I am a supporter of women’s rights. I attended an all-girls’ high school in which the goal of the institution is to empower women. It is a Catholic school with a liberal vibe. Obama won our mock election in 2008, and we focused on international social justice issues very often, especially during assemblies and prayer services. I absolutely loved my high school experience. I graduated prepared for college and knowing that I, as a woman, can accomplish great things. That is what I understood and still understand about being an empowered woman. It involves but is not limited to being educated, informed, ambitious, a person grounded in values and faith, and a person who is proud to be a woman.
However, now I, along with all other women am being told something different. We are being told that to be empowered and to enjoy “women’s rights,” we are to listen to what the government tells us is healthy. We are to stand up for our “freedom” to choose what is convenient for us, especially when it comes to healthcare. We “deserve” the right to free contraception. We are being told to resist a “war on women” being waged by those who disagree with this part of the healthcare plan known as the HHS mandate.
Our first lady, Michelle Obama, recently traveled to northern Virginia (which happens to be the state in which I am living for the summer) to promote President Obama’s campaign. Mrs. Obama made it a point to speak on women’s health issues. She told listeners that protecting women’s health is about making sure “…that women make basic health decisions for ourselves. Plain and simple.” According to the The Washington Examiner, remarks such as these roused the crowd into great applause.
I’d applaud too if that is actually what Obamacare’s HHS mandate is doing. What decisions are we making for ourselves? Should we not be conscientious of women who do not want to pay for contraception because they are morally opposed to it or simply do not want to use it? At the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally in Washington D.C. on Friday, June 8th, Ashley McGuire of the Becket Fund for Religious Freedom articulately stated, “As an American woman I am so sick and tired of being told that opposition to this mandate is a war on women. When I hear that, I want to ask, ‘What women?’ I hate this mandate. I’m a woman. Am I waging war on myself?” I couldn’t have said it better if I tried.
Another key value my alma mater taught me is to think critically. I am doing just that by saying “No” to Obama’s supposed support of women and our rights. I realize there are women who are very much in favor of the HHS mandate. I am curious if these women have considered if tables were turned. If they were being forced to pay for something that violated their beliefs and religious or non-religious rights, would the debate be the same?
Women of this country deserve better than to be told what is best for us and to be told to compromise our own or others’ religious or moral beliefs. It is my understanding that empowered women should not compromise their values. I value life and my religious freedom as a woman and as a Catholic. In this case, there is no way I am appreciating Michelle Obama’s words. Women deserve much better than this.
By: Leslie Bosslet, 2012 Missionary for Life