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Discrimination?

— Posted by John (August 11, 2009 at 3:02 pm)

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.

This entry is filed under Contraception, Health Issues, Law & Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

8 Comments on “Discrimination?”

Please Note: Visitor comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Generations for Life or our parent organization, the Pro-Life Action League.

  1. Hullo Kitty says:

    i love dr.janet smith’s commentary…so very true. this push for birth control is ridiculous

    Comment posted August 11th, 2009 at 7:26 pm
  2. Kevin says:

    It’s interesting that you bring up separation of church and state, since to me, that is the biggest issue here. Belmont Abbey College is not a Catholic employer under the law. Most of their faculty and staff are non-Catholic. They receive Federal Pell Grants and state financial aid. Considering these two facts, Belmont Abbey College does not really qualify for religious exemption.

    And that’s not the only conflict of interest. Belmont Abbey College’s own newspaper pointed out in one article that the college benefits from the sale of contraceptives on its own land, which it leases to companies like Wal-Mart and Rite-Aid.

    Here is a pdf of that issue, from the newspaper’s site. The article in question is on the front page:
    http://crusader.bac.edu/english/crusader/print/APR08.pdf

    In addition to all that, there are other medical reasons for women to use oral contraceptives besides birth control. Should the college remove other types of prescription drugs from its coverage just because an overdose of one or more of them could be used to commit suicide, which is also immoral in the eyes of the church?

    Comment posted August 12th, 2009 at 8:44 am
  3. Kara says:

    Thanks for writing this post. That’s good Belmont Abbey is standing up for Catholic principles. I’m actually interested in attending Belmont Abbey, so I’m glad to hear they don’t want to compromise easily with our culture.

    Everything you pointed out about the pill is good too. It isn’t right that most people ignore that it can potentially kill or cause long-term health problems.

    Comment posted August 12th, 2009 at 1:41 pm
  4. Kevin says:

    Would someone please provide a link pointing to some research supporting the claim that oral contraceptives pose a significant health risk? Everything I have ever read is to the contrary. In fact, most of what I have read says there is evidence that taking oral contraceptives actually reduces the risk of certain types of cancer, and the risk of breast cancer is only minimally increased. The risk of breast cancer is reduced after one stops taking the pill, and eventually all risk that may have been caused by the pill is reduced to 0 (other factors increasing the risk of breast cancer may still exist even after one stops taking the pill, obviously).

    Two of several sources I have found:

    http://www.womhealth.org.au/healthjourney/pill_myths_misconceptions.htm

    http://www.healthnews.uc.edu/news/?/883/

    Comment posted August 12th, 2009 at 5:22 pm
  5. Ava says:

    Other than hearing of limited washrooms in one of the ladies dorms, I’ve only heard good things about BAC. I’m glad they’re taking such a stand for life and the teachings of the magisterium!

    Comment posted August 12th, 2009 at 10:43 pm
  6. John says:

    Kevin wrote: Would someone please provide a link pointing to some research supporting the claim that oral contraceptives pose a significant health risk? Everything I have ever read is to the contrary. In fact, most of what I have read says there is evidence that taking oral contraceptives actually reduces the risk of certain types of cancer, and the risk of breast cancer is only minimally increased.

    Kevin—

    The Breast Cancer Prevention Institute has some good information here. Note especially where it points out that while it is true, as you point out, that the Pill does decrease risk of ovarian and endometrial and ovarian cancer, it’s also true that among women who have cancer, there are far fewer women with either endometrial or ovarian cancer than there are women with breast cancer.

    Also, this study from the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings suggests the risk of breast cancer posed by the Pill is more than just minimal.

    Comment posted August 13th, 2009 at 9:21 am
  7. Kevin says:

    Thank you for the links, John. I see the connection between oral contraceptives and breast cancer is something to be concerned about.

    Comment posted August 13th, 2009 at 4:09 pm
  8. Bill says:

    I think Kevin has it right. Belmont Abbey cannot be considered a religious employer under the law. Back in the ’70s, Belmont Abbey College argued to the US Supreme Court that they were not, in fact, a religious institution so as to protect their ability to receive state and federal funding.

    Also, NC law does not permit even religious employers to exclude birth control pills from prescription drug plans if they are being prescribed for medical purposes besides birth control.

    All medicines have risks. Pregnancy carries far greater risk of physical harm than any birth control pills that the FDA has permitted.

    Comment posted October 7th, 2009 at 9:24 pm