Notre Dame faculty, students to retain birth control coverage

The Golden Dome atop the Main Building at the University of Notre Dame. Credit: RebeccaDLev/Shutterstock.
The Golden Dome atop the Main Building at the University of Notre Dame. Credit: RebeccaDLev/Shutterstock.

.- A little more than a week after announcing it would end birth control coverage for employees and students, the University of Notre Dame said Tuesday that its insurance provider will continue contraceptive coverage, albeit not funded by the university.

“Notre Dame, as a Catholic institution, follows Catholic teaching about the use of contraceptives and engaged in the recent lawsuit to protect its freedom to act in accord with its principles,” read a Nov. 7 email sent to university employees.

“Recognizing, however, the plurality of religious and other convictions among its employees, it will not interfere with the provision of contraceptives that will be administered and funded independently of the University.”

The email explained that the university's insurance provider, Meritain Health/OptumRx, has said “that they will now continue to provide contraceptives to plan members at no charge.” The university had believed the provider “would discontinue no cost coverage for contraceptives for employees at the end of the year.”

A similar provision will be made for students seeking contraception coverage.

Notre Dame had stated late in October that birth control would no longer be covered, making use of recently-added religious exemptions to the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act which were announced by the Department of Health and Human Services Oct. 6.

Previously, the Catholic university was one of several organizations that sued the government over the federal contraceptive mandate, which required most organizations to provide birth control coverage either directly or through a third party service.

As a Catholic institution, Notre Dame objected to this mandate on the grounds that all forms of contraception are against Catholic moral teaching. The university, along with dozens of other Catholic institutions, argued in the lawsuit that the third party option would still make them cooperate in an act to which they were morally opposed.

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration challenging the new religious exemptions.

Tags: University of Notre Dame, Catholic News, Religious liberty, HHS mandate, Department of Health and Human Services

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