The Corner

Out Damned Cyst Myth

BuzzFeed and Glenn Beck’s The Blaze pick up on the issue of the medical use of pills used for contraception. From BuzzFeed: 

Fluke went on to recount the story of her friend who, dogged by stubborn university bureaucracy and skeptical insurance representatives, was ultimately denied coverage, and stopped taking the contraceptive medication she had been prescribed. This led to her hospitalization and serious health consequences.

It’s a tragic story, but one—it’s worth noting—that might not have taken place if Georgetown had followed the policies it had in place.

On his show Monday, Limbaugh wondered aloud about the details of the policy: “And let’s be clear on something else. I haven’t called Georgetown to see if they pay for birth control pills when being used to treat [Fluke’s friend’s] medical conditions. I have no idea if they do or don’t.”

Indeed, Fluke’s own testimony—and the summary of the school’s health care plan online—would seem to suggest that they are supposed to.

The birth control debate has slipped far from that kind of technical dispute, and has been consumed by inflammatory rhetoric and the big ideas of religious liberty and reproductive rights. The detail, though, reflects both the Church’s attempt at nuance as well as its own informal, unstated compromises on the issue.

It’s actually stated, though. As I noted earlier, Bishop Lori talked about it in front of a congressional committee. And the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops puts it this way: 

53. Direct sterilization of either men or women, whether permanent or temporary, is not permitted in a Catholic health care institution. Procedures that induce sterility are permitted when their direct effect is the cure or alleviation of a present and serious pathology and a simpler treatment is not available. 


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