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SCOTUS Gives Hobby Lobby & Other Employers Right to Kill Me

Back some time in the early 2000s, I was diagnosed with a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). It's a pretty common ailment these days, unfortunately. In my case, both my ovaries are covered with little cysts. These bastards secret their own androgens that fuck with the rest of me. For example, I have a chin full of lovely whiskers, have to watch my weight like a sentry at a max security prison, and am prone to depression. The bigger problem is that people with PCOS have increased risks of various types of cancer. According to the National Institute for Health, "The risk of cancer of the endometrium... the inside lining of the uterus, is three times as high for women with PCOS as it is for other women... Women with PCOS also may be at higher risk for breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Small studies have suggested that a lack of ovulation (anovulation), as occurs with PCOS, is linked with a risk of breast cancer that is three to four times that of women without anovulation. In other research, results showed more than a doubling of the risk of ovarian cancer in women with PCOS, but scientists have not confirmed these links in large population studies."

One of the reasons, as cited above, for these risks is a lack of ovulation and menstruation, which was a problem I have because of the cysts and their damn androgens. Fortunately, birth control is available to resolve that. When I was on the Pill, I got my period more regularly than when I was not. My risk of cancer decreased dramatically. Yay!

However, studies also show that it's not really great to be on the Pill indefinitely. When I turned 35, I'd been on the Pill to combat my PCOS for over 10 years. My doctor suggested that I consider switching to an IUD. I wasn't crazy about the idea (*cough*Dalkon Shield*cough*), but eventually it made sense. After a farcical failed attempt to have one inserted in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy (let's just say my cervix does not like shit being pushed through it, and I thought I might understand what an abortion done with knitting needles might feel like), I finally got one in June 2013. My insurance covered it. And it's been great.

The problem is that certain employers, thanks to the Supreme Court, are now considered people with religious beliefs. It seems that these non-human people were upset that they may have to allow their employees to have certain kinds of birth control on their company insurance that offended the company's religion. The Supreme Court today decided that my potentially life-saving contraceptive device violated the non-human person's First Amendment rights. Therefore, in four years when I need a new IUD, I better not work for a non-human company with religious beliefs that conflict with my medical needs, or I could be denied an IUD with insurance.

So people have gone pretty crazy about this, insisting that I can just "skip a few cups of Starbucks and buy contraceptives for $20 from Wal-Mart." (This is an actual quote.) Who cares that the decision is so narrow that Jehovah's Witness non-human people are still forced to cover blood transfusions against their religious beliefs? I'm just being a whiny, feminist bitch who doesn't want to get cancer. (How demanding!) Any woman can just wander into 7-11, according to that loving defender of priests who molest children, Cardinal Dolan, and get one. (Yes, he seriously said that.) Who cares that an IUD is actually a few hundred dollars and then the cost of the insertion?

An IUD can save my life. It's nice that my potential future employer might be forced to cover it if I sit down with them and explain to them why I need it. Just like men are forced to do when they want vasectomies. Wait - they aren't? Oh rats. I'm just being a demanding, whiny bitch again. It's so wrong of me to be upset that these companies that claim their religions value life so much that I can't have a contraceptive that will possibly save my life unless I beg and plead!

The best part is that when I mentioned this on twitter, the delightful NY Post columnist Jon Podhoretz responded, "aaaand scene."

Yep. It sure could be.



Invaders Must Die

The exterminator is coming on Thursday. This will hopefully end the reign of terror that was foisted upon us beginning in July. The tally of the dead thus far:

  • Bedroom: three or four, one of which was already dead upon discovery
  • Hallway: four or five, most of which involved some level of screaming, although the last kill was just a ho-hum affair on my way back from the bathroom on Friday morning. "Oh, there's a hideous giant roach sitting outside the doorway to our bedroom? I'll just grab a paper towel and dispose of it. Yawn."
  • Bathroom: Three or four. The first killings involved a sneak attack. One roach was the decoy while another hid. This involved enormous amounts of screaming and the partial temporary destruction of the bathroom. First phase of the invasion.
  • Living room: Three. One already dead, one dying, and one not dead until I found it and made it dead.
  • Dining room (including entryway to apartment): None, although I shudder every time I think about the day, years ago, when I was eating breakfast and felt something on my bare foot, only to discover a brazen motherfucker roach walking over me.
  • Kitchen: None. Last sighting in December, when one fell from the ceiling. Yes, the ceiling.

This is the joy of living in New York City, especially in a humid summer, especially when construction is going on next door. There's nothing you can really do to control the invasion, although I would love to develop an app to map each kill site. We've been pretty lucky to have not let any of those who dared show their disgusting antennae escape our death machine, either through:

  • stomping (not preferred - very gushy; only used in a moment of utter surprise when critter is running and there's no time to get less blunt tools);
  • grabbing in a paper towel (or in one instance, a plastic garment bag used by the dry cleaner because it was handier) then flushed down the toilet or thrown out in the building trash outside the apartment; or
  • spraying to death with Raid, then grabbed with half a roll of paper towels and disposed of in trash in apartment as a warning to its friends and family.

When I spoke to the building porter today about what to do in preparation for the exterminator, he seemed surprised that we had a problem, but also reconciled to it. He's the one who pointed out that construction was going on next door, and that this is New York City. I think he didn't want me to feel bad or embarrassed. Quite thoughtful of him, really, unless he was worried that I was accusing the building of doing a bad job with pest control, which I was not. They do a great job.

Anyway, hopefully the exterminator will be our knight in shining armor. If not, I'll have to get a permit for a weapon. There's a war going on here. I know that in the end, the roaches will inherit the earth (it's inevitable), but I'm going to try to save my apartment. Just for a little while.



Ding Dong

For more than ten years, I've lived in an apartment that is essentially in the lobby of the building. Generally, I don't think twice about it. Sometimes it can be loud when people let their kids scream at the top of their lungs as though they are already at the playground, or if there is an unavoidable temper tantrum (by an adult or child). Rarely, I get the stink eye from another tenant passing through the lobby as I enter or exit my apartment, but this is New York. People live where they live. Certainly there are stranger places than an apartment that has an entrance in the lobby. (Hell, I lived for three years in a 200 square foot maid's quarters with no stove or oven that was accessed through a stairwell...) So when the doorbell rang around 5:30 this evening, I thought nothing of it. Perhaps a friend stopped by to say hello, or Husband had some dry cleaning delivered. I opened the door.

Three blond girls, ages 9-12 or so, stood gaping at me. Their caregiver's eyes opened wide. "Yes?" I said. Normally I'd say hello, but I am also not normally stared at as thought I beamed in from Mars.

"Oh, you live here?" the woman said. Her voice rang with shock, as if it was inconceivable that someone would deign to live in a unit off the lobby.

"Uh, yeah. I do live here," I said. I have to admit my tone was not friendly. "Is there something I can do for you?"

"Oh, we didn't know someone lived here, and we were looking for help because we are locked out of the apartment -"

"And there's a DEAD COCKROACH in the basement," one of the girls yelled.

Then I realized that they thought they were going to the super's apartment. That only a super would live in such quarters, and further, that it was totally acceptable to show up at his home and tell him that they were locked out and that there's a dead roach in the basement, as if he is their personal servant. The fact that a "regular" person instead opened the door blew their minds. I was furious.

"Well, if you want help and the doorman isn't here, you can check with the doorman on the other side. He can call the super for you," I said. I was really nasty about it.

"Oh, right, right," the woman said. It had clearly not occurred to them that there are appropriate channels to go through.

"Good luck," I said, and shut the door.

A few seconds later, I heard the doorman come in. "THERE'S A DEAD ROACH IN THE BASEMENT," I heard the girl scream at him.

These are the times that I hate where I live.