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Moral decisions

To the Editor: I was dismayed by Lisa Parsley's rather arrogant diatribe ("Bad medicine at Catholic centers," The Daily Pennsylvanian, 10/5/00) inspired by a recent study found which argues Catholic hospitals refuse to broach the topic of "contraception" to rape victims. While the issues raised by religious and secular hospital mergers are worth continued investigation, there is no excuse for the intolerant and sensationalist language Parsley employs. The author glosses over a few important facts in her quest to impose her variant of morality on individuals of good conscience. The "emergency contraception" for rape victims, which the author champions, often acts as an abortifacient. According to the FDA, it "act[s] by delaying or inhibiting ovulation, and/or altering tubal transport of sperm and/or ova (thereby inhibiting fertilization), and/or altering the endometrium (thereby inhibiting implantation)." Thus, by preventing the implantation of a now viable embryo, a Catholic hospital would be complicit in an abortion, an act counter to its mission to protect all human life. Furthermore, a Catholic hospital is a private entity with its own values; what may seem like common sense to Ms. Parsley is viewed as moral capitulation for the Catholic Church. Hospitals of all stripes often have difficult ethical decisions to make that often transcend a utilitarian calculus. Her claim that the ban is based on economic motives is insulting and ignores the moral basis for the decision. Finally, unlike Catholic taxpayers who must fund sterilization and "education" programs throughout the world, those who disagree with the policies of Catholic hospitals are free to use other facilities like private hospitals and women's centers. The role of religion in medicine, and the appropriate responses to rape are issues that must be discussed soberly, responsibly and with respect. It is certainly not the place for cheap shots, emotional appeals and a refusal to appreciate "so-called religious and moral grounds."

Seth Scanlon College '01

Wrong conclusions

To the Editor: I am a regular reader of the DP and have had nothing but praise for the accuracy and nature of the reporting. However, I was rather horrified by the the misleading and grossly unsubstantiated assertion being propounded by the article "Candidate's beliefs don't faze students" (DP, 9/27/00). Firstly, instead of a large random sampling of the student body of the sort necessary to justly arrive at the conclusion, a mere group of seven isÿinterviewed. More disturbing though, is that this small group appears to be composed almost exclusively of the devout: the University chaplain, the co-chairman of the Orthodox Community of Penn, the Muslim Student Association president, etc. It should come as little surprise that one man who trusts an irrational faith has no problem supporting another who does the same. But most of us do not head religious organizations on campus and many are relatively secular. Yet the notion that a largely nonreligious contingent exists, a group that believes in a government directed byÿthe Constitutionÿrather than the Bible, is not even entertained. Perhaps a safer conclusion to draw from the interviews is that religious fundamentalists are unconcerned with government decisions derived from religious principles. But it's insulting to the dignity of the students to indicate, on the basis of the views of a few devout individuals, that the rest of us do not value the separation of Church and State.

Jonathan Robbins College '04

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