Since the Obama administration promulgated a new rule requiring employers and insurers to provide preventive health care services — including contraception coverage — some Catholic institutions have taken great offense to the regulation and accused the White House of waging a war against their religious objection to birth control. The rule exempts religious institutions and affiliated organizations from providing the benefit and offers employers a year-long grace period to implement the measure.
And while some Catholic colleges have responded to the controversy by stripping contraception from their plans, Georgetown University — the nation’s first Catholic institution of higher learning — has announced that it will not adopt any changes to its health insurance policies and will continue to provide birth control coverage to its employees. In a letter obtained by ThinkProgress dated April 26, 2012, President John J. DeGioia informs the Georgetown community that the University will offer contraception “for students who require them for health reasons unrelated to birth control,” and will institute “no change to the University’s approach to contraceptive coverage for employees”:
After thoughtful and careful consideration, we will continue our current practice for contraceptive coverage in our student health insurance for the coming year, as allowed for under the current rules issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
There will also be no change to the University’s approach to contraceptive coverage for employees for 2013.
We will be monitoring further regulatory and judicial developments related to the Affordable Care Act. I hope this is helpful in clarifying a matter of concern to many of you.
In February, a Georgetown University spokesperson confirmed to ThinkProgress that employees “have access to health insurance plans offered and designed by national providers to a national pool. These plans include coverage for birth control.”