The controversy over the Supreme Court’s contraception-related ruling on Monday echoed to Santa Barbara on Wednesday, where about 40 people protested the decision outside the County Courthouse. Women and men, many wearing pink Planned Parenthood t-shirts, held signs on the sidewalk on Anacapa Street during the lunch hour, earning the supportive honks of passing cars.
The signs’ statements included: “The 1950s called and it wants its social policies back,” “99 percent of women have used birth control; 100 percent of male bosses will never get pregnant,” and “Hobby Lobby and five male justices don’t give a craft about women’s rights.” The group promoted the social media hashtag, #jointhedissent.
In a 5-4 decision, the justices ruled that two family-owned corporations — craft store Hobby Lobby and cabinet company Conestoga Wood Specialties — don’t have to include coverage for certain types of birth control in their health insurance plans. Those companies contended that intrauterine devices and the morning-after pill are on par with abortion, which violates their religious beliefs.
But others viewed the decision differently. “I think this shows that Santa Barbara is incredibly disappointed with SCOTUS’s ruling to undermine women’s health care and birth control coverage,” said Julie Mickelberry, the vice president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund of Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo Counties.
Attendees included 2nd District Supervisor Janet Wolf and her staff, former Goleta Mayor Margaret Connell, Goleta City Councilmember Paula Perotte, and nonprofit consultant Laura Burton Capps. A bride and groom who were posing for photos in the sunken gardens walked over and posed in front of the group, holding a placard that read, “Yes we plan,” a sign they took with them when they left.
The demonstration didn’t attract any opposition, save for one man driving by who flipped off the group, prompting one protester to reply, “Put a condom on it.”