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    Modern Catholic Women

    Contributor Convo: Notre Dame and the Contraceptive Mandate

    Contributor Convo: Notre Dame and the Contraceptive Mandate --

    Faithful Catholic feminists, discussing tough issues.


    Recently the Trump Administration rolled back the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate – allowing organizations to refuse “no questions asked” coverage of birth control on the grounds of religious freedom. The University of Notre Dame is among the most prominent organizations to announce it will be utilizing this religious exemption, and dropping birth control coverage for women without a medical need.

    THE PRO SIDE: Agreeing with Notre Dame’s decision to drop contraception coverage

    By Samantha Povlock 

    To start off, it’s important to note that there are a whole list of reasons why the so-called ACA “Contraceptive Mandate” is ineffective at promoting women’s freedom and health.

    But as a feminist, a Catholic, and an alumna of Notre Dame myself, I wanted to respond specifically to the discussion I’ve seen around the University’s decision, and to challenge the most common claims I’ve seen for why this decision is an attack on women.

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    Modern Catholic Women

    Saying No to the Pill Brought Me to Feminism

    saying no to the pill brought me to feminism --

    A diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome at the age of 14 inspired one suggestion for treatment: the birth control pill. Unaware of better alternatives, my mom and I agreed to try it, and I walked out of my OB/GYN’s office with a prescription in hand.

    What followed were months of suffering side effects: in short, I became a moody monster. Severe irritability, prolonged sadness, and a general mean-ness replaced my typically joyful disposition. School – still one of my favorite things – ceased to excite me and I found less and less enjoyment in spending time with friends.

    It eventually occurred to my mom that the Pill might be responsible for these odd changes. She was right – I stopped taking the Pill and returned to my normal self.

    It eventually occurred to my mom that the Pill might be responsible for these odd changes

    Fast forward to the age of 20, when I decided to pursue treatment for PCOS, again.  Before visiting the OB/GYN, I researched on my own. I was hesitant to go on the Pill a second time, but realized that my young age (i.e. being an angsty high schooler) may have exacerbated its effect on me.

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