EEOC Forces Catholic Belmont Abbey College to Fund Contraception in Insurance

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 10, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

EEOC Forces Catholic Belmont Abbey College to Fund Contraception in Insurance

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 10
, 2009

Washington, DC ( — The Obama administration has ruled that a small Catholic college must provide coverage for contraception in its insurance plans for employees. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled that Belmont Abbey College must provide the coverage, even though it violates Catholic teachings.

In December 2007, Belmont Abbey College removed coverage for abortion, contraception and voluntary sterilization after learning that its plan had accidentally included them.

“As a Roman Catholic institution, Belmont Abbey College is not able to and will not offer nor subsidize medical services that contradict the clear teaching of the Catholic Church,” Belmont Abbey president William Thierfelder said at the time. “There was no other course of action possible if we were to operate in fidelity to our mission and to our identity as a Catholic college.”

Responding to the decision, eight faculty members filed complaints with the EEOC and the North Carolina Department of Insurance.

The EEOC determined that Belmont Abbey discriminated against women by denying coverage of contraception.

“By denying prescription contraception drugs, [Belmont Abbey College] is discriminating based on gender because only females take oral prescription contraceptives," Reuben Daniels Jr, the EEOC Charlotte District Office Director, wrote in his decision. "By denying coverage, men are not affected, only women."

The EEOC has director Belmont Abbey College to reach an agreeable resolution with the objecting faculty and warned of possible litigation if that did not occur.

The Cardinal Newman Society informed of the letter and said it is concerned that other Catholic colleges will be forced to cover contraception or abortion.

CNS sent a letter sent a letter to EEOC acting chairman Stuart Ishimaru saying "it is ironic that the federal agency responsible for protecting against discrimination has so blatantly engaged in an inexcusable violation of religious liberty in its Belmont Abbey ruling.”

CNS also is sending a letter to all Catholic bishops in the United States, informing them of the EEOC action against Belmont Abbey College.

The letter highlights the dangerous precedent this ruling sets to force Catholic employers to included contraceptive coverage in employee health plans.

“No Catholic college or other institution should be required by government to violate the Catholic Church’s clear moral teachings,” Patrick J. Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society, told “The apparently increasing insensitivity to religious beliefs should frighten all employers and employees. We urge religious leaders to stand in defense of Belmont Abbey College.”

Related web sites:
Cardinal Newman Society –

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