Catholic School Drops Student Health Care to Protest Contraception Coverage

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/atmtx/4194430772/sizes/m/in/photostream/">atmtx</a>/Flickr

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Franciscan University of Steubenville, a Catholic school in Ohio, made news today for dropping its student health-care plan in protest of the Obama administration’s decision that health insurers must cover contraception. (Via the Huffington Post.)

The school announced online that it will no longer offer student health care starting this fall:

The Obama administration has mandated that all health insurance plans must cover ‘women’s health services’ including contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing medications as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Up to this time, Franciscan University has specifically excluded these services and products from its student health insurance policy, and we will not participate in a plan that requires us to violate the consistent teachings of the Catholic Church on the sacredness of human life.

Although the contraception decision has sparked outrage from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, as we’ve noted before, a number of Catholic institutions already offered that coverage before the new law. And the Obama administration created an exemption for Catholic institutions like Franciscan, requiring the health insurer, not the institution, to cover the contraception coverage. Nor does the mandate require insurers to cover abortion.

So, is there something else going on here? Franciscan also happens to be the school that, in 2008, ousted a university trustee for his endorsement of Barack Obama for president. The trustee, Nicholas P. Cafardi, resigned after the school president expressed “concern” to him about the endorsement. Cafardi, a Catholic legal scholar, had penned a column in the National Catholic Reporter expressing his support for Obama despite his pro-choice stance, noting, “We have lost the abortion battle—permanently.”

Franciscan University, then, isn’t just any Catholic school. It’s one that seems to have a long-term gripe with Obama that existed well before this mandate. And they seem willing to go so far as to take away student healthcare entirely to make that stance clear.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate