Contraception edict on horizon?

By Sarah Luckert
February 15, 2012

The health insurance that Cabrini College provides may be affected by new policy. (credit: MCT)

The Obama Administration’s recent contraception ruling will have an effect on Cabrini College-provided health insurance.

In January, the United States Department of Health and Human Services announced that health insurance policies must include free contraceptives as part of basic preventive services. Health insurance policies will have to include contraception for all women, without charging a copay or deductible.

It is anticipated both students and employees will be affected by the final decision when it is made.

Many religious institutions, including Catholic colleges, do not want to offer contraception because of faith-based reasons even though not all of their employees share the same religious beliefs.

The Institute of Medicine aided in the development of the mandate by concluding birth control is necessary in ensuring “women’s health and well-being.”

A recent attempt at a compromise offered by the Obama Adminstration said it could be the insurance companies and not the religiously-affiliated institutions that will be offering the contraception. Yet employees will still receive the contraception benefits. Catholic bishops rejected the compromise offer.

Currently religious institutions are asking for a yearlong delay to discuss possible immunity, whereas employers of churches whom have religious employees are exempt from the mandate already.

Father Carl Janecki, director of campus ministry, said, “Choice is wonderful and I don’t think government should eliminate it.”

One side of the argument states women now have a choice to get contraception and it is a choice they can solely make. At the same time, choice is being taken away from certain religious institutions that do not want to offer the option.

“Getting contraception should be a choice,” Annakaye Anderson, junior psychology major, said. “There are so many pros to having contraception available. It is understandable why Catholics don’t want this to be available but more people need to be educated on the other uses of it.”

According to the college nurse, Susan Fitzgerald, the ruling may or may not affect the health insurance purchased by students through the college. Fitzgerald said the number of students that actually purchase insurance is small.

“With only about 60 or so students on the health insurance plan and being a Catholic institution we do not have to offer contraception,” Fitzgerald said. This may or may not change.

Cherise Carn, freshman education major, said, “I think Catholic colleges especially should be able to decide whether or not they want to give out birth control.” She said that her reason was based on religious freedom.

The ruling has already gone through numerous changes and many more are to be expected.

“There will most likely end up being a compromise,” Ian Scott, religious studies professor, said.

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Sarah Luckert

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