When it comes to instilling the joy of giving in our kids, we are not above resorting to the same tricks that retailers and advertisers use on us. Just after Halloween, we start pointing out possible gifts for others in the family, “Won’t Auntie V love a box of cookies you made yourself? Just think of the look on her face!” It’s all about the hype. Then, once we get the kids excited about giving to people we know, it’s that much easier to build enthusiasm for helping charities and people we don’t know who may be in need this time of year. Yes, we “upsell” the concept of giving!
The term “out-of-wedlock pregnancy” sounds a little dated these days, doesn’t it? However, it’s unfortunately very relevant for a Massachusetts couple who were both fired from their teaching jobs for that very thing.
Sean Houlihan and Natalie Ferland were teachers at the Lawrence Catholic Academy, located in northeastern Massachusetts. They began dating last March, and after discovering the pregnancy in October, they got engaged. When they told their superiors right before Thanksgiving, despite the engagement, they were both promptly fired due to breach of contract.
The school released a statement citing their commitment to providing a Catholic faith-based education for their students. When teachers are hired, they sign a contract agreeing to uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church. As premarital sex is considered a sin according to Catholic doctrine, the fact that the couple became pregnant is clear indication that they were not following the teachings and had breached their contract.
As unhappy as this situation makes me, I feel that their employer had the right to terminate them both. The contract was pretty clear and while a non-religious employer would usually not be able to fire a person for a pregnancy outside of marriage, this one is able to. I do wish they had considered the engagement, though, and awarded them some leniency because of that. While it’s really hard on them (they both lost their health insurance also), it’s also hard on the kids as well. My daughter gets really attached to her teachers, and earlier this year when her teacher left to go to another school and her class got reassigned, many of the children cried.
The couple doesn’t want their jobs back — I’m sure they realized that they had breached their contract — but they do want their terminations struck from their records so they will have better success finding new jobs.
We as women have been dreaming of such a thing for years — male birth control in the form of a pill. This would put the onus of reproduction control on the dude in the relationship, instead of the woman bearing the burden of having to figure out what form of birth control to use, and subsequently dealing with side effects, if there are any.
Male birth control is a bigger challenge to research scientists than female — after all, instead of dealing with one reproductive cell (the egg), they have to deal with millions of them (sperm). And of course, just one single sperm can get you pregnant, so you don’t want to let any amount slip through.
Despite these odds, work is still being done to figure out a solution. Researchers have deemed hormonal birth control for men to have undesirable side effects, so the focus has been on a couple of receptors that control ejaculation. Mice studies have determined that the possibilities are there, but more time and years of testing will have to take place before something like this comes on the market.
I’m personally not too excited about this, but am feeling a little conflicted. I’m not a fan of hormonal birth control for women, and in fact I find the statement that hormonal side effects for men are “too excessive” to be laughable without knowing for sure what they are — after all, women deal with loads of side effects and potential damage and even death when they use certain birth control options. Why is that okay for women and not men?
Furthermore, I’m also not a fan of medication. I only take it when really needed and only as a last resort. I know that much of it is necessary and life-saving, but who are the men who will be using this in the future? Will it wind up being a decades-long medical experiment, with side effects that are potentially life-changing?
However, I do overall like the swing towards helping men to carry some of the responsibility for reproductive health. Women really do bear the brunt of most, if not all, of it, even though men are truly 50 percent responsible for the outcome, and as mentioned above, much of the options women have are invasive and/or they carry risks.
What do you think about a male birth control pill?