University of Notre Dame Bans Abortion Pills From Its Employee Health Care Plans

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 7, 2018   |   11:03AM   |   Washington, DC

Drugs or pills that may cause abortions will not be covered in the University of Notre Dame employee and student health plans, the Catholic school announced Wednesday.

The move comes after the university reversed a decision late last year and allowed its health insurance plans to cover contraception, much to the disappointment of conservative Catholics.

University president, Father John Jenkins, clarified this week that the plans only will cover contraception that does not cause abortions; drugs and devices that may end the life of a human being in the womb will be banned, according to The Atlantic.

It is a compromise between the two vocal crowds that have been urging university leaders to support or oppose contraception coverage. The Catholic church opposes artificial contraception as well as abortion; however, polls indicate that contraception is widely supported and widely used, even among Catholics.

The university did not mention the specific drugs and devices in the announcement, but the possibilities may include the IUD and morning after pill. A spokesperson told The Atlantic that they will release the list in March.

Here’s more from the report:

The school will still allow third-party coverage of contraceptives, but will discontinue coverage of any drugs that would “kill a fertilized egg,” according to the spokesperson. These drugs “are far more gravely objectionable in Catholic teaching,” Jenkins wrote in the letter. …

Over 17,000 people are covered by the university’s health plans, including faculty, staff, students, and their family members. “On one hand, there’s a danger of diluting any distinctiveness by accommodating everyone on everything,” Jenkins said in an interview on Tuesday. “You just become a generic university. On the other hand, there’s a danger of rigidity in adhering to certain tenets that make the institution more narrow.”

The university has reversed decisions about contraception several times, due, in part, to its legal battle with the federal government over the Obamacare HHS mandate. The university challenged the mandate but lost at the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

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In the fall of 2017, relief from the birth control mandate came when President Donald Trump’s administration issued wider exceptions to the HHS mandate for religious organizations.

However, in November, Notre Dame spokesman Paul Browne said the university would cover contraception anyway, reversing a decision from just a week prior.

“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,” Browne said in a statement. “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 Catholic university has faced intense criticism in the past for decisions that seem at odds with Catholic teaching. In 2009, Notre Dame gave an honorary degree to President Barack Obama, the most pro-abortion president in U.S. history. Later, while the university was fighting against Obama’s burdensome HHS Mandate, it invited him back to speak. It also honored pro-abortion former Vice President Joe Biden with the prestigious Laetare Medal.