Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Georgetown to Cover Contraception, Sandra Fluke Declares Victory

Georgetown statueGeorgetown University’s health insurance will cover contraception starting next month for students, faculty, and staff.

The announcement came in the form of a blast email to the entire campus from university president John DeGioia, indicating that because the Affordable Care Act requires that all insurance policies cover contraceptives (including abortifacients and sterilization procedures), all students, faculty, and staff will have that coverage, which goes into effect August 15th.  Wrote DeGioia:

These regulations give us the opportunity to reconcile our religious identity and our commitment to providing access to affordable health care. Under the framework established by the Administration, the University’s insurance companies will cover the costs of contraceptive services for Georgetown faculty, staff and students who opt to use them, regardless of which health care plan each person has.  We will continue to provide our community with access to affordable health care options, and women will have access to contraceptives at no cost to them or to the University.

According to The Hoya, students will still not be able to acquire contraception at the clinic on campus but they will be able to acquire contraception through the university’s insurance policy off campus.

The regulations from the Obama administration require insurance companies themselves to pay directly for contraceptive services for employees and students of non-profit organizations, like Georgetown, that oppose providing coverage for contraceptive services on religious grounds.

The USCCB was more dubious than DeGioia when they issued a statement earlier this month saying that the exemption for religious organizations was too narrow.

Physics professor emeritus Ed Finn wrote an email back to President DeGioia that was widely distributed on Twitter calling the decision a “cave-in.”

“Let’s not fool ourselves –we who pay premiums to the Georgetown health care program at whatever level will have higher premiums simply because the source of our health care coverage is paying (?) for the free distribution of contraceptive devices,” he wrote.

And then in what many are taking as a reference to former Georgetown law student turned contraceptive activist, Finn said, “Ms. F. has won her battle with the administration.”

Sandra Fluke herself tweeted her support of the university’s decision, saying, “@Georgetown will comply w/ #ACA #Obamacare #birthcontrol student policy this year! At last! Thx2 all who stood w/us!”

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