Calgary Herald

Sex also for fun


Re: “Pill isn’t health care,” Letter, July 3.

Bishop Fred Henry criticizes Naomi Lakritz’s contention that Alberta doctors should not make medical decisions on religious grounds. There are a few problems with Henry’s position.

First, the good bishop says that in certain cases, the use of contracept­ive medicine is “morally permissibl­e” under the principle of “double effect.” Whether Aquinas, Duns Scotus and other natural law philosophe­rs of the Middle Ages agree with the pill or not is irrelevant. When I go to the doctor, I don’t want to see a priest, and Alberta women should hope that science, not Catholic philosophy, informs their medical treatment.

Second, Henry asks whether the pill is an abortifaci­ent. Really? If something prevents pregnancy, it would seem to preclude the possibilit­y of pregnancy.

Third, Henry cherry-picks his data regarding the pill’s safety. Any medication has side-effects; the essential question is “do the benefits outweigh the sideeffect­s?” Research is unanimous: the pill is safe and well worth its relatively minor side-effects. Indeed, there is a much greater chance of long-term negative side-effects from childbirth than from use of the pill.

Finally, Henry narrowly equates women’s sexual health as having a “smoothly functionin­g” reproducti­ve system. Perhaps Alberta women are more imaginativ­e than Henry’s Catholic Church seems to be. Sex, after all, is not just for reproducti­on, but for expressing emotion, for bonding and — gasp — for fun.

Chris Stolz, Calgary

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