The US contraception debate has me – and no doubt many others – scratching their heads in utter puzzlement. The debate concerns the Obama administration’s recent policy that requires religious-affiliated employers to include contraception in the health insurance cover they provide for their employees. The Catholic church has long decried the use of contraceptives as sinful. There was, for example, the Pope’s mind-boggling assertion in 2009 that the use of condoms could make the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa worse. Although, to be fair, he did change his mind in 2010, when even he had to reluctantly accept that with 22.5 million people living with HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa alone, that maybe it would be ok for blokes to stick a bit of latex on their willies before getting down with it, in the interests of preventing massive human suffering. Although he was keen to point out that it was only ok to use condoms with the sole intention of preventing infection (doctrine of double effect, anyone?). No surprise then, that Catholic bishops and some churches have been up in arms about Obama’s latest idea, since religious-affiliated employers include Catholic universities, hospitals, and so forth.
Luckily, there are some who see the sense in providing contraception. The University of Dayton – a Catholic university – has recently made the following statement:
We have examined our employee medical plan in light of the federal government’s mandate, a process the University of Dayton started before the January HHS announcement.
Our insurance plan, like that of a number of other Catholic universities, does not cover abortion or abortion-inducing drugs, but covers contraceptive care. This has been the case for at least 20years. Our two health insurance providers during that period indicated they could not separate out whether prescriptions or procedures are medically necessary or not. 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. We are not changing our employee health care insurance coverage.
The University is aligned with the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities’ position, which supports a balance between health care and religious freedom. Like all Catholic universities, we await further clarification on the federal position.
Three cheers for them!
The Dayton News article is here.
Thanks to PD for sending in the story.