Thursday, October 30, 2014

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I Hold in My Hand the Names of 20 Catholic Colleges that Cover Contraception

In a scene reminiscent of anti-communist Congressman Joseph McCarthy holding in his hands a fraudulent list of names of communist spies in an effort to silence his political opposition, Rep. Elijah Cummings submitted a list of Catholic colleges in twenty states that already provide contraceptive coverage during a hearing on religious liberty yesterday. In closing out his question and answer with The Catholic University of America President John Garvey, who said that Catholic colleges couldn't violate their conscience by providing contraceptive coverage, Rep. Cummings countered by submitting into the record his list. After repeated calls to Cummings' office and the Committee of Government Oversight and Reform, The Cardinal Newman Society learned that Rep. Cummings obtained the list from the pro-abortion National Women's Law Center. The Cardinal Newman Society has obtained that list and looked into it to see whether it stood up to scrutiny. It seems that many of the colleges on that list provide contraceptive coverage in states that mandate they do so. So, in short, the politicians in those states forced colleges to provide contraceptive coverage, and then the politicians on the federal level use the fact that they're providing it as evidence that it's okay for others to do the same. It's worth noting as well that many of the colleges on the list provide coverage for certain drugs that have therapeutic purposes apart from their contraceptive effects and are covered only when medically necessary for these other purposes—for conditions such as ovarian cysts, endometriosis, and acne—like the Franciscan University of Steubenville, the University of Dallas and the University of Notre Dame, among others. Here's the list of Catholic colleges that reportedly provide contraceptive coverage, according to the NWLC: Santa Clara University, The Jesuit School of Theology, the University of San Diego, and San Francisco University all reportedly provide contraceptive coverage to their employees as mandated by the state of California. Sacred Heart University in Connecticut also provides contraceptive coverage to employees in the state of Connecticut which mandates it. Georgetown University does so although they are under no legal obligation to do so. Dominican University in Illinois and Loyola University of Chicago cover contraceptives as mandated by state law. The University of Notre Dame is included on the list as providing for "oral contraceptives" by the NWLC but only for "existing pathologies" and not for birth control. Loyola University of New Orleans provides contraceptive care and is under no state mandate to do so. Loyola University in Maryland provides coverage for non-contraceptive uses of certain drugs that are frequently prescribed as contraceptives.  Maryland mandates contraceptive coverage. University of Detroit Mercy allows contraceptive coverage. Michigan mandates contraceptive coverage. Saint John's University of New York covers vasectomies and tubal ligations but not oral contraceptives. Dayton University in Ohio provides contraceptive coverage and is not mandated to do so. Franciscan University of Steubenville provides coverage for non-contraceptive uses of certain drugs that are frequently prescribed as contraceptives. John Carroll University also provides coverage for non-contraceptive uses of certain drugs that are frequently prescribed as contraceptives. Kings College and Scranton University of Pennsylvania provide coverage for non-contraceptive uses of certain drugs that are frequently prescribed as contraceptives. University of Dallas also provides coverage for non-contraceptive uses of certain drugs that are frequently prescribed as contraceptives. St. Edwards University in Texas provides contraceptive coverage. The NWLC was unable to ascertain any limitations on that coverage. University of the Incarnate Word in Texas provides contraceptive coverage. They are under no state mandate to do so. Saint Michael's College in Vermont provides contraceptive coverage as is required by state mandate. Gonzaga University provides contraceptive coverage but only when "medically necessary." The state of Washington mandates insurance plans cover contraceptives. Seattle University provides contraceptive coverage. Marquette University and Viterbo University provide contraceptive coverage with few limitations. Wisconsin mandates coverage. As you can see, while many of these Catholic colleges do provide coverage of some drugs that could be used for contraceptive purposes, many of them draw the line and exclude them for reasons of birth control. And some are mandated to provide coverage. Some, of course, like Georgetown, provide it of their own volition. Other colleges like Fordham and DePaul also have acknowledged contraception coverage. But should the actions of Georgetown and a few others act as a mandate to every other Catholic institution in the country?  Of course not. Georgetown should not be allowed to become the federally appointed new magisterium of the Catholic Church -- which of course acknowledges differences with the true Magisterium.. Dayton University announced just this week that they plan to continue offering contraceptive coverage.
“Our Catholic identity is at the heart of our institution’s mission, but, in light of the importance of the health of our employees and the prevention of disease, we entered into these plans,” said Teri Rizvi, UD’s associate vice president for communications. “We are not changing our employee health care insurance coverage.”
It seems some Catholic institutions have been given a lot of leeway by the bishops in recent decades. That leeway is now being used as a weapon against the bishops to curb religious liberty. The President of The Cardinal Newman Society Patrick Reilly was quoted in an interview with Reuters talking about exactly this:
"This really highlights the elephant in the room," said Patrick J. Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, which works with colleges to strengthen their Catholic identities. "It is absolutely a wake up call."
That wake up call may begin what Reuters called a "crackdown" on wayward Catholic institutions. Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport acknowledged to reporters that, "I'm sure there's going to be some discussion about that." But for Rep. Cummings to use that list as a cudgel to discredit the testimony of CUA President John Garvey is simply disingenuous. Now, to be fair, the list must also make some Catholics wonder why this admirable fight for religious liberty didn't take place years ago, when states began mandating contraceptive coverage. Shouldn't many of these Catholic schools have battled against their state legislatures in the same way many colleges are battling the federal mandate now? There's the analogy of the frog in boiling water, and it seems that Catholics are wading in some pretty hot water right now as they prepare a strong defense of religious liberty. Let's just hope it isn't too late.

Catholic Education Daily is an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. Click here for email updates and free online membership with The Cardinal Newman Society.

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