It is Not Just Driving a Car, It is Driving a Life

In one part of the world, women celebrate the announcement that in June, 2018, they will be allowed to drive automobiles. It is both something small to some (something some fear is too small and perhaps diversoinary) and a highly symbolic thing to others. Asma Alaboudi was quoted in the New York Times, noting:

“That I am driving means that I know where I am going, when I’m coming back and what I’m doing,” said Ms. Alaboudi, the social worker.

“It is not just driving a car,” she said, “it is driving a life.”

In another part of the world, women absorb the announcement that an employer soon need no longer offer contraceptive coverage as an essential benefit in employer sponsored health insurance. No rationale of cost savings offered (as with the announcement about needing to spare the military debt for those transitioning genders) this time — as there is none. No rationale of improved women's mortality as that is also a hard one to claim.  Facts have a way of being sticky.

The rationale relies on a reading of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, where an employer's sincerely held religious scruples and principles clearly trump an employee's religious scruples and principles.  No matter that an employer's sincerely held religious scruples may combine with the ACA's lack of requirement that employer sponsored health insurance include family health insurance coverage to produce an employer who can say that a female employee's contraception is their business but actually providing health care for the children that will result from a contraception coverage veto are not.  

American women also want to drive their own lives. This dispute is not just about contraception. Just as with driving an automobile, it is about taking charge of your own fate.  As Katherine Parkin's Women at the Wheel tells us, by the 1970's only half of American women had a driver's license. 

Apparently, we are still not fit to guide the direction of our own lives.


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