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Another one for the "... in a handbasket" file - Accretions

Fata Morgana
2005-11-08 20:36
Another one for the "... in a handbasket" file
Public
abortion, anti-choice, contraception, feminism, fry's, morning-after pill, rape, religion, target
As seen on Savage Love:
STRAIGHT RIGHTS UPDATE: There were two disturbing developments in the battle over straight rights last week. First, we know that Target fills its ads with dancing, multi-culti hipsters giving off a tolerant, urbanist vibe and runs hipster-heavy ad campaigns positioning Target as a slightly more expensive, more progressive alternative to Wal-Mart. Well, as John Aravosis revealed on Americablog.org last week, Target's politics are as red as their bulls-eye logo. The chain allows its pharmacists to refuse to dispense birth control and emergency contraception to female customers if the pharmacist objects on religious grounds. What's worse, the company claims that any of its employees have a right to discriminate against any of its customers provided the discrimination is motivated by an employee's religious beliefs. Read all about it at http://www.americablog.org and http://www.plannedparenthood.org.

Second, more troubling news from Tucson, Arizona, where a 20-year-old rape victim called dozens of pharmacies in town before she found one that stocked emergency contraception (EC). "When she finally did find a pharmacy with it, she said she was told the pharmacist on duty would not dispense it because of religious and moral objections," reported the Arizona Daily Star. Emergency contraception, the story continued, "prevents pregnancy by stopping ovulation, fertilization, or implantation of a fertilized egg. The sooner the emergency contraception is taken after intercourse, the more effective it is."

Don't just sit there, heteros. Defend your rights! Don't shop at Target, and write 'em and tell them why you're going elsewhere. (Go to Target.com and click on "contact us," then "Target Corporation.") As for Fry's Pharmacy in Tucson, the shop that wouldn't dispense EC to a freakin' rape victim, the fundamentalist pharmacist claims its her "right" not to do her fucking job. Well, you have a right to free speech. Call Fry's at 520-323-2695 and ask them why the fuck a pharmacy that won't dispense EC keeps the drug in stock. Do they do it just to torment rape victims? ("Oh yeah, we've got EC—but you can't have any. Don't you know that Jesus wants you to bear your rapist's child?") Rise up, straight people, and demand your rights!
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Liz
stellae
2005-11-09 08:46 (UTC)
(no subject)
My my, the world's gone mad....

In defense of religious freedom (as I greatly value mine and my right to be a conscientious objector when it comes to fighting in wars/being part of the draft/saying the pledge of allegiance, etc), I can't in good conscience condemn someone for sticking to his or her beliefs. Though generally I think it's irresponsible on the part of a company and especially on the part of a person seeking employment to put other lives in danger under the banner of "religious freedom."

Playing devil's advocate here, at some level, I can't help but wonder, though if these politics are part of "Equal Opportunity Employment" -- if a company, for instance, makes a decision to not discriminate, as respects hiring, based on religion, race, gender or sexual orientation, then the company also, arguably, has to uphold the right of its employees to practice their religions in the workplace. Saying "well, we can hire you but you must do the following even if it is direct conflict with your faith" can be argued, in some circles, to be religious discrimination on the basis of the fact that it effectively makes the job unavailable to people who find the job to be in conflict with their faith.

Which is yet another example of why Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Employment is good in theory and not-so-good in practice. I don't believe that companies have a right to tell someone they're not qualified for a job solely on the basis of religion especially... but if a job requires doing something that is in conflict with a person's faith, I feel the person seeking employment should have to seek a job that isn't in conflict; it's not the company's responsibility to bend over backwards to accommodate religious practices and to say "oh no, you don't have to do part of your job here because your faith prohibits it." Some professions really should be allowed to have some forms of "discrimination" as it's more than a bit cruel to hire a pharmacist who would impose his/her religion on others, especially people in need of certain sorts of medications (e.g. rape victims). If someone's religion conflicts with having a certain occupation, fine, find another one. Or find a workplace in your chosen occupation that caters to a clientele that share your faith. Either way.

*sigh*





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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2005-11-09 18:44 (UTC)
(no subject)
I can't in good conscience condemn someone for sticking to his or her beliefs.

Having grown up non-religious in a heavily-religious culture, I will attest that that there is a big difference in sticking to one's beliefs and imposing them on someone else.

For a trivial example, take my boycott of Starbuck's and various other chains. I may refuse to buy anything from Starbucks, but if my dance partner decides to stop there on the way back from practice (as something that happens with some regularity), I don't try to dissuade him, though I have explained why *I* never get anything. He knows my reasons, and now it's his choice whether he adopts them or not. Likewise, I appreciate that even my most devout and Molly-Mormon friends don't proselytize to me. They may explain their religion to me if I ask, but they respect me enough to let me make my own decisions. Given that religion shouldn't come up in the hiring process and doesn't often come up in the workplace (setting aside for a moment those who look different because of their religious beliefs - that's a whole different can of worms), it disturbs me that people find it acceptable to impose their religious beliefs on others in the workplace. Pharmacists can refuse to take morning-after pills themselves, they could even voice their objections to customers if they really want to (and if they feel uncomfortable doing that, why don't they feel uncomfortable refusing to fill the prescription - that's also voicing religious beliefs), but they shouldn't impose their beliefs on others by refusing to fill prescriptions.
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Olego
olego
2005-11-09 19:23 (UTC)
(no subject)
I find myself understanding and agreeing with your response. Yay! :-)
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Liz
stellae
2005-11-09 20:04 (UTC)
(no subject)
Oh I agree completely. I would just argue that job-seekers should seek employment at places where they won't face said discomfort. I'm sure there are plenty of pharmacies that *don't* stock assorted kinds of birth control.

Of course, I personally think it's a great ill of society that simple, reliable birth control for women is much more difficult to obtain than it is for men. I don't really think that one should need a prescription for birth control pills, in general, and especially not the morning-after pill as there are much more damaging and powerful drugs sold over-the-counter than OCP. I think it reflects an unspoken bias that women are *supposed* to get pregnant -- it is preached that women have a choice and should be responsible for their own bodies and their own decisions about sex and childbearing, but what gets upheld socially is a basic value that women are not supposed to have sex out of wedlock (so, of course, we can't give them choices because then they could have a man's approach to sex -- if they have sex and don't get pregnant, who'd ever know?) and once married are supposed to become mothers.

Yet another way in which women are repeatedly treated as second-class citizens.

*shakes fist at society*
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Kris
anemone
2005-11-09 20:13 (UTC)
(no subject)
One reason given for why the pill isn't otc is that if it were, women wouldn't visit their doctors that often.

That reason really ticked me off.
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2005-11-09 20:54 (UTC)
(no subject)
I guess I agree that women should make sure they're healthy by getting an annual, but requiring it by withholding birth control ticks me off too.
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Kris
anemone
2005-11-09 20:58 (UTC)
(no subject)
Not even any need for an annual exam anyway. Every few years is plenty good unless they have multiple partners, and a lot of women don't.
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Kris
anemone
2005-11-09 20:58 (UTC)
(no subject)
Also, it may have been a money thing. Every woman on the pill visiting a doctor every year probably does help support doctors.
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2005-11-09 21:03 (UTC)
(no subject)
I'm just waiting for the long-overdue male pill ... though ultimately, it's still us who have to deal with the consequences if it fails.
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Kris
anemone
2005-11-09 20:10 (UTC)
(no subject)
but they shouldn't impose their beliefs on others by refusing to fill prescriptions

Tolerance is great, but tolerance only goes so far. (I mean, what about the Berkeley student whose friend raped a nine-year-old girl? The Berkeley student just knew about it, didn't approve, didn't participate, but didn't attempt to stop it. Is doing nothing okay? In my opinion, no.)

If a pharmasist sees the morning-after pill as murder (and that's what many say), then I think they are morally obligated to refuse. However, if a pharmacist refuses to fill perscriptions, then Target should be able to fire him or her.
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2005-11-09 20:51 (UTC)
(no subject)
Well, in that case the rapist imposed himself (I'm assuming it was a guy) on someone else and broke the law too, so that's a very different situation.

The "abortion is murder" issue, as much as I disagree with it, is an interesting parallel, though. The whole "morning-after pill is murder" thing seems weird to me. Is it because if you happen to have already ovulated and the egg is fertilized, it prevents implantation? Do they know how frequently fertilized eggs don't implant? If you haven't ovulated, the morning-after pill just prevents ovulation, the same as any other hormonal birth control. Anyway, I agree that if someone isn't filling their job description by refusing to fill birth control prescriptions, then their company shouldn't condone that.

Have you heard of physical barriers like Rapex and Femdefence? Interesting concepts, but at the same time, it frightens me that many are even thinking along these lines. And like stellae said above, it places the responsibility even more in the hands of women and victims.
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Kris
anemone
2005-11-09 21:16 (UTC)
(no subject)
Is it because if you happen to have already ovulated and the egg is fertilized, it prevents implantation? Do they know how frequently fertilized eggs don't implant?

Yes, and yes. (More correctly, those "yes"s should be "so they say". Why people believe things and what they say are sometimes differnet.) Some even object to regular birth control because it works partly by preventing implantation and not conception. (And some object to all birth control.)

Well, in that case the rapist imposed himself (I'm assuming it was a guy) on someone else and broke the law too, so that's a very different situation.

No, it's the exactly same situation, except that you believe the rape of 9 year old girls is very very wrong, and you don't believe the morning-after pill is wrong at all. If the rape of 9 year olds was legal, would you be okay with someone who waited around knowing his buddy was busy raping a girl? Would you be okay with someone who loaned his buddy some cash so he could rape the girl?

If a pharmacist believes the morning after pill is murder, he or she becomes an accomplice (accessory?) to murder if he or she dispenses the pills. (Note, again, that I don't think the company has to continue employing people who don't do their jobs.)
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2005-11-11 19:19 (UTC)
(no subject)
I guess some consider the situation the same, though I don't. We're back to the sticky question of "when does life start?" I generally go with the third-trimester argument. (Aside: this isn't because I think that there's really some magical change that takes place around week 24, though it is some time around then that babies are viable on their own. I have a variety of other conflated reasons. One is that the ability to control reproduction in many ways, both preventative and after-the-fact, generally allows women to be able to live more they way they want (and not be forced to, for example, drop out of school, quit a job, or give up goals of advancement because of an unexpected child). If you buy Steven Few's arguments in Freakonomics, though I've expressed reservations about them, the ability to control reproduction also results in more wanted children and less abuse and neglect. It also puts less of a strain on the earth's already-strained resources.) I know that not everyone shares my views, though.
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Kris
anemone
2005-11-11 21:07 (UTC)
(no subject)
You skated around my main point. I wasn't trying argue on when life begins (though I would argue this is not the key point on which everything turns--I don't have the right to demand $20 of you to save my life, let alone a 9-month-organ rental).

I was trying to say that you would impose your beliefs on others. You don't believe people should rape 9 year-olds, so you'd probably stop that if it were in your power to do so.

If a bill came across your desk to ban female genital mutilation, what would you do? Say to yourself "Um, hmmm...well, I don't want to impose my beliefs on others" or would you sign it?

What if you were dealing with a culture that stoned women for (suspicion of) adultery, and you had a chance to make that illegal. Would you say "Well, gee, their culture believes in stoning women who may have committed adultery, and I don't want to impose my belief..." I suspect not. You'd impose your belief.

It is, in my opinion, sometimes morally right impose your will on others. (On the other hand, sometimes it's not morally right, and sometimes it's neither morally right nor prudent to do so.)
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2005-11-11 22:00 (UTC)
(no subject)
Ah, I see. That leads to the slippery slope of postmodernism/relativism, where everyone's opinion is equally valid and nobody can really direct anyone else because of it. Let me try to examine my statement of people "imposing their wills" on one another more, because it doesn't hold up to scrutiny. I seem to especially object to people obstructing others' actions based on fuzzy religious reasons where there's no lawful backing and perhaps ambiguous social/moral backing, as I believe is the case with withholding birth control. However, I would take a stand on some issues such as rape, genital mutilation, etc. despite the possibility that I will obstruct others, and I may feel more comfortable doing so because I have law and moral/social norms on my side. (I may still do so if I don't, but it'd be much more difficult and much less comfortable.) (And I guess in the cases of genital mutilation and stoning of adultresses, I could try to argue that the attackers are imposing themselves on the victims, but this would end up going in circles ...)

I'd like to write more, but I have to go now - maybe I'll try to clarify more in another response in a while.
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Olego
olego
2005-11-09 17:53 (UTC)
(no subject)
*is disturbed by this* True stories? Are people *really* like this?
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2005-11-09 18:47 (UTC)
(no subject)
Indeed. We're very sheltered here in the Bay Area. Even though we still had to deal with the nastiness that was Proposition 73. At least it was defeated.
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Olego
olego
2005-11-09 19:01 (UTC)
(no subject)
Funny usage of the word "Sheltered", because I'd say that it's they who are sheltered, and not we.
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2005-11-09 19:12 (UTC)
(no subject)
Yeah, I used to feel very "sheltered" when I lived in Salt Lake City, but there I wore my politics on my sleeve and had to stand up for them often. Here it's easy to become complacent when you're a liberal, and it's easy to forget that it really is different in the rest of the country. :~)
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Olego
olego
2005-11-09 19:41 (UTC)
(no subject)
I feel a little bit "privileged" in this area, because I have a few "contacts" (friends) who're in the MidWest, AND I have a few LJ friends (like yourself) who tell me about it. Still, makes me not want to move to anywhere in Jesusland. ^_^
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Jeff
lbchewie
2005-11-09 18:33 (UTC)
(no subject)
As much as I see this as a problem infringing upon women's rights - especially the horrible thing for a woman to be forced to bring a child to term conceived by a rapist. However, I see Liz's point, too. I think it's a matter of compromise. Perhaps within the faith, there's a provision that strongly religious people are just obligated to inform people who are attempting misdeeds about the consequences of their absence? I mean, ultimately, is it not God/Allah/whomever who judges the merits of any one person's soul? Maybe certain religions are more evangelical than others in forcing their beliefs onto others. Nonetheless, it seems as though the job description did come with provision that birth control would need to be dispensed, and if it's a very strong issue with a person, perhaps they might want to reconsider their profession if their faith is fundamentally incompatible with their job duties.
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2005-11-09 18:46 (UTC)
(no subject)
See my response to Liz - there's a difference between sticking to one's beliefs and imposing them on others.
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Gaia
temperategoddss
2005-11-10 00:38 (UTC)
Here's an atheist's two bitter cents.
Fuck religiously close-minded people, fuck their imposition of their beliefs and their assumption of absolute truth. Fuck also their superiority complex and unwillingness to tolerate diversity.

That said, this is a tricky issue. If you say that it's wrong for people to conscientiously object to what they see as murder, do you also say that it's wrong for people to conscientiously object to fighting in a war and murdering people in another country? Alternatively, if you say that it's ok for people to have free access to any form of birth control, including contraceptive pills, emergency contraception, and abortion, is it also ok for people to have access to these things and to be free to use them in lieu of acting sexually responsible?

My personal opinion is that the practice of denying contraception should not be institutionalized as it is with Target, for the reason that you are making a decision for another person by denying them, and no one should ever be allowed to make a decision so fundamentally individual for anyone else but themselves. When it comes to REAL murder, the killing of developed individuals with memories and experience beyond several months of amniotic fluid and heart beats, I think conscientious objection should be supported and encouraged, for the reason that what they object to is state-driven violence and murder. Course I also think that the Hindu support of people (mostly men, admittedly) who choose to become ascetic beggars late in life is neat.

On the topic of the difficulty women run into when trying to obtain birth control, I agree that it should not be so difficult to obtain it, with a few exceptions. Requiring a pelvic exam in order to obtain birth control is not only a method of guaranteeing a yearly fee being paid (which I really think ties in to the fact that we have a for-profit health care system, and if you think about it doctors have a vested interest in a steady supply of sick and unhealthy people), it is also a way to screen for STDs, cancer, and to check up on a person's sexual health. It may not seem that a yearly exam is important, and that it is a waste of money, but it kinda depends on whether you believe the societal thing of "but there's so many diseases and scary things out there, if you don't get checked you may have them and die." I've always thought it was ridiculously paranoid and part of the American Culture of Fear, and still do to a certain extent, until recently when I actually had abnormal results show up on a pap smear, and realized that it is a way to screen for cancer after all, and I didn't have the same results the year before.

On the topic of being sheltered in the bay area, you have no stinkin idea unless you've lived in a state like Utah. Example: A few months ago, I was having a casual conversation with my co-workers. One of them said something like, "I just pray that that doesn't happen." As a quip and attempt to be humorish, I said, "Or in my case, being an atheist, I'll just hope." In response, the office manager (one of the participants in the conversation) said that she had a brother-in-law that was an atheist, and that whenever he voiced his opinion, she just "told him to go away", and made a dismissive gesture and rolled her eyes. My other co-worker then turned to me and said, in an infuriatingly condescending tone of voice, "You really don't believe in God? Really? That's amazing, I'm sorry." At which point I became so pissed internally that I had to walk out before I erupted. Living in the Bay Area as most of you do, it's hard to imagine people so intolerant and self-righteous, but believe it or not, they exist, and what's worse, they make up the majority of the nation's voting citizens.

*cough* *step down off soap box* I'm done now.
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(Anonymous)
2005-11-11 21:12 (UTC)
Re: Here's an atheist's two bitter cents.
I've always thought it was ridiculously paranoid and part of the American Culture of Fear, and still do to a certain extent, until recently when I actually had abnormal results show up on a pap smear, and realized that it is a way to screen for cancer after all, and I didn't have the same results the year before.

If you're not sexually active, you can't have contracted the virus that causes 98% of cervical cancer. Is it still worth screening for that 2% risk? Maybe, maybe not, but it certainly changes the risk equation. Having been subjected to two of those painful, humiliating (and given what I know now, needless) exams as a virgin, I will forever be bitter towards the medical profession.
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Gaia
temperategoddss
2005-11-11 23:45 (UTC)
Re: Here's an atheist's two bitter cents.
If you're not sexually active, why would you be having pelvic exams to screen for HPV? I do understand your point as far as pelvic exams being completely unnecessary for someone sexually virginal, and I sympathize with your experience.

Seeing as how I am quite sexually active, however, and have been since I was 18, yes, it is definitely worth screening via Pap Smears for the risk. I'm not sure what you were trying to say with your numbers. The exam I will be subjecting myself to will screen for the virus that causes 98% of cervical cancer, meaning only 2% of cervical cancer cases are not caused by it. I think it is worth it for the 98% risk, however.

I was surprised to learn recently that HPV is extremely common, that it can be transmitted as easily from hand to genitals as it can be from genitals to genitals, and that it can sometimes lay dormant for several years before breaking out (as in my case, I haven't been with anyone besides my husband since December of 2003, but I didn't have an abnormal test result until February of this year).

Anyways, I appreciate your comment, I'm not trying to tear it apart, just asking for clarification.
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Liz
stellae
2005-11-14 19:39 (UTC)
Re: Here's an atheist's two bitter cents.
Hear Hear.

Not to mention that there are several reasons for wanting to be on the Pill that have little or nothing to do with the prevention of pregnancy.

(hormonal acne, very irregular periods, history of familial cancers that are not cervical as being on the pill for 3+ years reduces your risk of ovarian cancer by some huge percent), etc.
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Fata Morgana
chimerically
2006-03-14 07:00 (UTC)
Re: Here's an atheist's two bitter cents.
I've had terrible exams, too. Now I always get an appointment with someone I know, trust, and feel comfortable with.
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