Students need to hear about health risks of contraceptives: Project Rachel founder

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July 23, 2015 (CardinalNewmanSociety) — All Catholic colleges should be teaching students about the scientifically documented dangers of birth control, in addition to Catholic teaching against it, argued Vicki Thorn, founder of Project Rachel and organizer of an upcoming symposium set to discuss the biological case for avoiding contraception.

In an interview with The Cardinal Newman Society, Thorn explained that events such as these should set the pace for Catholic colleges to help students and young people understand the health risks of taking oral contraceptives.

The symposium, “Contraceptive Conundrum: Effects and Side Effects”, will be held August 8th, in conjunction with the Edmund D. Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Topics of discussion will include the brain’s relationship with hormones, oral contraceptives’ adverse effects on the unborn, and contraception’s impact on partner selection and relationship satisfaction.

“The more you learn about the biological processes, the more you see that what the Church has taught about sex is right,” said Thorn. The symposium is “about opening the door to the research that’s out there,” Thorn explained. “Women have been poorly informed. We’re told that the pill is wonderful and fixes everything, but there are real physical consequences to these chemicals.”

Thorn told the Society that her motivation for getting involved was the untimely death of one of her daughter’s friends, who suffered from fatal blood clots as a result of contraceptive use. “The pill ages a woman’s ovum, causes nutritional deficiencies, hormonal changes, increased cancer risk, strokes and blood clots,” said Thorn. “Women and men have a right to know this.”

Catholic colleges, she argued, need to put these facts, as well as Catholic teaching, in front of students. “We need to engage our young people and our students with this understanding of biology and couple it with theology,” Thorn urged.

“We live in a society where sex has become a recreational activity. We’ve become disembodied,” said Thorn. Moreover, “young people may struggle to embrace the moral teachings on contraception and the theology of the body if they’re coming from a broken sexual past,” she warned.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches the following about contraception:

[T]he innate language that expresses the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife is overlaid, through contraception, by an objectively contradictory language, namely, that of not giving oneself totally to the other. This leads not only to a positive refusal to be open to life but also to a falsification of the inner truth of conjugal love, which is called upon to give itself in personal totality.

Thorn encouraged Catholic colleges to invite couples who are living a faithful, contraception-free marriage to come to campuses to discuss these issues and “to honestly reflect on what it means to be married” and to explain the sacramental nature of marriage as “a triune relationship with God.”

Thorn noted that young people often appear “so competent, but there may be a semi-truck full of wounds in their soul.” It is a Catholic college’s responsibility to “recognize those wounds, give them permission to talk about them and give young people the possibility of an ideal—of a committed marriage that is fruitful, wherein children are a gift.”

These are messages that “are not out there” in the mainstream college world, said Thorn.

Reprinted with permission from The Cardinal Newman Society

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