Rev. Marti Keller
As the UU Women’s Federation representative to the national Religious Council on Reproductive Choice (RCRC), I recently had the experience of joining other faith leaders in Washington DC for the council meeting and to stand with them on the steps of the US Supreme Court to protest the Hobby Lobby case asking for a corporate religious exemption from covering birth control under the Affordable Care Act(ACA).
This morning I rejoined this group by conference call to hear breaking news about an RCRC event in Dallas Texas last night (Monday April 7) held at the First Dallas UU Church with a goal of rebooting choice activities in that much beleaguered state. Especially on the heels of the recent passage of a law calling for new requirements of practitioners which effectively has shut down multiple abortion providing clinics. Continue reading
I was a recent graduate in journalism from a prestigious state university, having been living temporarily in my teenage bedroom in my mother’s house with my then husband, a college drop-out at a time when the expectation and assumption was that if we were over 18, we were no longer literally part of our parents’ households. We moved into a modest apartment with thin walls, erratic heat, and monthly rent and utility bills.
He was working low wage swing shift in the credit department of a major furniture dealer 30 miles away, after having done some time at an even lower paying job in a canned food warehouse. I had given up looking for a position even vaguely related to my major and the field I had been trained for, landing a very part-time job as a counter girl (and girl it was) in an ice cream store, handing out samples of apple strudel and rocky road (chocolate and walnuts) ice cream and scooping cones from the bottom of cardboard containers. After only a few days, my hands and arms were cramped and sore and my fingers burned from spending so much time in frost and ice. To this day I cannot imagine tasting, let alone relishing any of the dozens of rotating flavors.
… and the Face of Pro-Choice 2014 This past Tuesday morning I had the opportunity to stand with hundreds of others in a freak late March full out snowstorm (wet cold and pelting) in Washington DC to protest the casebrought by Hobby Lobby, a national chain of c Continue reading
A confession: my husband and I (after reading so many rave postings on Facebook by a well-respected UU sister in ministry), have just finished binge watching 40 episodes of the TV program “Scandal” in less than two weeks. This popular series, set in Washington D.C., is a dark and often violent picture of shadow government, White House assignations, torture, assassinations, and monumental corruption. It is engaging and well-acted. It is also cynical and horrifying.
It is a scandalous depiction of our democracy in action. And it is fictional.
In the real Washington D.C. of 2014 next Tuesday (March 25), the U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing two cases challenging the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that insurance companies provide contraception, a preventive health care service, at no cost. The constitutional right to birth control was argued and won decades ago: it is financial access that is at issue here.
More than 40 for profit companies have sued the federal government because they claim their corporations must follow certain religious laws which in fact trump the health care decision making ability of their female employees. If they work for these companies, contraceptive coverage should not be an option. The cases under consideration by the Court have been brought by Hobby Lobby Inc. (that national chain which sells crafting supplies) and Conestoga Wood Specialties.
This is a real scandal, a situation that should be causing great public outrage as yet another effort to turn back the clock on reproductive justice. This effort to give corporations greater voice in health care decisions than the women who work for them would do just this.
The UU Women’s Federation has been un-wavering and unremitting in its support for contraception — both available and accessible — as a basic human right. We join the Unitarian Universalist Association and other allies in urging the Supreme Court to uphold the rights of women to choose preventive birth control services without economic barriers, and in the process to maintain religious liberty, equality, and economic security.
I will be in D.C. for the hearing: for the rally that morning and to witness the proceedings.
I urge UUWF members and friends to speak out in the ways available to us, and to be with me in body or spirit. To end this scandal.
A recent Associated Press story about the fact that possibly hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits across the country may finally be processed reminded me of the many episodes on the long lived television series “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” where the lack of this evidence leads to dead ends in solving these crimes, most often against women and girls. And how frustrated and indignant the small screen detectives get, including Officer Olivia Benson, played by veteran actress Mariska Hargitay. Continue reading