Sunday, January 29, 2012

The screened out questions for Archbishop Dolan

Law students wrote these and other questions on the cards provided for Q & A after Archbishop Dolan's speech at Fordham, but the moderator announced they wouldn't be taking any "pointed questions" and screened them out.

Questions for Archbishop Dolan
Should Catholic lobbying groups focus on changing behavior primarily through evangelism or by seeking to compel changes through the force of the law?
You have been a vocal opponent of mandatory insurance coverage for contraception.  If oral contraceptives used to treat medical conditions should be permitted, what process should HHS implement to determine the truthfulness of a woman’s description of her symptoms?  Also, what conditions and of what severity would justify affordable treatment?   Would this determination be made by a doctor or by a person with particular theological credentials?
Do you believe organizations run by Jehovah’s witnesses should be exempt from insurance regulations mandating coverage of blood transfusions?
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which you lead, condemned a book by Fordham theologian Sister Elizabeth Johnson and said it should not be used on Catholic campuses.  Do you believe Catholic Universities are obligated to follow this directive?  Do you believe the pronouncement is problematic for academic freedom at Catholic institutions?
Your predecessor Cardinal Egan criticized Fordham Law for giving an award to Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer because of Justice Breyer’s jurisprudence regarding abortion.  Cardinal Egan expressed his confidence that a “mistake of this sort” would not happen again.  You made statements to the media suggesting you should have been consulted prior to Fordham University giving an honorary degree to Mayor Bloomberg and Fordham Law hosting Senator Schumer as a graduation speaker.  You also criticized Notre Dame for inviting President Obama to speak at its graduation.  Do you believe Catholic Universities should not host individuals who take positions contrary to the Church?  Or employ them? And if so would this apply to all Catholic teachings, thus barring a Republican president who supported the death penalty or welfare caps?
After Catholic hospital administrator Sister Margaret McBride approved an abortion she believed was necessary to save the life of a patient, her bishop made statements explaining she had incurred an automatic excommunication.  A medical provider in Sister McBride’s position might face the further danger of losing his or her job after making such a decision.  In many states, medical providers who refuse to provide a life saving abortion due to their religious beliefs are protected from liability for the death of the patient and from being fired.  Should medical providers who make a decision like Sister McBride did also be protected? 
Banning abortion in the U.S. would entail using the force of the law to make a woman who does not wish to remain pregnant continue her pregnancy.  As a legal matter, if abortion were criminalized, should a woman known to be determined to end her pregnancy be incarcerated or restrained?
You lobbied against New York’s law granting marriage rights to same sex couples, and have rejected accusations that activism against gay marriage, which you have called an “ominous threat”, amounts to bigotry.  Is your opposition to the government recognizing relationships that the Church would not a matter of Constitutional interpretation or Catholic doctrine?
Do you believe the separation of church and state protects religious freedom? 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Archbishop Dolan comes to Fordham Law

Dolan Slams New Birth Control Policy At Fordham Event -

Dolan's speech at Fordham attacked a so-called culture of death, of abortion and delayed parenthood.

Some in the audience felt his question and answer session avoided uncomfortable subjects.

Student Bridgette Dunlap said some wanted to ask about abortion and same-sex marriage.

"I think it dishonors our law school to say we're going to have an event where we won't take any pointed questions,” said Dunlap.

Fordham said it had nothing to do with the Q&A—that was the job of the question-taker, who declined to speak on camera.

Here's one example of a question apparently too "pointed" for discussion:

You quoted Dr. Martin Luther King at length. Dr. King was a strong supporter of access to contraception and once accepted an award from Planned Parenthood. Do you believe he was promoting the "culture of death" or is birth control something about which reasonable minds can differ?

We'll post the list of prepared questions we submitted later. If you asked a question that was screened out, email it to LSRJ.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

We got a website update!

We were disappointed to return from winter break and find the health center website had not been updated as promised.  However, today, we sought permission for the press to visit with us on campus and a few hours later the website was updated!  The updates contain some typos and inaccuracies suggesting the amendments may have been made in haste, but we will take what we can get! (for now)

A favorite revision is below.  We know what Q & A in the FAQs stand for.  But can someone help us with what "B" means?  What ever "B" signifies, the answer is quite defensive and evasive, not to mention a strange response to a seemingly innocuous question:

Q. Can I schedule a routine gynecological exam?A. Yes, you can schedule a women's health exam at the Health Center. Our experienced Nurse Practitioners will perform the exam, send lab work and offer counseling to you where appropriate. Remember, Fordham University is a Catholic and Jesuit University. As such, the physicians, nurse practitioners, and staff of the Health Center abide by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.  Those interested in these directives can read them, (You will leave this website.)

B. As an independent Catholic, Jesuit University, Fordham University is not, and cannot be neutral on moral questions such as abortion and contraceptive devices. The teachings of the Catholic Church on these issues have been clear and consistent. When issues arise that might not coincide with the University's position on these topics, we recognize the importance of upholding the principles of free expression and open inquiry. At the same time, the University has the equally important responsibility of maintaining a clear focus on its identity as an institution in the Catholic tradition, and the principles and values that serve as the foundation of that identity. We explain our policies to our students, with support and always without judgment. Health education is offered on sexual issues and practitioners are available to clarify concerns and misunderstandings. Referrals are made to the Counseling Center and other agencies in agreement with the University's philosophy. We also make referrals to facilities for confirmation of pregnancies but advise that the referrals are for medical confirmation only and not for treatments that would be contrary to the teachings of the church.
The University will explain its policies without judgment--but it cannot be neutral regarding the evil of contraception!!!

Also, why do medical professionals need to refer us out for "confirmation of pregnancies"?  Aren't health center staff qualified to diagnose pregnancy themselves?  Our cohort from ForhamHEALS suggested staff must be referring students to CVS or Rite Aid.