EDUCATION

Contraception policy at Catholic U. prompts action by student group

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Incoming freshmen at Catholic University, some of whom are visiting the campus this spring, are being greeted by a group of students with a warning about the school's policy on sex and contraception -- specifically, condoms.

The students' message: Watch out.

"We're here today because a lot of us were really unaware of the policies that are included in the code of conduct,"  said Callie Otto, president of Catholic University Students For Choice.

Supporters from nearby American University joined the group and good-naturedly offered condoms to visitors.

Catholic University says its policy on sex is clear and follows the teachings of the church: "Sexual acts of any kind outside the confines of marriage are inconsistent with the teachings and moral values of the Catholic Church and are prohibited."

But the code of conduct also prohibits the use and distribution of condoms on campus. One unidentified parent had no problems with that.

"We're bringing our daughter to a Catholic university (and) we expect that part of our beliefs as Catholics is against the use of condoms," the parent said, "and that's the church's stand and that's our views as Catholics."

Catholic University spokesperson Victor Nakas pointed out that while the students can't hand out the condoms on campus, they are free to discuss their concerns on campus.

"One of the teachings of our faith is that contraception is morally unacceptable," he said. "Since condoms are a form of contraception, we do not permit their distribution on campus. Students who disagree with the Church's position on contraceptives are free to express their contrary view about this on or off campus."

At least one current student, Sara Hulse, has no problems with the policy but does have issues with Students For Choice and the group's activism.

"I'm not so happy about it,” she said. “I don't think promoting condoms is promoting real freedom.”

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