Fordham Birth-Control Fight: Hey, Maybe We Can All Get Along   

What Women Really Think
Nov. 30 2011 3:09 PM

The Fordham Birth-Control Flap Is a Model Case of Civil Disagreement

When I saw the headline on the Jezebel  post, “Fordham Students Protest Hidden Anti-Birth-Control Policy,” I was prepared to be half-amused, half-annoyed at the naivete of college students. Ladies, Fordham is a Catholic university. Of course it’s not going to prescribe birth control. That goes against the church doctrine.

But I was pleasantly surprised.  The students aren’t railing against the university’s ban on distributing birth control so much as they just want the school to be more upfront about its policy. And they have smartly set up an off-campus clinic to prescribe birth control and offer advice. There was claim by a student group, the Fordham Law Students for Reproductive Justice that “Organizers of the clinic have been investigated by the University and may be subject to disciplinary action.” But the university has issued a statement saying that none of the students will face disciplinary action and said that it will consider updating its website  to be more specific about its policy on birth control.

Advertisement

What’s interesting about this whole situation is how civil the whole disagreement appears to have been. The students aren’t demanding that the school pass out free birth control, and the school is taking a hands-off approach to the group’s off-campus activities. Each side stands firm in its beliefs, and yet respectful toward the other side.

It’s something we need vastly more of in the general conversation about reproductive health and abortion. Both sides have become so entrenched and unwilling to listen to each other that the whole debate consists of people shouting past each other, and it’s absolutely impossible to find common ground.

Rachael Larimore is Slate's managing editor.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

The XX Factor

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 20 2014 3:21 PM “The More You Know (About Black People)” Uses Very Funny PSAs to Condemn Black Stereotypes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.