It's a woman's prerogative to change her mind.
That's an old saying of disputed origin.
It's a woman's right to choose - as in to choose to have an abortion.
That's a notion of much more recent vintage.
And few women - or men - will soon change their minds about Monday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling exempting Hobby Lobby from a Health and Human Services Department edict requiring it to provide workers with insurance coverage of contraceptives that the company considers abortifacients - including two types of "morning after" pills.
Among those predictably outraged by that predictable 5-4 decision: Erne Crawford, manager of "online mobilization" for Tell Them, a nonprofit organization that backs sex education and "access to reproductive health counseling" in South Carolina.
As reported in Tuesday's Post and Courier, Ms. Crawford said: "For five men on the Supreme Court to decide that a woman's boss has the power to take away basic health care is deeply troubling."
Gee, that makes it sound like those "five men" are waging war on women.
But Hobby Lobby's insurance plan already provides 16 of the 20 contraceptives HSS ordered it to cover.
So when, where, why and how did a woman's right to choose an abortion, a legal consequence of the Supreme Court's 7-2 Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, gestate into the claim of a woman's right to have her employer help cover the "basic health care" of morning-after pills?
In for the long haul
Back to a woman's prerogative, from "The Guinness Book of Female World Records":
"Shop Dithering: The longest time spent dithering in a shop was 12 days between 21st August and 2nd September 1995 by Mrs. Sandra Wilks (GB) in the Birmingham branch of Dorothy Perkins. Entering the shop on a Saturday morning, Mrs. Wilks could not choose between two near identical dresses which were both in the sale. After one hour, her husband, sitting on a chair by the changing room with his head in his hands, told her to buy both."
OK, so while we males are more likely to pick out our clothing purchases more quickly than females, we're also more likely to spit, cuss, publicly scratch in inappropriate places and commit violent acts - including starting wars.
And lest you forget, South Carolina females have come a long way, baby, in a short time. Among the many disadvantages they once endured:
They couldn't work as lawyers in this state until 1918, vote in state elections until 1921 or serve on juries until 1969 (seriously).
My female classmates couldn't even wear pants to St. Andrews High School until our senior year (1970-71).
Then again, lots of them did look quite fetching in those short skirts.
Plus, lots of us courtly fellas do still open doors for females, wait for them to exit elevators first, and gallantly position ourselves on the street edge of sidewalks when walking with them to take the wet brunt of puddles splashed our way.
Some of us are even willing to elect women to positions of major political power.
For instance, plenty of South Carolina men voted for Nikki Haley for governor in 2010 - and will do so again when she wins a second term in November.
Though Haley retains a woman's prerogative, don't hold your breath waiting for her to change her mind about taking that "free" Medicaid money - a sucker's Obama-care deal. And on Wednesday, Haley hailed the Hobby Lobby ruling.
But while a woman is the political head of our state, and women have been heads of nation-states including India, Israel, Britain and Germany, the U.S. hasn't had a woman president. Yet.
American women, however, have cast decisive ballots over the last quarter century: Despite winning the male vote in four of the last five presidential elections (Barack Obama edged John McCain by 49-48 percent among men in 2008), Republicans have lost the overall popular vote in five of the last six (stats from the Roper Center).
Mitt Romney won the male vote by 52-45 percent and even the married women's vote by 47-44 percent in 2012. But he lost the single women's vote - and thus, the election - by a huge 64-27 percent.
Where's our Maggie?
So how long until more women, especially single ones, exercise their prerogative to change their political minds?
When we finally get a woman president, must she be a liberal like Hillary Clinton, or even more liberal like Elizabeth Warren?
Before despairing over that emerging 2016 Democratic nomination match-up, recall the inspiring example of Margaret "The Iron Lady" Thatcher, Britain's Conservative Party prime minister from 1979-90.
Before buying the stereotype that too many U.S. women will remain easy marks for phony Nanny State promises, ponder the fact that we already have a conservative woman governor.
And have faith that more U.S. women - and men - will belatedly catch on to the indisputable truth from Thatcher:
"Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people's money."
Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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