On Tuesday, our U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on a case that is of great importance: whether the Affordable Care Act requires employers who provide health insurance to their employees to include coverage for contraception.  The owners of Hobby Lobby—a privately held chain of stores—believe certain forms of birth control constitute abortion, which is against their personal religious principles.  The Court, for the first time in history has three female justices.

I am not going to opine as to whether an employee’s right to choose trumps an employer’s right to freedom of religion (or to impose their religious beliefs on their employees).  The fact that there are three females on the high court makes me feel better about the impending decision.

In appointing Justice Sotomayor–only the third female ever to serve on the Court– President Obama remarked that it was important for justices to have empathy for her fellow man and that gender and race affect a person’s life experiences and were therefore important factors in making judicial appointments.  I agree. 

While judges at that level must be brilliant, they must also present a cross-section of the community because these high-level decisions, while intellectual in nature, have real, practical ramifications.  Let’s get down to it:  Women approach the world of contraception in a different way than men.  While there are ramifications to a man who fathers a child, the physical burden and, arguably, more of the financial and caretaking burden usually falls on the woman.  I want all views represented when these important decisions are made.  The Supreme Court is not a computer.  You do not put the issue in the slot, turn on the reasoning machine, and out spits a decision.  Real people with real life stories make these rulings which have profound and lasting effect.  It’s not that I trust women more with these decisions; I just feel more comfortable having my general background and experiences as a female represented when they are made.