Notre Dame health plan to stop paying for birth control
The University of Notre Dame announced Friday that student and employee health plans will no longer cover birth control, citing an Obamacare exemption offered by the Trump administration.
Previously, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) forced Notre Dame and other religious institutions to provide contraception coverage through a third-party system if they objected to providing it themselves, but the Trump administration created an exemption for religious institutions on October 6, allowing Notre Dame to choose a coverage plan that fits the Catholic institution’s religious views.
"No one should be forced to choose between living out his or her faith and complying with the law."
“We welcome this reversal and applaud the attorney general’s statement that ‘except in the narrowest circumstances, no one should be forced to choose between living out his or her faith and complying with the law,’” Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins said in response to Trump’s decision, noting that the university had previously joined a lawsuit against the Obamacare requirement “because it believes critical issues of religious freedom were at stake.”
The new rules give employers the option to withhold contraception coverage for moral or religious reasons without having to notify the government or their insurer of their objection, and waives the mandatory third-party coverage mandated under the Obama administration.
Notre Dame will end its contraception coverage August 14, 2018 for students and December 31, 2017 for faculty and staff.
Individuals who remain on the university’s health plan will still have access to contraceptive medications if "there is an appropriate medical necessity as shown by a treating physician,” according to The Hill, although "the use of the medication must be for treating a specific medical condition and not as a means of preventing pregnancy."
One such example could be protection against ovarian and endometrial cancers.
Some liberal activists voiced their concerns over the decision, going so far as to accuse Notre Dame of oppressing women.
“Has to factor into colleges you consider-Notre Dame is using Trump as an excuse to oppress women. #TheHandsmaidTale,” tweeted one displeased activist.
Matthew Chapman, the national political writer at Shareblue and a board member of the Act Blue-sponsored group Democrats Work For America, said, “This is disgusting.”
According to Vox, Notre Dame’s plan covers 705 undergraduates and 2,315 graduate and professional students, but it is unclear how many are women.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @KylePerisic