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Give me birth control or give me death: A Hoya woman’s plight
Did you know that we are living among fornicators? With no regard for the Lord’s wrath, Georgetown students are doing the dirty on the daily. Even some of those harmless-looking, be-lanyarded freshmen are lusting after each other in the bowels of Darnall. They might be thinking to themselves, “Wouldn’t it be nice if Georgetown supplied us with prophylactics?” Or, “I wonder what my birth control options are.”
Most likely, those sinners just want to get laid. They will buy condoms off campus. They will purchase the morning-after pill on their parents’ insurance. And another class of students will be unaffected by Georgetown’s quaint inability to move into the modern age. Georgetown, with your cobblestone streets, your beautiful buildings, and your rejection of the Common App, usually your idiosyncrasies are cute. But if my history requirement served me well, sometimes Catholic institutions need to be nudged onto the correct course. I am a Hoya, and I am asking you to stop embarrassing us.
When I entered the Student Health Center last fall, I did not ask for a birth control prescription. I already had a birth control prescription. I needed a check up, but after inquiring about my medical history, the nurse practitioner volunteered to give me one.
“You get cramps, right?” she inquired.
“No, I don’t.”
“Yes, you do.”
“No, I really don’t,” I responded again, confused.
She sighed, “I have to write something down.”
Something about a medical professional forging my medical history to circumnavigate the rules of a religion not my own didn’t feel quite right. This little story also proves Georgetown’s decision not to cover birth control in its insurance policy is about as effective as a pro-life protester screaming in my face—visible, but very easy to walk around.
I’m not interested in abstinence. I’m not interested in marriage. I am a 20-year-old college student interested in the process of development and the Chinese language. I attend classes in the School of Foreign Service, learning about the sorry state of women’s rights all over the world, while my own school sends the message that we should be using the “Keep Your Legs Shut, Slut!” method of birth control—which doesn’t have a high success rate (see: 16 and Pregnant).
On a campus of affluent, resourceful students, it’s unclear whom this policy actually affects. Not the students covered on their parents’ insurance. Not the students who can afford to pay full price for contraceptives. As such, Georgetown is forcing its beliefs on the only people it can: less affluent young women. The Catholic Church is not known for championing women’s rights, but for an American university to pass bigotry off as religion in the 21st century is a far worse offense.
Georgetown pays professors to teach subject matter beyond the official doctrines of the Catholic Church. Georgetown provides support to non-Catholic religious clubs. Why, then, can’t Georgetown give equal University support to a pro-choice club?
There are religious freedoms, and then there are our freedoms. Georgetown’s puritanical refusal to provide us with proper access to contraceptive methods is a violation of our right to adequate health care. I think it’s time Georgetown came to terms with reality, and I bet many of my fellow Hoyas do, too.
If consuming illegal substances is part of your religion, you don’t get a get-out-of-jail-free card when police find it in your pockets. Religious institutions don’t get to rewrite the law. Abortions and birth control are legal, and Georgetown has no right to tell us they aren’t.
If Georgetown wants to ask me for donations after I graduate, it will need to start providing coverage for the procedures that serve basic reproductive rights. It needs to relieve young women of the financial burden of paying out-of-pocket for birth control (after all, it’s cheaper than prenatal care). Let H*yas for Choice drop the asterisk, and give them the funding accorded other legitimate student organizations. Let the Corp sell condoms. After that, I would be honored to give back to the school that taught me to stand up for my beliefs in the first place.