Echoing Ida Represents at the #NotMyBossBusiness Rally

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A few of the "Idas" at the #NotMyBossBusiness rally: (L to R) Amber Phillips, Elizabeth Dawes Gay, Gloria Malone, Renee Bracey Sherman. Photo credit: Renee Bracey Sherman
Earlier this week, the Supreme Court heard arguments about the “Hobby Lobby” case, which essentially will decide if employers can restrict insurance coverage of contraception on the grounds of their religious beliefs. Legally, this would allow companies to refuse to cover contraception as part of their employee’s health care plan, thus making employees pay out of pocket for birth control.

This case has serious implications on future of health care access and on Tuesday leaders in the reproductive justice movement showed up strong--to influence the both the US Supreme Court and the court of public opinion. Along with hundreds of colleague organizations and thousands of concerned Americans, we took it to the streets rallying at the steps of the Supreme Court, and on social media to say that our personal health care decisions are #NotMyBossBusiness. A few of our awesome Echoing Ida leaders, a project of Forward Together that supports and heightens the visibility of Black women's thought leadership, attended the rally in person. Idas Gloria Malone and Renee Bracey Sherman gave speeches about youth parenting and the difficulties of birth control access for women of color and low-income communities.

Gloria Malone, a fierce advocate for young parents (pictured below rocking her #SoyPoderosa shirt) told the crowd: "It is not a decision we should be forced to make because we cannot afford #birthcontrol! It is a matter of salud, dignidad, y justicia!"

Gloria Malone of TeenMomNYC and her daughter, Leilani, at the #NotMyBossBusiness rally. Photo credit: Planned Parenthood Action
She also tweeted how amazing the experience was for her and how grateful she was to share it with her 7 year-old daughter, Leilani.
Having my baby girl in attendance looking up at me while I spoke for both and all of us made me emotional. #NotMyBossBusiness
Having her watch me and be part of my early life, dreams, & future is beyond my wildest dreams as a mother #NotMyBossBusiness #SCOTUS
Later that morning, Renee Bracey Sherman broke down why bosses need to stay out of our health care decisions:
"The court’s decision will have far reaching effects - not only does it impact each and every employee, but it also impacts an employee’s family and their healthcare needs. This is not right. While my father and his boss didn’t need birth control, I did. While my father and his boss didn’t need a Pap smear, I did. I'll say it loud and proud. While my father and his boss didn’t need an abortion, I did. The personal beliefs of someone’s boss shouldn’t matter. Premiums pay for our health insurance and it should cover the care we need."
You can watch the entire speech below.

The Hobby Lobby case has implications beyond setting boundaries within the Affordable Care Act but could open the door for companies deny coverage for anything they disagree with under a religious exception. As comedian and activist Lizz Winstead tweeted: "What if your boss's religion believes psychiatry is a hoax? Could they deny medicine AND therapy coverage?"

The decision is not expected to be announced until June so the countdown begins. In the meantime, to get more updates and coverage of this case and the #NotMyBossBusiness rally, follow Echoing Ida on Twitter.

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