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Contraceptive controversy

March 1st, 2012

On Feb. 14, 47 faculty members signed and sent a letter to the Rev. Robert Niehoff, S.J. petitioning the University’s policy on insurance coverage of contraception.

The current policy of the Catholic Church prohibits the use of any contraceptives. The insurance policy of the University is consistent with the Church’s view and does not cover the use of contraceptives for some purposes.

As the faculty letter states, the purpose for the use of contraceptives would be for the sake of women and children’s health. The aggressive words of Iowa Bishop R. Walker Nickless and Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik are those of a Church too firmly stuck in the past.

While it is important for Church leaders to adhere to the fundamental beliefs and principles of the Church, they must ensure that the Church is current with issues, especially the health and wellness of the world’s people.

Zubik says that Obama’s health care policies are damning to all Catholics. If the policy does not include the option of contraceptive coverage then it is actually discriminating against all non-Catholics, as Paul Lauritzen, professor of religious studies, says. The insurance policy holders should be able to have contraceptives covered if they are necessary to their health.

If an unplanned pregnancy occurs, the likelihood of an abortion increases. The entire Catholic Church must consider the role of contraceptives as a preventative measure against abortion. It must be asked what is the lesser of these two “evils”?

Contraceptives, like birth control medicine, are also used to balance hormones in women. Insurance should cover any medication necessary for the health of a person.

The Jesuit order has a heritage of social action, however controversial. It is expected that Niehoff maintain the proactive spirit of the Jesuits and work toward a compromise between Church leaders and those who the insurance policy affects.