Susy Prochazka, Thomas Jefferson School of Law
For the lonely hearts, the coupled hearts, and all hearts in between this Valentine’s Day, our chapter arranged a lecture on the history of human sexuality and the ongoing effects of racism, sexism, and homophobia on sexual expression. Ms. Lea, the owner of a local sexuality boutique and sociological scholar, prepared a discussion on the lingering negative stereotypes surrounding a woman’s sexuality, especially where that sexuality does not conform to a white, hetero-normative standard.
Understandably so, the discussion detoured from a historical perspective into the more recent hardships that women face in exercising their right to a healthy and autonomous sexuality. One member of our chapter posed the question, “How will the recent obstacles to contraception coverage affect women’s sexuality?” Building on a religious liberty platform, the campaign by US Bishops forced the White House to compromise on insuring contraception. We voiced our fears that forcing women to rely on their employers for coverage will further restrict timely access to birth control. A woman’s sexual health will be dependent on her employer’s personal beliefs and opinions, an unacceptably restrictive limitation, in our eyes.
Some of the most vociferous opposition to the coverage of contraceptives stem from conservative religious organizations. However, there are statistics that 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women use a method of contraception banned by these same US bishops. The bishops represent the views of very few people other than themselves. One of our members is a devout Catholic and an active participant with Catholics for Choice. She brought these statistics to our attention and this led to a fiery debate about the failure of the separation of Church and State.
In the end, our discussion gave us resolve to create an event to emphasize the fact that religion and contraceptives can co-exist. Our school is fairly conservative, both politically and religiously, and we seek to ensure a place for contraceptives and frank discussion on campus.
To accomplish this, our LSRJ chapter has teamed up with the Jewish Students Association and Christian Law Society to host an event addressing the dissonance between religion and contraceptives, a conflict that is being pushed to the forefront.
Our Valentine’s Day event was a huge success. It not only provided a background to the history of oppression of sexuality, but it also addressed the obstacles that very recent legislation continues to pose.