I wasn’t going to comment on the fact that Hobby Lobby managed to get around the birth control clause in Obamacare. But I learned something this week that changed my mind. I know someone who works at Hobby Lobby and has poly-cystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)… and they don’t have to pay for her birth control. What?!
I have PCOS. It comes with migraines, high testosterone levels, and ovarian cysts (these are about the most painful things ever and occur when our bodies ovulate, the ova irritates a membrane around our ovary and causes a cysts, when these cysts get large enough, they rupture). While in college, I began getting my birth control from Planned Parenthood because the regular pills, don’t work, think Ortho-anything here. We need the juiced-up, hormone-laden kind, like Yaz or Seasonique. And because their a supped up birth control, they cost more. I was paying $340 every three months for Seasonique. Before that, I was paying $460 every three months for Yasmin. Yasmin worked better, but Seasonique was cheaper, so I made the switch.
And along came the cysts. And more migraines. For me, more migraines is a serious problem. I have them 25 days out of a month anyway, do I really need a few more? No, absolutely not. Eventually I switched, again, to Depo-Provera – the shot – because it works the best for me. Of course, this is a $500+ shot every three months.
So what exactly is the point? I know the cost of birth control. I’ve been paying it out of pocket for roughly 11 years now. During that time, I’ve never had a job that paid less than $10 an hour. Usually, they’ve paid quite a bit more. However, the person I know at Hobby Lobby has no children, receives no state benefits, and now Hobby Lobby doesn’t have to pay for her birth control which is medically necessary, but makes $9.75 an hour. In Columbia, this is a problem. She shares a two-bedroom with a roommate, their rent is $550 a month or $275 each. They also split the utility bills. However, she has a car, which means she needs gas and car maintenance. She also has student loans, because she decided to get a Liberal Arts degree.
I am appalled by this! How can a corporation (and Hobby Lobby is in fact a corporation, not a religious non-profit) get out of paying for a medically necessary prescription? When she appealed to her employer, she was told there was “no medically necessary reason for birth control.” She did get reprimanded though when she had an ovarian cyst rupture and missed five days of work without “scheduling ahead or making arrangements for someone else to cover her shifts.” When she told me all this, I just looked at her and said “You have got to be fucking kidding me.”
Regardless of religious beliefs, there are medical reasons to take birth control. Women with PCOS have a hard time conceiving, they don’t actually need birth control for that reason. As a matter of fact, over half the women I know with PCOS (and I belong to a support group), have had to go through fertility treatments when they decided to try and start a family.
So, thank you Supreme Court for upholding the religious beliefs (monetary bottom-line) of a corporation over the health of your country’s citizens. That is quite the statement to make. Needless to say, my associate is job hunting. But considering my local Hobby Lobby is primarily staffed with women, maybe they should all stage a walk-out, if the stores are closed for a week or so while they replace all the employees…