Our rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness
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07 January 2009

Vatican Cites Environmentalist Objections to the Pill

By Diana Hsieh

Another news item of interest from the iFeminists news feed:

Vatican newspaper slams 'the pill'
January 4, 2009

The contraceptive pill is polluting the environment and is in part responsible for male infertility, a report in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano said on Saturday.

The pill "has for some years had devastating effects on the environment by releasing tonnes of hormones into nature" through female urine, said Pedro Jose Maria Simon Castellvi, president of the International Federation of Catholic Medical Associations, in the report. "We have sufficient evidence to state that a non-negligible cause of male infertility in the West is the environmental pollution caused by the pill," he said, without elaborating further. "We are faced with a clear anti-environmental effect which demands more explanation on the part of the manufacturers," added Castellvi.

The article was promptly dismissed by several organisations. "Once metabolised, the hormones contained in oral contraceptives no longer have any of the characteristic effects of feminine hormones," said Gianbenedetto Melis, vice-president of a contraceptive research association, quoted by the ANSA news agency. The hormones contained in the pill such as oestrogen "are present everywhere... in plastic, in disinfectants, in meat that we eat," added Flavia Franconi, of the Society of Italian Pharmacology. ...
The alliance between capitalism and religion in the 20th century in America was artifact of the rise of atheistic communism. It's not a sustainable union: a religious worldview cannot ground the rights of the individual to pursue his own happy life by his own rational judgment as required by capitalism. (On that point, see Ayn Rand's essay "Faith and Force" in Philosophy: Who Needs It.) More particularly, the Christian scriptures preach disdain for this world, blind obedience to the whims of God, abject sacrifice for the sake of the poor and weak, acceptance of sin, the positive value of suffering, and the moral corruption of wealth. A person who takes those values seriously cannot preach or practice capitalism. (See this LTE and this one.)

Consequently, I'm not surprised to see supposedly "conservative" religious institutions abandon their marginal respect for individual rights in favor of statist causes like the welfare states and environmentalism. Of course, the Catholic Church has never been a defender of individual rights, particularly not reproductive rights. But its embrace of environmentalist arguments to further that end is something new -- and ominous.

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