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Response to editorial on contraception

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Dear UNews Editorial Board,

I strongly disagree with your view, and SGA’s, that “SLU should increase access to contraception.” I respond in particular to your editorial in last week’s issue with that title.

By refusing to provide students with contraception for avoiding pregnancy, the University is not forcing “its students to adhere to Catholic doctrines.” On the contrary, this refusal is SLU living out its beliefs that anti-procreative contraception is wrong. Just as a person who believes that stealing is wrong will not steal, an institution that holds this same belief will not equip others to steal. This is different from dining places at SLU that serve meat on Fridays in Lent despite the mandate that Catholics abstain from meat on these days. This meat abstinence mandate is a customary penitential requirement for Christians whereas the Church’s ban on anti-procreative contraceptives is based on her understanding of universal morality.

The Church does not teach that Catholics should not use anti-procreative contraception. Rather, she teaches any form of contraception that is used to purposely make sex infertile is immoral for all people, in all places, at all times. Such contraceptives, the Church believes, are contrary to both the divine law and the natural law.

You argue in your editorial that SLU’s “main role in the lives of students is not to influence their private affairs” and that “the United States is becoming increasingly secular, [so] the University should adapt to this changing reality.” I strongly disagree. Education, especially a Jesuit education, should influence all aspects of our lives: public, professional and private. The best education will leave students thoroughly altered and improved in all aspects of their lives. SLU should aim to do this for its students.

Additionally, SLU should not accept the reality that society is becoming more secular. In fact, SLU should combat this reality. As a Jesuit and Catholic institution, SLU should mourn at the secularization of society and seize every opportunity to reverse it.

This issue of demands for unlimited access to contraception at SLU (and possibly the other Jesuit universities mentioned) points to a deeper and, in my opinion, more concerning issue: these demands arise among students who have never been told at SLU why the Catholic Church teaches that sex is only for a sacramental union between a man and a woman or why the Church opposes anti-procreative contraception. I know this because the conversation about these topics at SLU hardly exists for anyone. I believe that this is the bigger issue, that this is a far more concerning social justice issue that our Jesuit institution should align itself with. I believe that SLU should embrace this opportunity to defend the Church’s teaching on the beauty of sex and procreation, and to empower women and men to know and respect the intricacies of the female reproductive system in such a way that upholds the dignity of the bodies of women and men.

Sincerely,

Betsy Daly

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Response to editorial on contraception