The FDA decision to make the ‘Morning After” pill available over the counter to all women – and girls over the age of 15 – is troubling to Catholics. Actually, considering the lack of research on potential health consequences of this abortifacient, this should be troubling to any rational person. That has not stopped professors of schools of pharmacy from championing this decision. Unfortunately, one of the professors trumpeting this as a triumph for ‘women’s health’ is a faculty member of the School of Pharmacy at the University of Saint Joseph in Connecticut.
Professor Maria Summa, a professor of pharmacy, endorsed this drug, saying that there were no harmful side effects…and then stated that it should not be used on a regular basis. She then went on to endorse other forms of contraception. I don’t often side with this administration, but the Justice Department filed an appeal on the judge’s ruling. Oddly, this is not only circumventing the FDA and Kathleen Sibelius it is also acting contrary to the endorsement of the president. Not surprisingly, the president who blithely asserted he didn’t ever want his daughters to be ‘punished with a baby’ is a big fan of a drug that essentially is a massive infusion of hormones that shock an egg (fertilized or not) into oblivion. And if you are a Catholic – like Ms. Sibelius claims to be – you believe as an article of faith that life begins at the very instant of conception. When a sperm and egg meet in the womb, a new life has begun. Plan B prevents that child from attaching to the uterus. For Catholics, this is nothing more than a miscarriage – and a miscarriage that is purposely created is properly referred to as an abortion. Interestingly enough, drugs.com’s entry on this drug warns that a woman shouldn’t take this if she is already pregnant as it will not dislodge an embryo from the uterine wall. They neglect to share what side effects might result for the mother or the child.
Plan B creates a problem not solely for religious reasons but for health reasons. This is yet another example of the real perpetrator of the war on women – the liberal humanist. There is absolutely no conclusive evidence to suggest that this massive amount of levonorgestrel has no harmful effects on a child – and if you think a 15 year old girl is anything but a child, I pray for you and for any children that you have access to on a regular basis. Even sites like webmd and drugs.com have a lengthy list of warnings and precautions. In fact, the drugs.com entry includes a particularly sobering warning.
Call your doctor right away if you vomit within 1 hour after taking either dose of Plan B. Do not take another dose until you talk with your doctor.
You should be examined by your doctor within 3 weeks after taking Plan B. The doctor will need to confirm that you are not pregnant and that this medication has not caused any harmful effects.
In states like Connecticut, I assume that a 15 year old girl can go to Planned Parenthood and get that examination. I am quite sure that PP would be more than happy to ‘assist’ the mother of an unborn child if the pills failed to perform their task. In other states, girls will have to wait and see or rely on home pregnancy tests.
Let’s look at the incidental side effects. Sexually transmitted infections (SDI) are on the rise. As are incidences of HIV. A visit to the CDC site reveals some disturbing data about youth sexual activity in 2011.
- 47% of high school age respondents reported being sexually active and 15% of all respondents reported having 4 or more sexual partners. This is high school, people.
- Of the 40 states who report this data to the CDC, there were 8,300 people from the age 14-24 who were infected with HIV through sexual intercourse.
- Nearly half of the 19 million people infected by sexually transmitted diseases were in the 14-24 age group as well.
Professor Summa’s position is buttressed by the Center for Reproductive ‘Rights’.
We are deeply disappointed that just days after President Obama proclaimed his commitment to women’s reproductive rights, his administration has decided once again to deprive women their right to obtain emergency contraception without unjustified and burdensome restrictions…
This statement from Nancy Northup, president and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights demonstrates how far certain organizations want to take society. It seems that 15 is setting the bar too high for the Center of Reproductive Rights – they think that any girl should be able to get this drug. Perhaps we can put it in the candy aisle, next to the bubble gum and sour patch gummy worms, Ms. Northup. Girls menstruate as young as 11 and 12 these days, which means that they have the potential to become pregnant. Groups like the CRR seem to advocate for sexual activity and ‘protection’ against unwanted pregnancies for children. A lot of pedophiles will be huge fans of this position. Frankly, I can see them being the primary purchasers of Plan B.
Ms. Northup’s statement is less distressing – the CRR is not an institute of higher learning purporting to be a Catholic university. And this is the crux of the matter. Let’s dispense with the possibility that this drug can have serious physical effects on a child who is maturing. Let’s ignore the fact that the massive dose of hormones will most certainly influence the development of a girl maturing into a woman. Let’s ignore the fact that despite the warnings, girls who are sexually active will certainly use this medication on a regular basis, especially considering the fact that the CDC indicates that sexually active high school children have unprotected sex about 40% of the time. Let’s ignore that this medication, if not taken correctly, could result in a girl becoming pregnant – and we have no clear idea how this drug will effect the child. Let’s ignore that Planned Parenthood will eagerly offer pregnancy testing and abortions – in fact, this drug will likely be a financial windfall for them. Let’s take every perfectly valid reason that I have just listed, to oppose this drug’s availability on demand for children as young as 15 (and likely younger ones will have access to it).
A professor at a Catholic University endorses this drug. A drug that will be taken by children. A drug that increases their chance for sexually transmitted disease, for the likelihood of abortion, for increased business for Planned Parenthood. A drug that will give men who prey on adolescent girls another tool to prevent evidence of their crimes against children from manifesting.
The Citizen spent two days trying to speak with someone at the University of Saint Joseph. I actually spent about 45 minutes on hold – this is a tactic that is used to avoid dealing with people that are inconvenient. A very nice lady from the Office of the President offered to pass a message to the Office of Communications – it seemed that at 2:00 in the afternoon, there was no one who could answer my questions. Saint Joseph missed the deadline that I imposed for a response, so I have to report that they were unwilling to indicate if they adhered to Catholic teachings as laid out in Ex Corde Ecclesiae.
Can. 807 The Church has the right to erect and direct universities, which contribute to a more profound human culture, the fuller development of the human person, and the fulfillment of the teaching function of the Church.
Can. 810 §1. The authority competent according to the statutes has the duty to make provision so that teachers are appointed in Catholic universities who besides their scientific and pedagogical qualifications are outstanding in integrity of doctrine and probity of life and that they are removed from their function when they lack these requirements; the manner of proceeding defined in the statutes is to be observed.
Canon 807 has a clear injunction for Catholic colleges to be extensions of the ‘teaching function of the Church’ as well as to contribute to a human culture. For Catholics, a human culture is the culture of life – all life, born and unborn.
Canon 810 charges Catholic colleges and universities to not only possess superior scientific and pedagogical qualifications but to possess characteristics that respect the ‘probity of life.’ This means that not only should students in a Catholic institute of higher learning have teachers who are well-versed in the art of teaching and experts in their field, they must also exhibit the integrity and respect for life as taught by Holy Mother Church. I am not sure about her teaching ability or her scientific acumen, but Professor Summa seems to have dropped the ball on the appropriate regulations as explained by Catholic Canon.
Perhaps this shouldn’t be too surprising. The sitting president of the University, Patricia Trotman Reid, endorsed the candidacy of Mr. Obama in 2008 in an article published in the Hartford Courant with the following statement:
And the next president is likely going to make appointments to the Supreme Court. That could affect the right of women to make choices about their own health. These are issues of incredible importance.
Making ‘choices about their own health’ in reference to women is invariably referring to abortion. In 2011, Ms. Trotman Reid, in an event co-sponsored by the University, Planned Parenthood, and other groups, accepted an award from the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Defense Fund. This group has devoted most of its resources over the years to fighting to expand abortion.
Even the University’s core statement concerning it’s Catholic identity is conveniently vague.
Catholic Identity: University of Saint Joseph is grounded in its heritage as a Catholic institution, expressing the Catholic tradition in an ecumenical and critical manner.
When the Citizen attempts to reach someone and gets no cooperation, I have nothing to go on but my research and the available evidence. To me, ‘heritage’ is a term that indicates that they like using the name but aren’t terribly interested in holding themselves to the expectations of a Catholic institution of higher learning.
An attempt to contact the Sisters of Mercy, the order that the university is affiliated with, resulted in an invitation to leave a message on voice mail. As of the time of posting, my call has not been returned.
Ms. Summa is not the disease, she is a symptom of the moral and intellectual decay that permeates so many of the colleges and universities that were founded by dioceses and orders. Schools created to provide higher education for Catholics in a time when such education was not readily available for Catholic children.
The Citizen would urge parents seeking to provide their daughters a quality Catholic education look elsewhere. There are many excellent colleges and universities that do follow the mandatum and have agreed to Ex Corde Ecclesiae. To assist parents and young people seeking a Catholic collegiate education, the Citizen has included a link to the National Catholic Register’s 2012 College Guide. Not surprisingly, the University of Saint Joseph seems to have missed the cut.
While performing maintenance the Citizen noticed that the University of Saint Joseph might not return phone calls or speak to me, but they will check out the site.
I hope you learned something. The Citizen is a professional educator and public speaker who would be more than willing to address your faculty on Catholic issues and higher education. Feel free to contact me using the provided form, Saint Joe’s!