Tragic and Misguided

My friend and brother bishop, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Diocese of Brooklyn, joins me in this blog post. 

Did you see the disturbing stories in the newspaper yesterday and today?

The public schools of the City of New York have announced that they are providing so-called “emergency contraception” and long-term contraceptive injections to high school students as young as 14 years old. This policy of dispensing of powerful medicines to young women — without their parents’ knowledge and consent — is tragic and misguided.

Parents have the right and the responsibility to be the first and primary educators of their children.  This plan usurps that role, and allows the public school system to substitute its beliefs and values for those of the parents. It also places minors at risk, because no school system can be expected to know all the pertinent health information about their son or daughter, and be able to properly judge what is in their best interests.  Requiring parents to “opt-out” of the program is hardly adequate, either.  In New York State in recent weeks, laudable legislation has been passed and signed into law requiring explicit consent from parents if a child wants to get a piercing or a tattoo.   We now also have a law on the books banning minors from using tanning salons even if the parents consent, out of concern for possible long term health risks.  And, for every other medical procedure, explicit, informed consent is required.  But not when these powerful drugs – with their potentially serious side effects – are involved.  Then we let these young teens do what they want, without a word to their parents.

It has been shown by years of experience that contraceptives are not the solution to the problem of teen sexual activity.  Studies show that increased availability of contraception fails to reduce rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion.  New York City’s government already distributes tens of millions of free condoms, and contraceptives are readily available from other sources, yet rates of teen sexual activity and pregnancies continue to be unacceptably high, and our abortion rate is a national disgrace.

Abstinence before marriage is the only sure way to avoid pregnancy and disease, while also allowing minors to practice virtue and responsibility.  The public schools would be better advised to promote what truly works rather than continuing to follow a failed experiment that will only lead to further problems for society and for young people.

25 Responses to “Tragic and Misguided”

  1. Kathleen says:

    Amen to that! When my kids were in school, the school would not give my child a Tylenol, even with my permission over the phone, I had to drive to the school and administer it myself!

  2. James F. Marsh says:

    The schools wrongly assume these teens will not incur a sexually transmitted disease. Or they ignore the issue. “Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth, that also shall he reap.” The schools teach children to sow to the flesh; therefore they will reap corruption. Greviously sad. Jim

  3. Mimi Milford says:

    Thank You Tim for all you do.

  4. Jillian Gunnels says:

    I totally agree this is HIGHLY MISGUIDED! I do endorse abstinence before marriage, but as well as that issue, a parent has a right to not only know, but to have a SAY in what kind of chemicals/drugs a doctor is giving to their child! all sorts of rights being violated here! Human rights, but parental rights as well. A 14 yr old should NOT have the choice of what is best for them yet. Good grief! We may certainly not be able to control our minor children and follow them everywhere they go, but we certainly can still decide what is best for them! That is our GOD GIVEN right, and our parental right under the constitution. We are legally responsible for their care and upbringing until they are 18, but yet public agencies are able to give our children their own choice? ABSURD! OUTRAGEOUS!

  5. Debra Roman says:

    No wonder my sister-in-law and brother are homeschooling their children!

  6. John Bender says:

    This is such sad news, especially since today is Family Day! Thank you Cardinal Dolan for posting this and for trying to lead New York out of this crazy situation. I am so blessed to know you and read your wonderful works! Know of my prayers for yo always!

    Let us pray for all families on this day that we may strong in our morals and our faith!

  7. Tony de New York says:

    The ultimate goal is abortion in the schools.

  8. Patrick Linehan says:

    Kudos to you Cardinal for speaking the truth about this hypocrisy!

  9. Walter says:

    How long will it be before the government forces the catholic schools to provide the same drugs to students? This is similar to the health insurance issue and religious freedom. This is really bad news for all of us.

  10. MaryGr says:

    The political class and the public school system it controls, are in full support of the policy of killing the unwanted as a solution to teen pregnancy. Our generation has ceded our healthcare decisions to universal governmentcare which is unfolding in policies such as this. Is it any surprise that governmentcare would rather spend $40 on a pill than $400 on an abortion to get rid of unwanted children or grandchildren. Another good reason for parents to send their children to Catholic school.

  11. Makemeaspark says:

    The entire school board should be held liable for accidental deaths caused by this reckless disregard of the health of the teens, because they did not find out the full medical history before administering the drugs. AND liable for any long term consequences, such as infertility, cancers and other problems caused by these drugs.

  12. Proteios1 says:

    As a parent, I certainly take offense at any adult interacting with my child without my consent. I would not allow any adult to give any drug to my child. It’s insulting the government would do this considering all steroid based contraceptives are considered carcinogens by the American cancer society and the American association of cancer researchers. Our two most prestigious societies for cancer research and awareness. I sure hope these laws are not on the books in my home state.

  13. Irene says:

    I completely agree with your point that contraceptives should not be dispensed in the schools without parental consent. But I do take issue with “Abstinence before marriage is the only sure way to avoid pregnancy and disease, while also allowing minors to practice virtue and responsibility”

    Absolutely to be encouraged. But in those extremely rare instance where teenagers don’t listen to their parents’ advice, I do think an alternative plan needs to be in place. I think we should look at those places that have an effective track record in keeping teen pregnancy rates low and learn from what they are doing. I imagine it’s probably a comprehensive approach.

  14. Donald Rubinstein says:

    Concidentally, today (Sept. 25) marks the closing of the last Magdalene Asylum in 1996, reform institutions run by the Catholic church that exploited and abused girls and women for centuries. Considering the long sordid institutional history of child abuse by the Catholic Church, I fail to see why anyone would now honor the Church’s claims to speak from a position of morality on ANY issue regarding women and children, especially’s issues involving sexual behavior. Donald Rubinstein, PhD

  15. This move by the City is a part of the secular progresssive agenda. Further, it hints at a more evil agenda of stopping births in the minority community which makes up a large part of the NY public school system.

  16. Larry b says:

    If the American schools want to be separate from religious teachings, they should stay away from anti moral / religious teachings. I fear this is not what they want. It seems they want to push the idea that, you are gonna have sex, so in order not to have a “problem” here is what you need to do. Take this condom and use this pill and everything will be ok. That may not be all you tell them but that is certainly all they hear. add this now to teaching that if you some how get the ” problem” you can get an abortion and as Obama says, because you shouldn’t have to be punished for life for one mistake. So now you not have committed not just the sin of sex outside of marriage, you have also committed murder. Where is the separation of church state? If the separation of church and state were to be followed then at best you could only be neutral. No condoms, no pills at public schools. Parental rights would trump what has become the states agenda. The states teaching.

  17. Anabel says:

    Dear Emminence,

    did you forget the part about it being a mortal sin? How about this for a last paragraph :

    “Premarital sex is mortal sin. Mortal sin is the loss of Grace. Loss of Grace is the loss of heaven.

    In other words, if you want to get to heaven and see God, save it for marriage!”

  18. Fr. Dermot Brennan says:

    Dr. Rubenstein, you need to know that the alledged “long, sordid, institutional history of the Catholic Church on child abuse” in this country involved less than 2% of the clergy being accused (not convicted) and that statistics show a considerably higher percentage of child abuse among public school teachers, coaches, and most of all, within families. So please stop continuing to throw this “fact” around in defense of teaching chldren how to have “safe” sex when that “safe sex” results in over 60% abortions in that age bracket, to say nothing of the long-term harm that using the “preventive” drugs have had on those women who used them. And let’s stop the Big Brother approach to guiding our kids and let the parents exercise their parental rights.

  19. John Bett says:

    Government can dispense powerful chemicals and pharmaceuticals with unknown side effects to minor children, but they ban super sized soft drinks. What an alternative universe these folks live in.

  20. Margaret says:

    Totally agree, except for the word choice in the first paragraph. Contraception is not “medicine,” just as abortion is not health care. Instead of assisting the body’s natural processes and healing, both result in death and destruction.

    Thank you for being a courageous witness to the sanctity of life.

  21. Phil says:

    Abstinence before marriage is a great plan, but it’s unrealistic to the point of irresponsibility to suggest that abstinence will ever be adopted by all teens, even all Catholic teens.

    So the real world question remains, what’s the best way to avoid unintended pregnancies in these populations?

    I have to agree that schools should not be doing this without written permission from parents, but now we bump in to another part of the real world, many parents are no more responsible than their kids, and do not respond to communications from the school etc.

    If we’re serious about reducing abortions, we need something better than “Abstinence or hell!”

  22. Kevin from TX says:

    Kudos, Cardinal Dolan. Thank you for taking a strong stance against this outrageous assault on parental rights and common sense. Please consider going the next step, to speak from the pulpit to Catholic faithful about the importance of voting out of office, those politicians who perpetrate these policies.

  23. Eileen Mechler says:

    Dear Cardinal Dolan,
    I heard you discuss this on the Catholic Channel on Sirius radio. Great. But many, many people do not have access to you in that way. Please have all your priests in the diocese catechize their adult parishoners on this very serious threat to the children of God, by reading a version of your blog at Sunday Mass, publishing it in the weekly bulletin or by any other means of communication that are available. Your faithful laiety, particularly female, are starving for guidance and clarification from the clergy regarding all sinful sex: contraception, abortion, pornagraphy, adultery, fornication, all non-marital sexual activity, etc. etc. I think you guys are a little gun-shy because of the homosexual priest scandal, but don’t be! Speak God’s truth and we WILL listen and learn.

  24. sj says:

    “The public schools would be better advised to promote what truly works”

    Since when in the history of the world has abstinence-only education proven to be what truly works?

  25. Jack says:

    sj: “Since when in the history of the world has abstinence-only education proven to be what truly works?”

    When condoms fail 1 out of 7 times, that’s when. And abstinence education hasn’t been given a fair chance in the public square; those with an Epicurean agenda reject it all the time because it requires people to actually be strong. It’s parodied as “if you have sex out of marriage, Jesus will kill a puppy!”, which is a completely dishonest straw man. It’s more like this: chastity is not about following a list of rules so you’ll avoid hell. It’s about wanting heaven for the person you love.