Today's SBP reports that clinical trials for cancer patients are being held back at some Dublin hospitals over the requirement that the women undergoing treatment use birth control.

Things like this make me so angry. More than that, they make me wonder what kind of backwater, 12th century country I'm living in where the extreme religious views of a few can place the lives of sick women at risk. If you don't believe in contraception, fine, you don't have to use it yourself. But if you're going to host medical research you have to abide by medical standards and one of those standards is that women of childbearing age use birth control while undergoing experimental treatment.

I admit that I'm nobody's idea of a good Catholic, but I'm pretty sure that the God I was raised with would give women a pass to use birth control under these circumstances (if he really cares about it at all, which I doubt). The Catholic God isn't supposed to be some kind of Puritan Sadist God who goes around forcing women to choose between cancer and thalidomide babies.

I know there was a time when Ireland was much worse for things like this, but I'd have hoped we'd moved on by now!

2 comments:

Elon-beth-hanan said...

Just saw this in the 'religion' category of Irish Blogs, so my humble apologies for a late reply.

My view on this matter is that the women who oppose contraception shouldn't be denied cancer treatment specifically for their religious beliefs. If they don't want to use birth control, why should they be forced to? Nobody should be forced to use birth control and it should not be a requirement for cancer treatment. Indeed many of these hospitals are actually owned by religious organizations and the church has a majority on some/most hospital boards. For the Catholic Church to approve contraception would be to openly declare war against God. To use medication in order to prevent humans beings coming into existence is selfish and ignores the purpose and design of human beings. God commanded both Adam and Eve and Noah's family(after the flood) that they were to be fruitful and multiply and to replenish the earth. God takes great pain in sin as it seperates Himself from mankind. Indeed we should be quite greatful that our first parents(Adam and Eve) weren't liberals nor 'progressives'. Most of the protestant churches were against contraception up until the Lambeth conference in the twenties. In many protesant churches birth control is actively encouraged, and many protestant churches don't even condemn homosexuality(some even promote it-witness the Anglican church in England). God will put to (spiritual) death a man who uses contraception, as it is a mortal sin. Anyone who uses contraception and does not repent to a priest in communion with the holy apostolic catholic church will be damned for eternity in Hell. Just like God killed Onan for his use of contraception, so He will mankind if they persist in sexual immorality. Martin Luther, who I'm not a big fan of, agreed with the traditional Christian understanding of birth control. He wrote "The exceedingly foul deed of Onan, the basest of wretches . . . is a most disgraceful sin. It is far more atrocious than incest and adultery. We call it unchastity, yes, a sodomitic sin. For Onan goes in to her; that is, he lies with her and copulates, and when it comes to the point of insemination, spills the semen, lest the woman conceive. Surely at such a time the order of nature established by God in procreation should be followed. Accordingly, it was a most disgraceful crime. . . . Consequently, he deserved to be killed by God. He committed an evil deed. Therefore, God punished him."
John Calvin said, "The voluntary spilling of semen outside of intercourse between man and woman is a monstrous thing. Deliberately to withdraw from coitus in order that semen may fall on the ground is doubly monstrous. For this is to extinguish the hope of the race and to kill before he is born the hoped-for offspring."

John Wesley warned, "Those sins that dishonor the body are very displeasing to God, and the evidence of vile affections. Observe, the thing which he [Onan] did displeased the Lord—and it is to be feared; thousands, especially of single persons, by this very thing, still displease the Lord, and destroy their own souls."

The Catholic Church agrees with these "reformers" and all faithful Catholics will rather follow her teachings and let themselves die from cancer(if they were forced to choose between their lives and God's commands). It is because of Eve's sin that mankind is in it's current depraved state. Christ said to His apostles that His faithful followers would be persecuted for their beliefs. Today we see Christian unions being closed down due to the fact that they don't agree with homosexuality. They're called 'homophobic' for upholding the Christian faith. Truly the world is in for condemnation.

In Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI stated, "[W]e must once again declare that the direct interruption of the generative process already begun, and, above all, directly willed and procured abortion, even if for therapeutic reasons, are to be absolutely excluded as licit means of regulating birth. Equally to be excluded, as the teaching authority of the Church has frequently declared, is direct sterilization, whether perpetual or temporary, whether of the man or of the woman. Similarly excluded is every action which, either in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible" (HV 14).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: "Every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible is intrinsically evil" (CCC 2370). "Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means . . . for example, direct sterilization or contraception" (CCC 2399).
The Church also says this doctrine is infallible: "The Church has always taught the intrinsic evil of contraception, that is, of every marital act intentionally rendered unfruitful. This teaching is to be held as definitive and irreformable. Contraception is gravely opposed to marital chastity, it is contrary to the good of the transmission of life (the procreative aspect of matrimony), and to the reciprocal self-giving of the spouses (the unitive aspect of matrimony); it harms true love and denies the sovereign role of God in the transmission of human life" (Vademecum for Confessors 2:4, Feb. 12, 1997).

Wednesday said...

I'm not aware of any reports that women who didn't want to use birth control were told they would have to. The issue here is that the hospital refused to allow the trials to proceed at all, for anyone.

That said, these are experimental drugs. It's a clinical trial, not "cancer treatment". And no one has an absolute right to participate in a clinical trial. It is entirely normal practice for those who administer these trials to pick and choose who can participate, based upon a number of factors. Given the lack of knowledge of the effect of the medication on the foetus, it would be highly irresponsible to take a laissez-faire attitude to the possibility of a woman becoming pregnant while participating in the trial. That's something pretty much the entire medical and scientific establishment agrees on, although judging from the rest of your post I get the feeling you're probably the sort of person who doesn't have much time for scientific reality anyway.

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