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Former Hobby Lobby Employee Claims She Was Fired for Having a Kid

Former Hobby Lobby Employee Claims She Was Fired for Having a Kid

By Mary Emily O’Hara

July 30, 2014 | 2:00 pm

“When the Hobby Lobby store in Flowood, Mississippi, hired Felicia Allen in August 2010, she was excited about joining the company. But, within a short span of months, she suddenly found herself out of a job.

“When I first got hired I was feeling very sick, which I thought was because I have migraines,” Allen told VICE News. “I went to the doctor’s office and found out I was pregnant.”

Allen said she asked the store manager if the pregnancy would affect her job and was told that she would simply have to take medical leave. Yet when that time came the following January, the store manager informed Allen that her employment would have to be terminated.

Allen was shocked. She said that her fellow employees and friends outside the company told her about anti-discrimination laws against firing a woman for being pregnant. But the manager told her that she could reapply and get her job back soon after giving birth.

“I tried to come back to work two weeks after I had my child,” said Allen. “I got documentation showing that my doctor said I could go back to work. Who goes back to work that fast? I wanted to keep my job.”

When Allen reapplied, the manager snubbed her. With a newborn and two other children, Allen couldn’t afford to be out of a job. She consulted a lawyer and sued the company in early 2012 for violating federal discrimination law.

‘You caused me to lose my job because I had a child, and then you go and say you prefer that someone have a child.’

Allen’s lawsuit was thrown out, however. Nick Norris, one of her lawyers, told VICE News that Hobby Lobby makes its employees sign a binding arbitration agreement upon hire. Allen’s signature on this dense arbitration document took away her right to sue for just about anything.

Louis Watson, Norris’s partner, told VICE News that he didn’t know Allen had signed an arbitration agreement until it emerged in discovery after she had filed the suit. When the case was dismissed, he and Norris told Allen that they didn’t recommend bothering with arbitration.

“I’m in my tenth year of practice right now, and we just don’t pursue arbitration anymore,” Norris said. According to Norris, arbitration is designed to almost always work in favor of the company. He said that arbitrators are typically corporate defense lawyers who want to keep their clients happy. Those who rule in favor of employees are essentially blacklisted.

Allen told VICE News that she never realized arbitration was an option; she absorbed only that the suit was dismissed.

The Arbitration Fairness Act, introduced in the Senate last year, would end the forfeiture of a person’s right to sue. The bill asserts that the original 1925 Federal Arbitration Act was intended to settle disputes between two companies of similar size and power, and was never intended to apply to employment disputes or “supersede all other federal laws protecting consumers, workers, and small businesses.”

Under the proposed act, a company couldn’t pressure a worker to sign away their right to sue the day they are hired. It wouldn’t ban arbitration between companies and employees, but would give the employee the choice to agree to arbitration rather than be forced to commit to it because they want a job.

A January New York Times article detailed how unfair arbitration clauses were a key reason it took so long for American Apparel founder Dov Charney to be ousted from the company. Despite allegations of sexual harassment dating back at least ten years, heavily restrictive clauses prevented employees from being able to sue, talk to the media, or say anything negative about the company or the founder. American Apparel even made its models agree to arbitration, which is almost unheard of.

Hobby Lobby, a nationwide craft store chain with more than 5,000 employees, is best known for its recent Supreme Court victory. After a long battle, the court ruled in June that Hobby Lobby and other “closely held” corporations can cite religious beliefs that would exempt them from having to cover certain birth control drugs, like Plan B, through employee insurance plans.

But according to Allen’s story, which broke in an RH Reality Check investigative report on Tuesday, the company famous for its devotion to pro-life family values doesn’t seem to care much about pregnant employees. Allen said that when she tried to sue, the corporate office stepped in and lied, telling lawyers that she had refused maternity leave and wasn’t fired at all.

“I felt like she wanted to get rid of me,” Allen said of the Flowood manager. In November, Allen’s doctor advised that she take a week off during the busiest season of the year because the stress of work was causing her blood pressure to spike. Despite her impending birth, she said, the Hobby Lobby manager resented this. When she eventually filed for medical leave, she was informed that she was ineligible and lost her job.

Hobby Lobby’s lawyers and public relations firm did not respond to requests for comment.

The irony of Allen’s story is that throughout its highly publicized Supreme Court case, Hobby Lobby portrayed itself as an unusually friendly employer. According to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented Hobby Lobby in the Supreme Court case, “the Greens seek to honor God by ‘operating their company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.’ ”

“The Greens strive to apply the Christian teachings on respect and fairness to their employees, increasing the pay of Hobby Lobby’s full- and part-time hourly workers for four years in a row,” reads the Becket Fund description online. “Full-time hourly workers now start at 90 percent above the federal minimum wage.”

Allen works at Xerox now, but said that when Hobby Lobby was all over the news this spring she was surprised at the way the company was repeatedly described as having “Christian values.”

“I don’t think it’s a good company to work for — from the experience I had in Jackson, anyway,” Allen said.

“I think they’re contradicting themselves and being hypocritical. You caused me to lose my job because I had a child, and then you go and say you prefer that someone have a child,” she added. “It was totally opposite when it came to me.”

Follow Mary Emily O’Hara on Twitter: @MaryEmilyOHara


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Lena Dunham Asks Why People Use Birth Control, World Learns Critical Lesson

Lena Dunham Asks Why People Use Birth Control, World Learns Critical Lesson

Posted: 07/22/2014 10:33 pm EDT Updated: 07/23/2014 10:59 am EDT

“As the White House took steps to accommodate religious nonprofits wanting to opt out of contraception coverage, HBO’s “Girls” creator Lena Dunham took to Twitter Tuesday evening with a simple question:

The Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling last month dealt a major blow to birth control coverage. At the time, Dunham tweeted her stance that “Women’s access to birth control should not be denied because of their employer’s religious beliefs.” Last week, Eden Foods’ CEO revived a case to deny coverage of all birth control from employees’ healthcare plans.

Within minutes of Dunham’s tweet, both women and men were sharing the many reasons, from health concerns to family planning, that birth control is important to them:

Dunham concluded by thanking the “brave women and sensitive men” and encouraging readers to follow the Planned Parenthood Action Fund to learn more. And then, in typical quirky Dunham fashion, she added:

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How liberalism became an intolerant dogma

How liberalism became an intolerant dogma


My reaction to this article is multifaceted: on the one hand, I am glad that Damon Linker made these points, and on the other hand, I would like to argue against some of the implications and assumptions he makes.

To start with, I would like to clarify the difference between liberalism and libertarianism. Linker conflates the two concepts, and, while they are similarly related, they are not altogether identical.

According to wikipedia:

Liberalism (from the Latin liberalis) is a political philosophy or worldview founded on the idea of liberty and equality. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally they support ideas such as free and fair elections, civil rights, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free trade, and a right to life, liberty, and property.


Libertarianism is the group of political philosophies which advocate minimizing coercion and emphasize freedom, liberty, and voluntary association. Libertarians generally advocate a society with significantly less government compared to most present day societies.

These definitions suggest that liberalism has a stronger focus on equality, while libertarianism is more strongly focused on small government. My take is that liberalism is more willing to explore the options for achieving equality, whereas libertarianism is staunchly wedded to the idea that small government will produce equality. It’s arguably impossible to know which camp is “right.”

The problem that I have is Linker (who is directly influenced by Mark Lilla’s essay) conflates the two concepts without fully examining the differences.

He is correct, however, in identifying that the libertarian concept can be aptly applied to both sides of our bipartisan political systems:

“…Libertarianism in this sense fuels the American right’s anti-government furies, but it also animates the left’s push for same-sex marriage — and has prepared the way for its stunningly rapid acceptance — in countries throughout the West…”

Linker then goes on to say:

“…What makes libertarianism a dogma is the inability or unwillingness of those who espouse it to accept that some people might choose, for morally legitimate reasons, to dissent from it. On a range of issues, liberals seem not only increasingly incapable of comprehending how or why someone would affirm a more traditional vision of the human good, but inclined to relegate dissenters to the category of moral monsters who deserve to be excommunicated from civilized life — and sometimes coerced into compliance by the government…”

Now, I don’t know much about those who espouse libertarianism. I’ve only had the chance to talk in depth politics with one self-assigned libertarian and so my knowledge of the matter is limited. However, I have a much deeper understanding of liberalism as I was raised in a liberal household, have liberal friends, and generally support “liberal causes.”

And, yes, I would say that I have witnessed a trend of liberals who “seem not only increasingly incapable of comprehending how or why someone would affirm a more traditional vision of the human good, but inclined to relegate dissenters to the category of moral monsters who deserve to be excommunicated from civilized life.” I experienced this type of liberal primarily when I was attending college and they, more often than not, came in the form of well-meaning feminists who wanted so badly for women to be “liberated from the oppressive regime of Western society” that they would criticize any and all who remotely participated in seemingly “oppressive” actions, thoughts, and social roles. For example, I was “looked down on” for wearing makeup and shaving my legs.

And, yes, I can see that that kind of liberal is in the public eye right now thanks to the media and high-profile liberal groups who, although fundamentally well-meaning, insist on casting blame instead of focusing on shared hardships (see my previous blog post “The Day I Became a Men’s Rights Activist” for further examples).

However, that loud-voiced minority does not accurately represent all liberals as a whole. And it is always unfair to utilize synecdoche when describing any group of human individuals.

Linker acknowledges this point without actually realizing it when he says:

“…The latter tendency shows how, paradoxically, the rise of libertarian dogma can have the practical effect of increasing government power and expanding its scope…”

This is where Linker’s previous mistaken conflation of libertarianism and liberalism comes into play. Again, I don’t know as much about libertarians as I do liberals, but if they were interchangeable they would not have different guiding principles.

He then brings in some examples of “liberalism’s dogmatism… in recent months”:

  • “Brendan Eich resigned as the chief executive of Mozilla, a company he helped found, after gay rights activists launched a boycott against the company for placing him in a senior position. Eich’s sin? More than five years earlier, he donated $1,000 to the campaign for California’s Proposition 8, which sought to ban same-sex marriage in the state. It didn’t matter that he’d explicitly assured employees that he would treat them fairly, regardless of their sexual orientation. What mattered was that Eich (like the 7 million people who voted in favor of Prop 8) had made himself a heretic by coming down on the wrong side of an issue on which error had now become impermissible.
  • Liberals indulged in a wildly overwrought reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, with seasoned journalists likening the plaintiffs to the Pakistani Taliban, and countless others taking to social media to denounce a government-sanctioned theocratic assault on women’s health — all because some women working for corporations that are “closely held” by religiously conservative owners might have to pay out of pocket for certain forms of freely available contraception (as, one presumes, they currently do for toothpaste). Apparently many liberals, including the Senate Democrats who seem poised to gut the decision, consider it self-evident that these women face a far greater burden than the conservative owners, who would be forced by the government to violate their religious beliefs. One highly intelligent commentator, inadvertently confessing his incapacity to think beyond the confines of liberal dogma, described the religious objection as “trivial” and “so abstract and attenuated it’s hard to even explain what it is.”
  • Beyond the Beltway, related expressions of liberal dogmatism have led a Harvard undergraduate to suggest that academic freedom shouldn’t apply to the handful of conservatives on campus — because their views foster and justify “oppression.” In a like-minded column in The Chronicle of Higher Education, a professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania argued that religious colleges should be denied accreditation — because accrediting them “confers legitimacy on institutions that systematically undermine the most fundamental purposes of higher education,” one of which is to pursue “skeptical and unfettered” (read: dogmatically liberal and secular) inquiry…”

His portrayal of these events is arguably myopic and one-sided. Linker presents each event in an overly-simplistic way that distorts the reasons behind them.

First, Brendan Eich was only CEO of Mozilla for two weeks. Yes, he was one of the co-founders of Mozilla, but the original revelation of his donation was back in 2012. It only became an issue recently because he was promoted to CEO. According to the New Yorker:

“…While Eich attempted to defuse the problem with conciliatory blog posts and interviews about diversity and inclusiveness, he didn’t actually say that his views on gay marriage had changed. That, inevitably, provoked a uprising within the Mozilla community: a public petition was circulated demanding that he step down, the dating site OkCupid recommended that its customers stop using Firefox, and some Mozilla employees (though far from all of them) called for his resignation…


The problem was that Eich’s stance was unacceptable in Silicon Valley, a region of the business world where social liberalism is close to a universal ideology. At this point, a tech company having a C.E.O. who opposes gay marriage is not all that different from a company in 1973 having a C.E.O. who donated money to fight interracial marriage: even if there were plenty of Americans who felt the same way at the time, the C.E.O. would still have been on the wrong side of history. And since the role of a C.E.O. as a public face of an organization is more important than ever these days, Eich’s personal views were inevitably going to shape his ability to run the company.


That’s especially true because of the unusual nature of Mozilla. Mozilla is not like most companies. It’s a wholly-owned subsidiary of the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation, and is just one part of the broader Mozilla community, which includes thousands of open-source software developers and other volunteers around the world. These people still do much of the work behind Mozilla’s products—contributing code, technical support, design improvements, and so on. This means that Mozilla depends on the goodwill of its supporters more than most corporations do; it relies on their willingness to donate their services in pursuit of the broader Mozilla project, which is all about keeping the Web transparent and accessible. If it alienates them, Mozilla’s entire mission will be at risk…”

Furthermore, board members at Mozilla didn’t even want to have Eich as CEO in the first place. They had wanted “an outside CEO, presumably to shake up the organization”:

“…Three of the company’s six board members actually resigned before Eich was appointed… Eich himself told VentureBeat that the board had interviewed twenty-five candidates before settling on him; he even wondered aloud why they didn’t pick Jay Sullivan, who was the other internal candidate for the position…”

In other words, Eich’s resignation was much more multi-faceted than Linker implies.

Linker’s second bullet point is even more blatantly sensationalized, as obvious in just the first seven words:

“Liberals indulged in a wildly overwrought reaction…”

“Indulged”? “Wildly”? “Overwrought”? Really, Linker? That’s how you present a balanced report on recent events?

“…all because some women working for corporations that are “closely held” by religiously conservative owners might have to pay out of pocket for certain forms of freely available contraception (as, one presumes, they currently do for toothpaste)…”

Now that’s a new low, your biases are showing Linker.

Hobby Lobby stated from the beginning that it isn’t against all forms of birth control, just certain ones such as Plan B, Ella, and intrauterine devices. Hobby Lobby does provide insurance coverage for 16 other forms of birth control, including pills that prevent ovulation. They object to these certain forms of birth control because they are supposedly “abortion-causing,” which is “against their religious principles.”

These contraceptive options in fact do not cause abortion, they merely prevent the attachment of a potentially fertilized egg to the uterine wall. Some intrauterine devices don’t even regulate or administer hormones. Their science behind the decision is blatantly wrong, regardless of what their actual argument is.

Yes, those forms of contraception are “freely available” but they are also highly expensive if you don’t have insurance to help cover the cost. I personally have an IUD and it cost me $300 out of pocket, it would have cost me $800 if I hadn’t had health insurance to help. That is significantly more than “toothpaste.”

For Linker’s third bullet point, I would agree that it is unfair to deny accreditation to religious colleges. But, again, that is one individual liberal that Linker is using to characterize the entirety of liberals. Synecdoche, much?

However I should give him some credit since he does acknowledge this:

“…But wait, some will object: You can’t reduce contemporary American liberalism to the illiberal outbursts of loudmouthed activists, intemperate journalists, foolish undergraduates, and reckless Ivy League professors!


To which the proper response is: True!..”

He goes on to say:

“…Still, I wonder: Where have been all the outraged liberals taking a stand against these and many other examples of dogmatism — and doing so in the name of liberalism? I’ve been doing that in my own writing. And I’ve appreciated the occasional expressions of modest support from a handful of liberal readers. But what about the rest of you?..”

I have to admit I agree with the sentiment, but the way Linker phrases it stinks a bit like egotistic intellectual masturbation: “I see it, why don’t you see it?”

Linker then goes on to offer an explanation for why, in the first place, we find ourselves “in a world dominated by libertarian dogma.” He says that,

“…From the dawn of the modern age, religious thinkers have warned that, strictly speaking, secular politics is impossible — that without the transcendent foundation of Judeo-Christian monotheism to limit the political sphere, ostensibly secular citizens would begin to invest political ideas and ideologies with transcendent, theological meaning.


Put somewhat differently: Human beings will be religious one way or another. Either they will be religious about religious things, or they will be religious about political things.


With traditional faith in rapid retreat over the past decade, liberals have begun to grow increasingly religious about their own liberalism, which they are treating as a comprehensive view of reality and the human good…”

I would first like to point out that Linker uses the phrase “religious thinkers” to mean “Western society’s religious thinkers.” Not all religious thinkers follow “Judeo-Christian monotheism.” That aside, his use of the word “religious” is a bit ambiguous. Religious can mean a variety of things, according to dictionary.com:



1. of, pertaining to, or concerned with religiona religious holiday.
2. imbued with or exhibiting religionpious; devout; godly: areligious man.
3. scrupulously faithful; conscientious: religious care.
4. pertaining to or connected with a monastic or religious order.
5. appropriate to religion or to sacred rites or observances.

More often than not, most arguments, opinions, and statements boil down to semantics and it’s very difficult to fully and accurately understand or convey meaning in today’s rapidly evolving language environments.

The phrase “religious thinkers” is obviously referring to thinkers associated with specific, established, recognized religions. And, if we are to extend that meaning to his later statement that “human beings will be religious one way or another,” then we are to understand that he really means that “human beings will be associated with a specific religion one way or another.” However, I don’t think that’s what he wants to say.

Thus, the phrase “either they will be religious about religious things, or they will be religious about political things” is inherently contradictory: he is changing the meaning of “religious” from one sentence to another. He then extends this new meaning to the next paragraph to make his point.

Thus, I have to admit that I have little understanding of what he means by, “liberals have begun to grow increasingly religious about their own liberalism, which they are treating as a comprehensive view of reality and the human good.” And, consequently, I don’t understand what he means by,

“…But liberalism’s leading theoreticians (Locke, Montesquieu, Jefferson, Madison, Tocqueville, Mill) never intended it to serve as a comprehensive view of reality and the human good. On the contrary, liberalism was supposed to act as a narrowly political strategy for living peacefully in a world of inexorably clashing comprehensive views of reality and the human good…”

Wouldn’t a “narrowly political strategy” be one aspect of “a comprehensive view of reality and the human good”? I don’t know. 

Linker concludes by saying that “the proper response to the distinctive dogmatism of our time is to urge liberals to return to their tolerant roots.” However, I would instead urge them to logically and thoroughly follow their liberal ideals which would then result in a “return to their tolerant roots”. I’m disputing Linker’s method, not end goal.

More often than not, people don’t follow the logic structures of their arguments and opinions to their logical conclusions. This plagues liberals, libertarians, and conservatives alike. They get so caught up in advocating for “what they believe in” that they often don’t examine why they believe what they believe and what further implications come along with that. 

Take the minimum wage debate as an example: If you are against the minimum wage raise, you are hurting your own prospects as well as the prospects of others. If wages were raised, money would be pumped into the economy making life better for EVERYONE. Just look at the states that have raised the minimum wage this year, they’re seeing higher employment growth than the states that didn’t. A recent article on Salon.com is a perfect example of this: “I was poor, but a GOP die-hard: How I finally left the politics of shame“.

Overall, I think Linker has a great message to send to the masses. However, I think he could have thought a little bit more about his delivery and wording to make his meaning clearer and could have made an effort to not sound biased. But that doesn’t mean his article should not be read and shared and discussed.

Even if you agree with someone’s overall point does not mean you should not critically examine what they say.


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Psychologists Have Figured Out Why Some Americans Get So Mad at “Promiscuous” Women

Psychologists Have Figured Out Why Some Americans Get So Mad at “Promiscuous” Women

“Ever wonder why people keep calling women who use contraception “sluts“? Apparently, shaming women who need birth control (which is 99% of sexually active women by the way) wasn’t invented as a way for conservatives to belittle women. It’s actually a trend rooted in socio-biologically theory. Well, sort of.

In a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, scientists from Brunel University in London found that people who tend to oppose female promiscuity on moral grounds also tend to believe that women are financially dependant on men, even when researchers controlled for political and religious ideology.

The researchers, whose aim was to provide a glimpse at the “evolutionary logic of anti-promiscuity morality,” found that “such opposition will more likely emerge in environments in which women are more dependent economically on a male mate.” They came to this conclusion by noticing how women with lower incomes and men with higher salaries tended to be more strongly opposed to people with the sexual habits of independent women.

These findings — which are frustrating in isolation — become downright infuriating when one thinks about what that means about societal progress in America. If the research findings are true, and the vitrol so often spewed at so-called “promiscuous” women is really motivated by women’s dependency, why has there been so little change in the past few decades? Despite lingering systemic problems like the wage gap, women are more financially independent today that they were 40 years ago. So why hasn’t that increase correlated with a reduction in preconceptions about women’s sexuality? 

It’s 2014. There is a record number of women more educated than their husbands, and in some cities are making significantly more money than them. So shouldn’t we all be cool with women having independent lady sexy time? Shouldn’t we see Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly getting off their high horse? Shouldn’t we see “Beyoncé Voters” (defined as unmarried women by Fox News) humming “Independent Woman” on their way to the free birth control shop? Conversely, what explains the fact that the birth control “debate” has gotten worse in the past few years, while women have been leaning in and making great strides economically, politically and in the workplace?

Part of the problem has to be traced back to messaging. One network in particular has insisted on its mission to remind women (and men) of the dangers of female emancipation.

Image Credit: Fox News

Fox is consistent in its unflinching commitment to reinforce the very scripts that — according to this latest research — make for misogynistic segments as a recent meditation on the potential “problem” of female breadwinners. In the same vein, the conservative behemoth loves chatting with people who shame unmarried women to the point that they are calling them “Beyoncé Voters,” or instructing those who are married to stop being so darn self-serving and start pleasing their husbands

Image Credit: YouTube

But it’s not simply cable news that’s the problem. Cultural stereotyping runs much deeper than that. Not convinced? Try Googling birth control to see what the most popular auto-completes are for the search engine. 

Image Credit: Google

Honestly, there are more important issues we need to be debating. Now that 1 in 3 children are growing up fatherless in this country, a better use of our debating energies would be to focus on the growing trend of absent fathers deserting their families. Where’s the Rush Limbaugh segment talking about how men’s promiscuity is tearing apart American values? By the same token, seeing as Bill O’Reilly has been going on and on about Beyoncé’s alleged effect on teen pregnancy, it seems like an investigative report might be warranted on the way the term “Gold Digger” has contributed to young boys growing up to believe you don’t have to take responsibility for their offspring. Where’s the Supreme Court case debating the fact that companies pay for men’s recreational sexual health medicine like Viagra or penis pumps

Image Credit: Fox News

Perhaps the most depressing part of the research paper is the finding that women are more opposed to promiscuity than men. It’s no surprise that women have internalized this destructive double-standard because they are reminded of it every time they are called a bitch, a slut or a whore for cutting in line at a bodega or not returning a cat-call with a smile. I challenge anyone rolling their eyes right now to think about one common insult for women that does not reference her level of promiscuity. It’s no coincidence that women believe that engaging in lots of sex makes them mediocre, they are reminded of it every single day.

The silver lining is that the “perceived dependency of women” in the study had a bigger effect than a female subject’s actual dependency on a man based on her income. In other words, the social norm reinforcing female dependency was a larger predictor of attitudes towards promiscuity than a woman’s financial situation. This conclusion suggests that if Fox News stopped promoting the idea that women are dependants or incapable second-class citizens, we could match up social norms with reality.

Until then, we’ll be enjoying the catastrophic aftermath of the conservative’s “Beyoncé Voters” trend and the lovely re-appropriation of the term by online feminists with this Tumblr. At least some good came out of Fox News’ latest lady hysteria, and who knows, they may have just came up with a term to define the voting block that may just swing our next presidential election.

Image Credit: beyoncevoters / Tumblr

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Just so we’re clear…

Just so we're clear...

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July 1, 2014 · 8:16 pm

“In America, ev…

“In America, even sincere and long-hold religious beliefs do not trump the constitutional rights of those who happen to have been out-voted,”

– U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II 


Found this quote in reference to KY’s acknowledgment of same-sex marriages, but it has so many more relevant applications to current social justice issues. For instance, it could definitely be used in reference to the recent Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision.

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July 1, 2014 · 5:12 pm

Ohio bill would restrict abortion coverage

After reading the above article, I decided to write a letter to Rep. John Becker. For contact info, please visit http://www.ohiohouse.gov/john-becker.


Representative John Becker, District 65

77 S. High St 
12th Floor 
Columbus, OH 43215


Mr. Becker,

I recently read an article on House Bill 351 and your intention to ban public employees or those on Medicaid from having coverage for certain forms of birth control. As someone who was born and raised in Cincinnati, I wanted to add my voice to the others who are asking you to rethink your decision.

Firstly, IUDs do not cause abortions, they merely prevent pregnancy like other birth control methods. If you are not a medical doctor, your personal views on the matter are not relevant. You are literally forcing your personal, misinformed views on the Ohioan populace. If you want to rule Ohio effectively, you must use verified facts and evidence to back up your claims.

Secondly, if you’re still convinced that birth control should not be covered, then how do you feel about male-based birth control such as Vasogel? It’s a gel for men that renders sperm immotile and ineffective, thereby preventing the fertilization of an egg and consequent implantation of said egg. Nearly all birth control methods, whether for men or women, prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. If you’re going to ban IUDs, then it would follow logically that you would ban all forms that prevent implantation.

Thirdly, birth control is necessary for many women who have medical conditions like endrometriosis or for lowering the risk of cancer. If you’re so concerned about not wasting taxpayers’ money on prescription drugs relating to sexual activities, then why have penis pumps and other male-oriented sexual prescriptions received millions of dollars of federal funding over the years? Medicare has spent $172 million on penis pumps in the last five years alone. Viagra has also received $819 million and Cyalis (erectile dysfunction medication) more than $782 million. Should taxpayers pay for old men to have erect penises and not for women either to have sex without the risk of getting pregnant, to not get pregnant from sexual assault, or to treat a medical condition?

And, lastly, if rapists should be executed instead of the human products of rape, then it would logically follow that you intend to execute all rapists, including the teenage Steubenville rapists. Out of Ohio’s population of 11,485,910, there were a total of 4,419 reported forcible rape cases in 2008. And, in 2007, the average age of an arrested rapist (both men and women offenders) was 31 years old. The largest age range is 54.6% that were 18 to 29 years old, so you would be executing a significant amount of young men and women who are in the prime of their lives.

Please rethink your decision to pursue this bill. It could have huge, long-lasting consequences on the Ohioan populace. If your focus is “the right to life,” think about what quality of life you’re forcing these children and parents into. Just because they’re simply alive does not mean they are living. You are forcing these parents to forgo further education and to work multiple jobs to make ends meet, leaving no time for attentive and worthwhile child-raising. These children who are products of rape and incest put an enormous emotional and financial strain on their parents, possibly forcing them into a love-less and abusive marriage for the sake of the child. Children from unhappy families tend not to succeed in school or in life, thereby forcing down the success of the state of Ohio. If you were truly invested in their “right to life,” you would understand that it’s the quality of life that matters. Please rethink your decision.

Best Wishes,

Claire Jones

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June 4, 2014 · 7:04 pm