The largest Catholic university in the nation has admitted to providing contraception coverage as part of its health care benefit package, further undermining the GOP’s claims that Obama’s regulation requiring insurers and employers to offer reproductive health benefits represents and “unprecedented” war against religion. The rule — which exempts houses of worship and nonprofits that primarily employ and serve people of faith from providing contraception coverage — mirrors existing requirements in six states.
“The employee health insurance plans include a prescription contraceptive benefit, in compliance with state and federal law,” DePaul University spokesperson Robin Florzak confirmed to ThinkProgress. “An optional insurance plan that covers such benefits is available to students, also due to previously established state and federal requirements.” The University notes, however, that it is disappointed with the Obama regulation and hopes to engage in an “effective national conversation on the appropriate conscience protections in our pluralistic country.” Other Catholic colleges and hospitals, including Georgetown and the six former Caritas Christi Catholic hospitals in Massachusetts, have also admitted to offering birth control benefits.
DePaul’s home state of Illinois is one of 28 to have adopted a contraception coverage requirement. Eight of those states provide no opt-out clause for religious institutions and the administration’s new rule would expand conscience protections to those parts of the country.
A recent poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute also found that a majority of Americans, including a majority of Catholics, support a contraception coverage requirement.