An Open Letter To Ruth Ginsburg By Madison Kimrey
Dear Justice Ginsburg,
I would like to offer my thanks to you in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby. As a young woman, this decision was especially troubling for me. It’s deeply disturbing that a corporation could decide to ignore medical science and make decisions about the healthcare of employees based on falsehoods. What the decision in Hobby Lobby’s favor has done is reinforce misconceptions about birth control among those who, for various reasons, want to limit the choices we women have over our health and our own bodies.
I want to thank you for the pro-life stance you took in your dissent. You addressed the fact that women of child-bearing age pay about 68% more than men do in healthcare costs. You addressed the medical necessity of women having access to all FDA approved contraceptive methods. You addressed the fact it would cost up to a month’s pay at minimum wage to pay for an IUD. I am grateful that you stood up for the proven principles that save women’s lives and decrease the number of unplanned and medically unsafe pregnancies.
You also stood up in a big way for religious freedom. You stated that, “…the exercise of religion is characteristic of natural persons, not artificial legal entities.” You defined the difference between religious organizations and companies whose workers come from a variety of backgrounds. You also talked about the dangers of going against the First Amendment and making decisions that favor one religion over another.
As a young person who doesn’t have equal protection under the Constitution based on my gender, I now find myself in a situation where a non-living company that operates for profit serving the general public can declare that it has religious beliefs and that company’s rights can be viewed as more important than my rights as an individual citizen. These companies also have the ability to spend massive amounts of money to fund candidates in elections.
My generation has been left a very difficult minefield to navigate. I am confident that we’ll make it. You have set an example for us to follow in showing us the importance of reasoned dissent. If we join our voices, stand up for facts over fallacies, freedom over fundamentalism, and rights over self-righteousness, we together have more power than even the largest corporations.
You have been, in your years of service, a role model for young women. Just as you rose above discrimination at the beginning of your career, young women of today will rise above the discrimination we now face. We will not give up the fight for our freedom, our opportunities, our health, and most importantly, our equality in the eyes of the law.
To the readers: I would like to invite you to write the Post Script to this letter. Justice Ginsburg’s service in our judicial system has influenced us both collectively and individually. How has Justice Ginsburg influenced you? What will your contribution be as we move forward? What will you pledge in our fight for justice and equality?
Alice Paul once said, “When you put your hand to the plow, you can’t put it down until you get to the end of the row.” We are far from the end of the row, but the years of hard work spent on the field will eventually produce a bountiful harvest.
In Sincere Gratitude,
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