I do not write to flog Hobby Lobby, the company behind the latest legal challenge to Obamacare. I admire companies that are mission-driven and espouse values other than just the bottom line. What distresses me is that contraception, an issue I thought settled long ago, is again under assault. This is a form of guerilla warfare, with no fixed lines, in which women are forever forced to retake old ground. How can abortions be safe, in any sense of the word, if contraception is continually under attack? This is a women’s issue, and I’m not sure many men actually get that. The Supreme Court’s three female justices don’t just dissent on contraception cases. They seem personally affronted, as was the elderly woman who asked me 18 years ago when I was running for Congress: “Are you pro-choice or anti-woman?” When Rick Santorum attacked birth control as well as abortion in the 2012 Republican presidential primary debates, it just seemed more proof of how firmly rooted in the Inquisition his political beliefs are. Santorum is running again in 2016; his views have not changed.
But there is more than politics involved. My friend Bayard Storey spent his long career studying reproduction, for which he received scientific honors and a philosophical awakening: “A woman provides 99.999 percent of the metabolic input to development of the offspring; the male’s contribution to the process is miniscule. It’s the woman who has to do all the work and carry the burden. No legislator has the right to regulate that.”