Professor Marci A. Hamilton, You Are Not “Complicit” in My Contraception Decision, Because It Is None of Your Business (Blog #2)

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You Are Not “Complicit” in My Contraception Decision, Because It Is None of Your Business

Marci A. Hamilton

Extreme religious liberty has hit the United States in a powerful wave of self-righteous demands by religious players. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood are claiming at the Supreme Court that they have a federal right to shape their benefits policies according to religious belief, even if those policies discriminate according to gender and religion.

That is extreme, but that does not hold a candle to Notre Dame University claiming a burden on its religion if it sends a letter to the government saying that it does not believe in the use of contraception, because that letter makes it “complicit” in its employees’ and students’ use of reproductive health care. This argument was recently rejected with verve by the Seventh Circuit. The Little Sisters of the Poor made a similar argument, but got Justice Sotomayor to take their side, at least momentarily. Both cases are on appeal.

We have hit bottom now, though, with state bills that would permit private for-profit businesses to discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, alienage, and disability. Or that allow them to refuse business with same-sex couples or homosexuals, because of their religious beliefs.

The Solution

Now that the country is in an uproar over this legal virus out of control, I would like to provide a simple legal solution to these business owners’ conundrums: Butt out.

On the contraceptive mandate: It is none of Hobby Lobby’s, Conestoga Wood’s or even Notre Dame’s business what their female employees and students do with their bodies. These women need to say what we are all thinking: Get out of my bedroom, my medicine cabinet, and my plans for the future. I will decide what medication I need to take in consultation with my doctor, and you have no right to try to coerce me into following your religious path. It is literally none of your business.

The argument that you can’t sign a form or let the insurance company provide contraception because that makes you “complicit,” is sheer hubris. You are not complicit in my contraception decisions, because it is none of your business.

To the businesses—again, butt out. You chose to go into business in a free market economy. If you only want to deal with co-believers, join a monastery. It is none of your business what anyone does with your product, whether it is a cake, a meal, a room, or a hat. Take a lesson from the Deep South, whose segregated world required a civil war and race riots before reason and justice were found.

Finally, to those of you who have chosen the marketplace to earn your living, whether you have extreme religious liberty rights or not. I don’t want to know what you believe. I respect and fully support your absolute right to believe anything you choose, but please don’t think it matters to me, because it really doesn’t—until you push it in my face. I want the best products in the marketplace, unencumbered by your faith, and I want you to celebrate the diversity of our miraculously peaceful diversity. Thank you, Delta Airlines, for saying that today.

What I really want are the best biscuits for breakfast. I will never forgive the owner of Chick-Fil-A for coming out as a religious homophobe. Now I can’t have his delicious biscuits in the morning, because once I knew he is a religious homophobe, well, I’m not giving him a dime. All I can say is, please, oh please, owners and board members of Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, and Nordstroms, please, keep your faith in your hearts and your products on the shelves, so I can continue to enjoy shopping, free of this infernal culture war set off by an irresponsible Congress and state legislators pandering to religious interests, and religious entities that when given an inch, will take an acre.