of color often bare the brunt of the negative impacts of restrictions on women’s health anyway. Here are three reasons why women of color may fare worse under this decision:
1. The Cost of Birth Control
Those who can’t afford to pay for their birth control out of pocket if their employers deny coverage will face the biggest challenges. Women of color are more likely to be low-income, and also more likely to work a minimum wage job. And as Justice Ginsberg pointed out in her dissent, getting an IUD could cost as much as an entire month’s rent working at the minimum wage. And let’s not forget that contraceptives aren’t only prescribed for preventing pregnancies—they’re also used to manage severe menstrual symptoms and conditions likepolycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis. Women of color who are already struggling to make ends meet may face increased burdens. That could mean doing things like splitting one pack of pills between two women each month, as Kimberly Inez McGuire reports two Latina women living in South Texas have been doing.
Elizabeth Dawes Gay, writing at Ebony, elaborates on how this impacts black women specifically:
“In 2011, more than half of Black people were covered by private (usually employer-sponsored) health insurance, either through their own employer or that of a family member, and 57 million adult women of all races were covered through employer-sponsored insurance. If the behavior of companies like Hobby Lobby becomes the norm rather than the exception, it could impact contraceptive access for millions of people in the U.S. and have a disproportionate impact on Black women who, with lower income and wealth on average, may not be able to afford to pay for their contraception out-of-pocket.”
Renee Bracey Sherman also wrote about how this decision could affect Black women. For Asian-American and Pacific Islander women, already low rates of contraceptive use could be even lower if this decision places another economic barrier in their way.
2. The Risks of Unplanned Pregnancy
The risks of having to carry an unintended pregnancy to term are much higher for women of color, especially black women. Black women are four times more likely to die during childbirth than white women, which means potentially being unable to prevent a pregnancy due to the financial barriers put in place by their religious employers. And it’s not just death that women of color are at higher risk for during childbirth—it’s also infant mortality, low-infant birth weight and premature delivery—all things that pose significant long-term risks to the mother and child.
Women of color have already had to deal with a long history of reproductive control at the hands of employers and the government. From slave owners’ manipulation of Black women’s reproduction, to non-consensual sterilization of Latinas in public hospitals, to welfare reform and family caps limiting the number of children welfare recipients can have, women of color have long had to fight for the right to control their own reproduction. This case just adds another layer to controlling fertility, this time at the hands of employers.
At this point it’s no longer news that those in our communities who are the most vulnerable suffer the most when increased restrictions and barriers are put into place—and pregnancy and reproduction has been a hotbed of these kinds of restrictions over the last few years. As the Obama administration figures out how they might fill the gap left by this ruling (even the majority opinion, written by Justice Alito, offers this as a solution), we have to keep in mind that women of color are once again going to be relying on a safety net to get basic needs met. And that’s a safety net with more and more holes.
In the video for British heavy metal band Throne’s song “Tharsis Sleeps,” the directors Nicos Levesey (also a member of Throne) and Tom Bunker went all out and created the first ever, frame by frame stitched video. The animation and sewing took several months to do and many all-nighters using over three thousand embroidered “frames” and over 45 million stitches. Check out the colorful, incredible video/work of art below:
There is no number five.
The most important tip I could ever give towards drawing/creating good comics is to read comics. Good, bad, mediocre, read them all and learn from them.
Many of us understand sex and gender as categorically separate when envisioning trans women. How do we enforce transmisogyny through biological essentialist views of what we define as “sex” when imagining trans women? This storify examines how we enforce physical & ontological gender violence through non-consensual cisnormative separations of sex and gender. Sex is very much a gendered concept with its own colonial and violent baggage.
Note: This is a partial storify. Read the full version here
When he saysHow To Pretend It Doesn’t Hurt, by Ashe Vernon (via 1811181)
He doesn’t love you anymore,
Roll your shoulders back
And look him in the eye
Even when it feels like your ribs
Are breaking inward, like spider legs.
When he digs up old aches
That he swore he forgave you for,
And ask him why he didn’t leave you sooner.
Ignore the way the words feel like sandpaper
Running all the way up your throat to your mouth.
When he blames you
For mistakes that wear his face,
Do not scream.
Do not cry.
Tell him that there are boys
Who would be proud to say they’d loved you.
Tell him that in two years
You won’t even remember his name
And don’t let him see the way you can taste your own lie.
When he leaves
Ignore the howling in your blood
And do not get up after him.
Not even to lock the door.
Do not, do not
Smell his shirts when you box them up
To give them back.
Swear off dating when you realize
You’re chasing ghosts that wear his smile.
It’s okay to cry over him.
It’s even okay to forgive him.
But do not go back to him.
If he did not know how to love you the first time,
He won’t know how to do it the next.
- 1. push yourself to get up before the rest of the world - start with 7am, then 6am, then 5:30am. go to the nearest hill with a big coat and a scarf and watch the sun rise.
2. push yourself to fall asleep earlier - start with 11pm, then 10pm, then 9pm. wake up in the morning feeling re-energized and comfortable.
3. get into the habit of cooking yourself a beautiful breakfast. fry tomatoes and mushrooms in real butter and garlic, fry an egg, slice up a fresh avocado and squirt way too much lemon on it. sit and eat it and do nothing else.
4. stretch. start by reaching for the sky as hard as you can, then trying to touch your toes. roll your head. stretch your fingers. stretch everything.
5. buy a 1L water bottle. start with pushing yourself to drink the whole thing in a day, then try drinking it twice.
6. buy a beautiful diary and a beautiful black pen. write down everything you do, including dinner dates, appointments, assignments, coffees, what you need to do that day. no detail is too small.
7. strip your bed of your sheets and empty your underwear draw into the washing machine. put a massive scoop of scented fabric softener in there and wash. make your bed in full.
8. organise your room. fold all your clothes (and bag what you don’t want), clean your mirror, your laptop, vacuum the floor. light a beautiful candle.
9. have a luxurious shower with your favourite music playing. wash your hair, scrub your body, brush your teeth. lather your whole body in moisturiser, get familiar with the part between your toes, your inner thighs, the back of your neck.
10. push yourself to go for a walk. take your headphones, go to the beach and walk. smile at strangers walking the other way and be surprised how many smile back. bring your dog and observe the dog’s behaviour. realise you can learn from your dog.
11. message old friends with personal jokes. reminisce. suggest a catch up soon, even if you don’t follow through. push yourself to follow through.
13. think long and hard about what interests you. crime? sex? boarding school? long-forgotten romance etiquette? find a book about it and read it. there is a book about literally everything.
14. become the person you would ideally fall in love with. let cars merge into your lane when driving. pay double for parking tickets and leave a second one in the machine. stick your tongue out at babies. compliment people on their cute clothes. challenge yourself to not ridicule anyone for a whole day. then two. then a week. walk with a straight posture. look people in the eye. ask people about their story. talk to acquaintances so they become friends.
15. lie in the sunshine. daydream about the life you would lead if failure wasn’t a thing. open your eyes. take small steps to make it happen for you.
Old stuff from my old moleskine. I remember when I use to pretty much draw only in that thing. I really really wish I would force myself to do more personal work again. I miss it so much.
Some of this stuff looks all wonky now but.
OH MY GOD.
Celebrating the Police State