Posts Tagged “Contraception”
In a statement released last Thursday, Georgetown’s Law Students for Reproductive Justice condemned President John DeGioia for his recent email confirming the unchanging health insurance policy on contraception. Members of LSRJ expressed deep disapproval of the decision, claiming that the university administration had an obligation to meet in person with the students before sending out the email.
“We sincerely hoped that the university would extend us the courtesy of responding to our pleas face-to-face, rather than issuing a blanket, campus-wide email on an issue that affects so many students. Instead, they simply chose not to engage in dialogue with us,” Kelly Percival, law student and co-president of LSRJ, said.
Sandra Fluke, law student and co-president of LSRJ, condemned the decision in the statement as well, mentioning how the health plan led to the loss of her friend’s ovary. DeGioia’s email was a response to a recent petition signed by 700 students and sent to the University demanding contraceptive coverage before the mandated 2013 date.
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In response to the recent petitions on contraceptive coverage on campus, President John J. DeGioia sent an email to the Georgetown community this morning. He stated that after careful consideration, the university opted to retain their current health insurance model, noting that there would be no changes in contraceptive coverage in 2013 as well. DeGioia cited the plan’s adherence to the school’s Catholic and Jesuit identity, in addition to their voluntary nature.
The most notable petition was signed last Thursday by over 700 students, including law student Sandra Fluke and Georgetown’s Law Students for Reproductive Justice. This action followed a similar petition from the Law Center’s faculty, in which 66 members of the law faculty expressed similar disdain over the university’s current healthcare plan.
The full text of the email is below:
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Friday March 2, Georgetown University President John DeGioia sent an email to the Georgetown community commending law student Sandra Fluke for her civil discourse about birth control and criticizing the media for the personal attacks against her. A few weeks ago, Fluke testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about the university’s student health insurance’s refusal to cover a fellow student’s birth control to manage her polycystic ovarian syndrome.
Since then, Fluke has been the object of personal attacks from pundits like Rush Limbaugh, who called her a slut for using birth control.
DeGioia’s message is below.
March 2, 2012
Dear Members of the Georgetown Community:
There is a legitimate question of public policy before our nation today. In the effort to address the problem of the nearly fifty million Americans who lack health insurance, our lawmakers enacted legislation that seeks to increase access to health care. In recent weeks, a question regarding the breadth of services that will be covered has focused significant public attention on the issue of contraceptive coverage. Many, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, have offered important perspectives on this issue.
In recent days, a law student of Georgetown, Sandra Fluke, offered her testimony regarding the proposed regulations by the Department of Health and Human Services before a group of members of Congress. She was respectful, sincere, and spoke with conviction. She provided a model of civil discourse. This expression of conscience was in the tradition of the deepest values we share as a people. One need not agree with her substantive position to support her right to respectful free expression. And yet, some of those who disagreed with her position – including Rush Limbaugh and commentators throughout the blogosphere and in various other media channels – responded with behavior that can only be described as misogynistic, vitriolic, and a misrepresentation of the position of our student.
In our vibrant and diverse society, there always are important differences that need to be debated, with strong and legitimate beliefs held on all sides of challenging issues. The greatest contribution of the American project is the recognition that together, we can rely on civil discourse to engage the tensions that characterize these difficult issues, and work towards resolutions that balance deeply held and different perspectives. We have learned through painful experience that we must respect one another and we acknowledge that the best way to confront our differences is through constructive public debate. At times, the exercise of one person’s freedom may conflict with another’s. As Americans, we accept that the only answer to our differences is further engagement.
In an earlier time, St. Augustine captured the sense of what is required in civil discourse: “Let us, on both sides, lay aside all arrogance. Let us not, on either side, claim that we have already discovered the truth. Let us seek it together as something which is known to neither of us. For then only may we seek it, lovingly and tranquilly, if there be no bold presumption that it is already discovered and possessed.”
If we, instead, allow coarseness, anger – even hatred – to stand for civil discourse in America, we violate the sacred trust that has been handed down through the generations beginning with our Founders. The values that hold us together as a people require nothing less than eternal vigilance. This is our moment to stand for the values of civility in our engagement with one another.
John J. DeGioia
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Last night, Georgetown’s Knights of Columbus held a symposium on “Religious Freedom and Healthcare.” The program included a set of conservative religious, political, and legal figures discussing the Obama administration’s recent decisions on the religious conscience exception to the requirement mandating contraception be included in health insurance policies, the intentions behind it, and the proper Catholic response to it.
The symposium’s cast included Timothy Shah of the Berkley Center’s Religious Freedom Project as the moderator of the discussion; Monsignor Charles Pope, pastor of Holy Comforter-St. Cyprian as well as the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.; Kellie Fiedorek, Staff Counsel for Americans United for Life; Thomas Peters, the prominent blogger of American Papist run through CatholicVoteAction.org, laid out the steps by which President Barack Obama “exploited” his power to pass the insurance mandate that would “force women to receive access to life-ending drugs”; and Scott Lloyd, Assistant Director of Public Policy for the Knights of Columbus, went over some of the legal details of the mandate.
Starting the night off with the Lord’s Prayer, the panel was observed by a group of roughly 25 people, including the Knights. Shah opened the discussion up for each member to speak briefly so that there would be time for questions and comments at the end. Peters, the American Papist, held nothing back in his criticism of the administration’s decisions:
Before we decide where to go from here, we must first stop to analyze what the Left did to get us here. The Obama administration has exploited it’s power, ignoring the constitution, by way of eight relatively easy steps. First, it has the power. Obamacare provided the federal government with power over the health insurance industry. Second, the power of the HHS mandate allowed Senator Mikulski to make sure insurance plans cover abortion drugs. Third, Obama brought in the experts. Not one of the sixteen members on the deciding committee was pro-life. Fourth, they ignored the media’s response. It was a sham. Fifth, the HHS was an edict and held no care for dissent. Sixth, the administration waited for backlash and gave a phony compromise in response. Seventh, they manipulated the media and claimed the religious right was leading a ‘war on contraception.’ Eighth, and perhaps most disappointingly, Obama exploited the Catholic supporters of the mandate and used them to his advantage.
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Members of Plan A Hoyas met with administrators on Tuesday to discuss Georgetown’s sexual health policies. Although they promised to meet with Plan A again, the Georgetown administrators who were present at the meeting do not seem to have committed to altering any University policies in response to pressure from the group.
Plan A members have not responded to several requests for comments about the meeting, but Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson described the meeting in an e-mail to Vox:
“We had a productive and frank conversation with the students, and we plan to meet with them again in the near future. I reiterated to them that as a Catholic and Jesuit university, we hold fast to our core values, and we remain committed to policies and approaches that reflect our identity.”
The University had agreed to this meeting following two high-profile GAAP weekend protests on Friday and Saturday where members of Plan A and other groups protested for student access to contraceptives on campus, changes to the University’s student insurance plan, and expanded space for dialogue about positions that the University considers antithetical to its Catholic identity.
The group netted especially strong coverage from their protest on Saturday, where three Plan A members chained themselves to the statue of Georgetown Founder John Carroll, which any number of outlets from the local NBC network to Feministing picked up.
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Posted by: Molly Redden in News, Vox Populi, tags: Condoms, Contraception, Feminism, Georgetown, H*yas for Choice, Heather Brock, John DeGioia, Marion Cory, Pro-Life, United Feminists
H*yas for Choice and United Feminists have partnered up in a new campaign that’s demanding substantial change in Georgetown’s reproductive rights policies. The latter being a University-recognized group, the new movement has the potential to endanger UF’s funding and legitimacy.
Through the campaign, called “Plan A: Hoyas for Reproductive Justice,” the coalition is making demands for access to material benefits, like contraceptives on campus and rape kits at the Georgetown University Hospital, greater free speech allowances for groups like H*yas for Choice, and “comprehensive health education.”
“These are really rational demands broadly supported by the Georgetown community,” Marion Cory (COL ’10), a board member of United Feminists, told Vox. “It boils down to basic rights, student safety, and student needs.”
Acknowledging that their campaign must adapt to the fact that its advocacy will take place on a Catholic campus, Cory explained that she felt confident their efforts could be successful because their demands were in fact in keeping with Jesuit ideals.
“We don’t see [this campaign] as overcoming Jesuit values, we see it more as asking for Georgetown to consider these issues in their true form, not just the narrows lens it uses now.” she said. “There are a lot of pieces to this issue, like social justice and providing for the health and safety of all people equally.”
She pointed to an open letter the two groups have already written to President John DeGioia on their coalitions’ blog, which she said used a lot of the University’s own language to speak to their demands:
“Issues related to reproductive justice disproportionately affect the lives of people in historically marginalized communities, such as women, people of color, and the economically disadvantaged– the very communities for which Georgetown professes to advocate.
“In addition, the approach Georgetown has taken with regard to discourse around these same issues has been anything but dialogue-promoting. Rather than allow students to openly engage with and discuss issues of choice, sexual health, and contraception, which undeniably shape the society we inhabit, university policies stifle and even prohibit this important exchange of ideas.”
After the jump, the full letter and what this may mean for UF’s Access to University Benefits.
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Trojan just released its annual Sexual Health Report Card for colleges and universities and once again Georgetown is near the bottom of the pack. This year we received a “GPA” of 2.13 and we’re ranked 121 out of 141 schools that participated, up three from last year.
The rankings measure the “access and availability of sexual health information and resources.” They are based on student opinion, health center policies, availability of contraceptives and STD testing, presence of advising and support resources.
Although Georgetown is lagging in the overall rankings, our standing improves when you look at how we’re doing compared to other religious schools. Of the 14 religiously affiliated colleges and universities that were ranked, Georgetown was the 4th highest ranked. We are also the high ranked Catholic school on the list.
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John Sweeney: Lovable labor leader, or enemy of Catholic doctrine?
Next Thursday, Georgetown will be giving an honorary Doctor of Law degree to AFL-CIO President John Sweeney for his dedication to fighting for better working conditions and human rights for workers. Sounds like some harmless, feel-good ceremony, right? Not to the Cardinal Newman Society.
The conservative Catholic organization which is “dedicated to renewing and strengthening Catholic identity at America’s 224 Catholic colleges and universities,” caught wind of our plans yesterday and called for Georgetown to rescind the honor.
Why the hubbub? The Cardinal Newman Society believes the AFL-CIO’s pro-gay marriage and pro-contraception stances are at odds with Catholic doctrine and should disqualify Sweeney from receiving an honorary degree from Georgetown:
“The Catholic bishops have made it abundantly clear that Catholic universities are not to publicly honor leading opponents of Catholic moral principles, said Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS). “We strongly urge Georgetown to uphold its Catholic mission and rescind the honor to John Sweeney.”
According to Georgetown’s Director of Media Relations, the University disagrees with CNS’s condemnation. In an email Pino writes:
This criticism is totally unwarranted. Georgetown University awards honorary degrees based on an individual’s distinguished accomplishments over the course of his or her career. Throughout his career, John Sweeney has championed the needs of working people, demonstrating his commitment to principles of Catholic social teaching such as social justice and social equality.
Read the rest of Pino’s response after the jump!
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Might as well get this party started by saying, it’s about time the government caved and let us have all the consequence-free unprotected sex we want (except for the danger of, y’know, AIDS ‘n stuff). The FDA’s decision on Thursday to permit over-the-counter sales of Plan B birth control to women (and men) over 18, while not actually meant for drunken promgoers who forgot the Trojans, has been a long time coming and makes sense no matter which side of the abortion debate you’re on. And for those worried about the promiscuous behavior angle, the price ($25-40 per dose) still makes wearing a raincoat to bed (and even shelling out a few extra bucks for the ‘extra-pleasure’ ones) worth it.
What’s likely to be disappointing, though, is Georgetown’s reaction. The school’s arcane opposition to contraceptives (as if that ever stopped your roommate from sending you to the couch six Saturdays in a row) and birth control should be a hint that the hospital pharmacy might be Plan N for finding this stuff, as in ‘Never gonna happen.’ Should these policies change? Absolutely. Will they? Don’t get your hopes up, especially not with a lot more noise out of students.
Posted by Mike Stewart, Features Editor
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