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Sound Off: Should Catholic Colleges Cover Birth Control?

by NextGen Journal | Everywhere

F Posted in: College P Posted on: January 30, 2012
Notre Dame

Earlier this month, the Obama administration announced that religiously affiliated universities will be required to provide free contraception in their health care plans. This regulation is a follow-up to the President’s health care law, which defines ‘essential benefits’ for coverage, and later included contraceptive services in that definition. It’s worth noting that inclusion is based on the recommendation of the Institute of Medicine.

Nevertheless, this requirement has generated an incredible amount of controversy, as detailed in Monday morning’s edition of The New York Times. In particular, Catholic colleges are claiming that the contraception mandate violates their freedom of religion, as it forces institutions affiliated with the Catholic church to provide artificial services which their Church considers morally wrong. In fact, the law includes an exception for strictly religious institutions, like churches. Affiliated groups that serve a wider population, though, like Catholic colleges and hospitals, do not fall under that exception.

This topic is certainly relevant to students nationwide; as the Times article explains, the requirement for free contraceptive services “may be extended to students” as well as employees. But it’s also a matter of intense ethical debate. A solid portion of our NGJ Core staff attend Catholic colleges like Georgetown University and the University of Notre Dame, where this issue is particularly relevant. Upon the announcement from the Department of Health and Human Services, the President of Notre Dame put out a statement condemning the decision, saying it, “will place many religious organizations of all faiths in an untenable position.”

We want to hear your thoughts, so Sound Off below:

Should Catholic colleges and other religious universities be required to provide coverage for birth control? Are contraceptive services a necessary health care benefit? Or do you find the requirement troubling?

NextGen Journal NextGen Journal is the website for the ‘next generation,' run by a nationwide team of college students.

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