Xavier University’s College Democrats are hosting the school’s first annual “Sex Week,” a collection of events that support sex education, contraceptive access, and Planned Parenthood. They’re furious that Xavier, a Jesuit Catholic school, does not give out condoms or birth control.
Sex Week events include a pizza party fundraiser for a women’s group, a panel discussion, and an HIV testing clinic. The piece d’resistance is the #KissMyPinkXU branding and fundraising. “Kiss My Pink” is a lipstick sold by The Lipstick Lobby (TLL), a social justice group. The Lipstick Lobby donates the proceeds from “Kiss My Pink” to Planned Parenthood. (TLL also offers a deep orange-red called “Outrage,” which supports the American Civil Liberties Union).
The “Kiss My Pink” branding is all over Sex Week, including a #KissMyPink themed photo shoot and a promotional video. The video gets to the heart of the College Democrats’ complaints: “Sure, we all know that we go to a Catholic university, but less than 54 percent of us are actually Catholic,” one female student says. Another woman chimes in, “Aren’t we supposed to be tolerant of all beliefs?”
First of all, Xavier University is a 100 percent Catholic school, no matter what its students’ beliefs. Until the school leadership decides to dial back its Catholicism, that’s not going to change. (Something tells me that the president of the university, Fr. Michael J. Graham, won’t be easing up on the Catholicism anytime soon.)
Let’s frame this another way. Imagine that instead of Sex Week, this was Bacon Week. (Not a bad idea for a week, by the way.) The Bacon Week video might say, “Sure, we all know that we go to a Muslim university, but less than 54 percent of us are actually Muslim. Aren’t we supposed to be tolerant of all beliefs?” Imagine if the Bacon Week supporters wanted the school to serve bacon in the dining hall. This would be insane.
You can get your bacon, or your birth control, at plenty of other places. All you have to do is leave campus. You can even use birth control on Xavier’s campus, and no one will try to stop you! In fact, it’s a testament to Xavier University’s tolerance that the school allowed university space and resources to be used in support of Planned Parenthood.
The College Democrats did reach out to the College Republicans, inviting them to co-sponsor Sex Week. The College Republicans responded that they “stand with survivors of sexual assault,” but they would not be willing to sponsor something that directly supports Planned Parenthood.
Catholic schools and hospitals are not in the business of keeping women sick. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops explains, “Catholic teaching does not oppose the use of hormonal medications – such as those found in chemical contraceptives – for legitimate medical purposes, provided there is no contraceptive intent.” If you play by the Church’s rules and really need birth control, Catholic institutions will help you out.
If you play by exactly no rules at all, and want a pack of birth control pills to string on a candy necklace, you can still get it. You just have to get it off campus, and you might have to pay for it yourself. For College Democrats, anything less than full support and funding for contraceptives is not enough.
Student insurance at Xavier does not cover birth control for contraceptive purposes. However, under Obamacare, young adults can stay on their parents’ insurance until turning 26. The College Democrats, of all people, should know this.
Angela Morabito (@AngelaLMorabito) writes about politics, media, ethics, and culture. She holds both a Bachelor's and Master's degree from Georgetown University, and has appeared on On the Record with Greta van Susteren as well as Cavuto: Coast to Coast.