Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A step in the wrong direction...

[[This is an extension on K. Donahue's earlier post regarding the Observer's recent trumpeting the availability of contraceptives at Health Services.]]
Donahue and I actually discovered the Observer article together as we exited Flanner Hall following our college seminar, "Perfect God, Imperfect World: The Problem of Evil'" and we were stopped dead in our tracks by the head line. We were in utter and complete shock at reading it, mind-blown really, as we stood there for easily a full two minutes knocking our heads and wondering how this happened.
Yes, the article did say that Health Services will be only administering contraceptive prescriptions for patients with irregular or painful menstrual cycles, no menstrual cycle or abdominal pain. However, I do not think that even extreme situations such as these necessitate that Health Services have contraceptives readily available to the double-X student population. Why? Well, my reasons are multi-fold and i would be more than happy to tell you.
[1] Although contraception may offer the best or easiest treatment for these medical conditions, there are other, good quality treatments available that Health Services can offer to student-patients. These could be offered as a "first try," and if these don't work, well then Health Services can refer students off-campus.
[2] The medical resources in South Bend are of high quality and quanitity. If a young, ND female student is needing treatment, then she should have no problem in traveling a whole mile and a half off campus to a medical facility for consultation. And I would have no problem with Health Services having medical referrances available for these students.
[3] With contraception being so closely tied with the abortion industry, which is wrought with dishonesty and deceit, I do not find it much a stretch to believe that those doctors and patients respectively prescribing and being prescribed contraception will have no problem faining an excuse for "medically-necessary" contraception. I know that this sounds a little like conspiracy theory, but I find it hard to believe that doctors wouldn't have any qualms about prescribing contraception for contraceptive purposes, with the claim of it being for legitimate health needs.
[4] On a related note, even though the University may take every mean possible to prevent the use of contraception for its designed purposes, Notre Dame should not offer the pill for any reason, even "noble" ones, because it is contrary to its Catholic identity. As persons created in the Image and Likeness of God, we are called to transcend our human weaknesses so to obtain the perfection in which we were originally created. Contraception in its truest form does not have a role in this plight. In this year's production of "Loyal Daughters and Sons" there was a particular skit which accused Catholic teaching on sexuality and relationships as being an ideal that is not really attainable for everybody. WRONG! If this was the case then the Church never would have adopted this teaching in the first place. Yes, Church "ideals" might be hard or challenging to conform one's life to, especially in the 21st century, however it is an entirely possible and managable life practice.
[5] Notre Dame, as a prestigious institute in the world of academia, should stand as a beacon of Catholicism in a world where most prestigious universities have succumbed to most pressures and demands of secular society. We should not sacrifice or undermine our Catholic Identity and Character when society can only benefit from our remaining strong in the face of adversity.

Notre Dame has so much potential and its students have exponential potential as well, but we must make sure that we [Notre Dame] take every mean possible to make sure that this potential is realized only through means that benefit the student bodily, spiritually, intellectually, and ethically.



Anonymous said...

I really don't think allowing Health Services to provide the pill for medical purposes is against Catholic teaching.

I also dont think that you're giving the staff over at Health Services enough credit. While there is the common perception that all they can diagnose is mono and pregnancy, I think they're more capable than that and are able to spot a plot to gain contraceptives for free sex.

I don't know much about how the medical practice works, but I also think that referring students to off-campus medical facilities could run into problems with insurance companies, not to mention other problems concerning University liabilities.

One of the first questions that the doctor asks when you go to him/her with problems is, "Are you sexually active?" That might have been THE first question I was asked. I am sure that other health professionals also ask the same question, because saying "Yes" brings another whole set of issues, like the risk of STDs. Saying "No" means that whatever problems the student is having is legitimate and, depending on the severity, worrying. I know that some girls become alarmed at even slight irregularities in their menstrual cycles, and they would want to fix any long term inconsistencies.

Fortunately, my parents are able to send me my perscription since it was prescribed to me during the summer but if I needed to depend on Health Services, I would hope that my school would be able to provide me with what I needed. After all, they are most concerned with the welfare of the students, as any RA will tell you right after they've listed all the University's anti-alcohol rules.

You can't penalize the girls who might actually need contraceptives for medial purposes for any abuse that girls who want it for sexual purposes, becuase there will always be abuse of the system in one form or another.

I am a committed Catholic and don't consider myself in violation with the Church, which actually has a lot of room to maneouver. I am also on the pill.

And I work for the Rover.

Anonymous said...

I would definitely agree.

First, I would like to add that I personally do not think that taking the pill is the best way of addressing most issues related to a woman's cycle. Honestly, I think that the pill is overprescribed out of laziness, and the root of many issues (menstrual irregularities, fertility problems, etc.) can be adequately addressed by a thorough knowledge of NFP.

The problem is that most of the medical community doesn't believe this. And I'm not a doctor. So personally, I'd probably get a second opinion if a doctor told me that my only option was to go on hormonal contraception, but that's just me. For many, many others it is a valid and even desirable treatment for their symptoms.

The Church is in no way against using a medication to address valid medical concerns. Especially if we're talking about a student who is not sexually active and who needs the pill (patch, whatever) in order to *function*, there is no problem with prescribing her a medication which just happens to have a contraceptive side effect.

We're not talking about something which is intrinsically evil, here. Especially when our 'Catholic' peer institutions are reportedly providing abortion referrals, I think ND is doing just fine.

Anonymous said...

personally, I don't trust health services farther than I can throw them...which would hurt me and make me go there, so let's not even try that.