Discrimination?

There is an interesting article on LifeSiteNews this week about Belmont Abbey, a North Carolina Catholic college that’s been accused of sexual discrimination by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) because it refuses to provide insurance coverage for contraception for its employees. In other words, a Catholic college is being accused of discrimination for applying the teachings of the Catholic Church. Whatever happened to the separation of church and state? Thankfully, the college’s administration isn’t backing down. The article reports:

“As a Roman Catholic institution, Belmont Abbey College is not able to and will not offer nor subsidize medical services that contradict the clear teaching of the Catholic Church,” said Belmont Abbey President William Thierfelder. “There was no other course of action possible if we were to operate in fidelity to our mission and to our identity as a Catholic college.” After faculty members filed complaints with the EEOC and the North Carolina Department of Insurance, Belmont Abbey says the EEOC told the school in March 2009 that it would close the file on the discrimination charge, as it had not found the school’s decision in violation of its statutes. But the agency later reversed itself, and issued a determination letter to the school on August 5 affirming that the ban amounted to gender discrimination, because it pertains only to women. “By denying prescription contraception drugs, Respondent (the college) is discriminating based on gender because only females take oral prescription contraceptives,” wrote Reuben Daniels Jr., the EEOC Charlotte District Office Director in the determination. [emphasis added]

Aside from giving us a clear example of a government agency drastically overstepping its bounds, the comment from the EEOC official also provide us with a “teachable moment”. He noted that only women take oral contraceptives. This, of course, leads us to ask: Why is there no contraceptive pill for men? Dr. Janet Smith — one of the best pro-life speakers I’ve ever heard — gives the answer in her talk “Contraception: Why Not”:

There’s a wonderful book out by Dr. Ellen Grant called The Bitter Pill. She was very much in on distributing contraceptives in the 60’s in London, but she saw woman after woman coming in with different pathologies that she found were pill-related high blood pressure, blood clots, cysts in the breast, all sorts of things. So, she said, “I’m not going to prescribe these anymore.” She looked into this and she discovered, that when they were first testing for the pill, they were trying to find a male contraceptive and a female contraceptive pill. And in the first study group of males, they found that there was some slight shrinkage of the testicles of one male, so they stopped all testing of the male contraceptive pill. You might notice that there is no such thing in the first study group of females. Three females died and they just readjusted the dosage.

Let’s read that again:

And in the first study group of males, they found that there was some slight shrinkage of the testicles of one male, so they stopped all testing of the male contraceptive pill.

And this:

You might notice that there is no such thing in the first study group of females. Three females died and they just readjusted the dosage. [!]

Dr. Smith continues:

Now, I don’t know what that tells you, but it tells me that there’s something sinister going on here. Women are still dying from the pill. If you look at the insert in any set of pills, you can get this from a pharmacist if you can’t find it elsewhere, it says such things as the pill will cause blood clots, high blood pressure, heart disease, greater increase of some kinds of cancer, infertility. Now, these are very small percentages where this happens, but there are some sixteen million women in the United States on the pill. Sixteen million. And even a very small percentage is still a very large number of women. Not to mention the day by day side effects. These always fascinate me. Most women, in fact, 50% of women who start on the pill, stop within the first year because of unpleasant side effects. So, these side effects are really largely those of the sixteen million who continue, so you can imagine how bad they must be for the 50% who stop.

It’s not Belmont Abbey College that’s mistreating women. It’s the Pill.

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