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07 March 2012

Of Bacon and Birth Control

My Senior Sociology Seminar Capstone students engaged in a discussion last week on the recent controversy around the birth control mandate. One student proposed an analogy on which we elaborated. Imagine a Jewish institution being forced to pay for pork dishes for its gentile employees. (I don't know; maybe some employees had a protein deficiency that could only be treated with pork.) Is this ethical? Should there be an exception? While the analogy is far from perfect, I have to admit that this exercise gave me pause. By changing my perspective, I had to consider the issue in a way that I hadn't before. It didn't change my mind, but I think these kind of hypotheticals/analogies/thought-experiments can be very useful in the classroom. I'm still wrestling with just how fitting this particular example really is.

Before folks start getting their dander up, let me be clear that I take the issue of cheap/free access to birth control--especially for women--very seriously and am in no way trying to make light of it here.

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