Zioness is disheartened and angered by today’s SCOTUS decision. In determining that, under the Affordable Care Act, employers can invoke “religious freedom” to refuse to provide contraceptive coverage to employees, the Court puts the fate of thousands of women’s reproductive freedom and bodily integrity and autonomy at significant risk. There is no one––no politician, no religious leader, and no employer––who should have the right to determine what access women have to contraceptive care.
Access to affordable contraceptive care is not solely about pregnancy. Widespread access to safe and accessible contraception is the necessary foundation on which women and women-identifying individuals can achieve social, political, and economic equality. Without this care, women of lesser means are often forced into unwanted life-changing, if not life-threatening, situations.
We acknowledge with deep sadness that this regressive decision will disproportionately impact low-income women and women of color who already face incomprehensible hurdles in access to reproductive health as well as a maternal mortality rate 4 to 5 times higher than the rate for white women. While we were relieved and grateful to learn of last week’s SCOTUS decision in the June Medical case, today’s decision is a reminder that we must remain vigilant in continuing the urgent and never-ending fight to protect our bodies from those who wish to control them. With frustration and sorrow, we recommit ourselves to education and activism on affordable and accessible contraceptive care, centering our work on those who will be most negatively impacted by today’s archaic, perilous decision.