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Hang a ‘Men Wanted’ Sign on This ‘Women’s Issue’

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Posted on Jul 9, 2014

By Molly Selvin

(Page 2)

Last Thursday the court compounded its wrongheaded Hobby Lobby decision by temporarily exempting an Illinois Christian college from the federal mandate to cover contraception for students. The brief, unsigned order, presumably from the conservative majority, drew a furious response from Justice Sonia Sotomayor on behalf of herself and the court’s other two female justices; the three women, along with Justice Stephen Breyer, dissented in the Hobby Lobby case. The order to temporarily exempt the college, Sotomayor wrote, “will presumably entitle hundreds or thousands of other objectors to the same remedy.”

Clearly, the debate over contraception and legal abortion is far from over. If women are to retain safe, accessible birth control, men too need to speak out. Men need to remind politicians that this is a ballot-box issue for them too. And women need to remind their male partners that contraception is a mutual responsibility.

Almost 25 years ago, in a case many conservatives hoped would directly overturn Roe v. Wade—but didn’t—then-Justice Sandra Day O’Connor observed that “the ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.” The stakes were just as high for men then, and the stakes are just as high for men now.

Molly Selvin, a former member of the Los Angeles Times editorial board, teaches at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles.

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