Browsing Tag



hormone therapy and abortifacients aren't the same thing


I have a problem with the fact that Hobby Lobby was able to get away with this because pro-life advocates are either a) misinformed about hormone therapy or b) they knowingly lie about it.

So I’m writing about how hormone therapy functions in the bodies of people who have vaginas, uteri, and ovaries.  In order to know how hormone therapy works, we have to understand how the ‘female’ reproductive system works.

Menstruation is a cycle, which begins when the ovaries do what they do and ovulate. This happens through the development of an ovarian cyst, which creates an oocyte that will eventually mature and become an ovum. This part of the cycle is the follicular phase. During the follicular phase, the uterine lining (the endometrium)  is not conducive to implantation.

Once the ovum has matured, the ovary releases it to travel through the fallopian tubes to the uterus. This begins the luteal phase, and the endometirum begins forming secretions and blood vessels in anticipation of implantation. Once the ovum has been released, it can be fertilized by sperm, and this is when it becomes a zygote; the fertlized ovum begins going through stages until it eventually forms a conceptus that attaches to the uterine lining, which at this point must transform the base endometrium into the decidua and placenta. This is when pregnancy officially begins. Many pregnancies fail during the first few weeks– this failure is known as a miscarriage or spontaneous abortion, and most women do not even know they were ever pregnant. If the ovum is not fertilized or the zygote fails to implant, the uterus begins to shed the luteal phase lining. In humans, this is menstruation (some mammals absorb the lining instead of excreting it through the vaginal canal).

Hormone therapy– which has many uses– can be used as an effective form of birth control because it prevents ovulation. It also has the secondary effect of thickening mucus, making it more difficult for the sperm to travel beyond the cervix, through the uterus, and into the fallopian tubes. On top of that, it changes the outer portion of the ovum, making it slightly more resistant to penetration by the sperm.

Every single step of hormonal birth control prevents ovulation, which is why it is an effective treatment for some people who suffer with PCOS, like me. In the event that ovulation has occurred (which rarely happens, otherwise it would be a useless treatment), the secondary effects prevent fertilization.

If the ovary releases a mature ovum, it has also released a hormonal trigger for the endometrium to begin forming the luteal phase secretions. Without a mature ovum, nothing happens to the uterine lining, which is why hormone therapy is said to “thin” the uterine lining, although that description is misleading and deceptive. Hormonal birth control– even emergency contraception— cannot affect implantation for this reason.

This information is not controversial. It is well established, and can be found in any medical textbook concerning reproductive biology.

Hobby Lobby argued that four of the HHS-mandated contraceptives violated their religious beliefs (which is hypocritical and deceptive in the extreme, since they fund the manufactures of these contraceptives and their health plan covered all 20 FDA-approved contraceptives up until two years ago); they argued this based on outdated information concerning how emergency contraception and other forms of hormonal therapy operate that manufactures were required to place in their inserts.

Considering that the hormonal contraception Hobby Lobby opposed– Plan B, ella, and Mirena– functions exactly the same way as all other hormone contraceptive options, their opposition to these in particular is largely ridiculous. The only possible exception is the copper intrauterine device. The copper it releases acts as a spermicide and inhibits sperm mobility.  I could find no medical study concerning copper IUDs and its ability to affect implantation– just a lot of speculation– but it is within the realm of how the device works. If you believe that a blastocyst is fully human (a position I believe involves a lot of cognitive dissonance and a lack of intellectual honesty and rigor), then the copper IUD might not be a good option for you.

That doesn’t mean any employer has the right to dictate what their employees use their healthcare for. Healthcare, typically classed as a “benefit,” is part of the financial contract between corporations and employees; laborers agree to sell their labor in exchange for taxed financial compensation as well as non-taxed “benefits” such as healthcare. The reason why healthcare is a separate area of compensation is that the United States government incentivizes employers to provide mass-negotiated sponsored healthcare to their workers without that part of the financial compensation being taxed. Healthcare benefits appear as a subtraction on the employee’s paycheck: it is a service I am contractually guaranteed (part of the reason why I agreed to labor for a particular corporation was to receive it) as well as a service I pay for. Employers have no business telling their laborers how they spend their own money. There is no difference from me handing my insurance card or my credit card to my pharmacist.

The lack of information concerning the cisgender female body is the single most important reason why Hobby Lobby was able to argue for their position. The Supreme Court majority decision specified that it wasn’t the medical legitimacy of the belief, but merely having the belief that made the HHS mandate a “burden” on Hobby Lobby and the hundreds of other companies that are affected by this decision; however, Hobby Lobby is capable of having this “sincerely held religious belief” (coughbullshitcough) because people do not understand how hormonal therapy works. At least part of the reason why this can be considered a “sincerely held religious belief” at all is that so many people are so wrongly informed. Without this traction, Hobby Lobby could never have made an argument in the first place.

I find that particularly laughable, especially since there is more research that says Advil can prevent implantation and cause abortion than hormonal therapy options.


celebrating the fourth


We gathered together in the fellowship hall. There weren’t that many of us, just the core of our church, the people I truly thought of as my extended family. I sat next to Christine* in the old wooden pew, one foot hooked over the rung and the other sweeping across the dusty concrete floor. Pastor stood behind his rickety podium, warning us of what we were about to encounter: we were going out into the world, and we were going to see things we weren’t ordinarily used to. We’d see people drinking and smoking, we’d hear people cursing and rock music blaring. But, we had to ignore all of that and focus on what was more important– witnessing to the lost. Be brave, he said. Have courage and not fear. Speak the truth to a dying World.

We stood and gathered up our bundles of flyers and tracks, packed ourselves into the church’s white sixteen-passenger van, and headed to the city park where they were going to have the fireworks display. When we arrived, the park was already packed. People everywhere had set up picnic blankets, camp chairs, were hanging off the back of pickup tailgates. Southern rock was in the air, and everyone was celebrating. Kids were playing in the fountain, a few people were floating in the lake. For one day, every person in our town was our neighbor.

For the few hours before sunset, Christine and I wandered around with her mother, asking every single family “would you mind if we gave you something to read?” or “could we talk with you for a minute?” Most of the people we talked to were congenial– who would say no to taking a slip of paper from two teenage girls on the Fourth of July, of all days?

But, as we moved around the park, I battled jealousy.

I wanted to have a picnic in the park. I wanted to talk and laugh and drink Coke and wear denim cut off shorts and sing along with Sweet Home Alabama and spread my blonde hair over the blanket and soak up the sun and bask in the spirit of the day, when all Americans are friends.

I fought the feeling as hard as I could. What I was doing was important. So much more important than anything I wanted. I should be ashamed of myself, wanting to waste such a golden opportunity just to do something so carnal.


The summer after I graduated from undergrad, some of the women from my parent’s church invited me to the fireworks display. Instantly, my mind flew to all the Independence Days I’d spent passing out tracks int he park. Initially, I was reticent until I asked what they’d be doing and what she was described was a picnic.

The fireworks were happening Sunday night, and our church had canceled the evening service so their members could attended. Had canceled church. That was simply unheard of, for me. The women carpooled down and we found an amazing spot close to the river. There were stalls everywhere– I gobbled down piping hot funnel cake and spent the lazy afternoon sipping home-crafted root beer. I danced as the 80s cover bland played Kid Rock’s All Summer Long, and spent the afternoon laughing with new friends.

I’m the one in the middle.


My favorite holiday has always been Independence Day. Seriously, I love it more than I love Christmas, and that’s a big deal, coming from me. I think it might have something to do with being an Air Force dependent– I grew up brutally aware of the kinds of sacrifices our military makes. I watched husbands be separated from their wives, mothers separated from their children. I watched parents weep when they found out their child was never coming home. After 9/11 happened, half the people at church disappeared, and when and the deployment length was extended from seven to fifteen months, they never seemed to come back.

After spending three years in a foreign country, I also appreciated the kinds of freedoms and privileges we have here– but I say that with an awareness of nationalistic elitism that plagues this country. But, it’s nice to be able to buy a pizza and not spend $80 for it.

But I have never been more proud of my country than I have been in the past few weeks.

Last week, the Supreme Court declared the Defense of Marriage Act to be un-Constitutional, and I cheered.

Wendy Davis called on her State to do the right thing, to sit up and pay attention, and I stood with her.

Citizens begged Iowa’s governor to be aware of a line item that would do irreparable damage to homeschooling children.

Women in Ohio and North Carolina gather in sisterhood and solidarity.

President Obama called for a higher code of ethics with regards to UAV-enacted warfare.

Men like Snowden (whatever you think of him) exposed the rampant and horrific government monitoring of its citizens.

From all of this, I want to believe that good things are happening in this country. That, for the first time in a long time, we’re collectively marching up to our government and shouting Enough! I will be heard!

We are the People.

What we are capable of doing when we gather together, when we think of all men as our brothers, as all women as our sisters, when everyone is our neighbor, is magnificent. We can unite under a common banner, a common cause, and love each other until we make it. We can stand together and pick each other up; cheer with the victors and wrap an arm around the fallen.

To me, that’s what Independence Day is about. Celebrating our ability, as a people, to get shit done. Together.