BY RACHEL DEL GUIDICE
Catholic Values Columnist
In unveiling their new student healthcare plan, Notre Dame University has revealed that their plan will now cover contraception and abortion inducing drugs that are now mandated under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Many are confused by this decision as Notre Dame had originally brought a case to the Supreme Court, in disfavor of the HHS mandate.
The National Catholic Register reports, “The university’s decision to provide the group health plan for students comes as Notre Dame pursues its legal challenge to the HHS mandate. Critics thus expressed concern that the move could undermine the university’s legal case, especially when other options were available for circumventing compliance requirements for the mandate.”
The National Catholic Register also quotes Gerard Bradley, a constitutional scholar at Notre Dame’s law school, as saying, “The university need not provide student health insurance at all. … In its pending lawsuit about the employee and staff health plan, Notre Dame has said that its Catholic faith forbids it to arrange or facilitate coverage for contraception and abortion.”
In an article entitled, “Notre Dame Caves”, the California Catholic Daily reports “Notre Dame is complying with the abortifacient/contraceptive mandate in renewing its student health insurance program for 2014-15… the university will itself enroll all otherwise uninsured graduate and foreign students in the plan. Notre Dame has declared in court that to do what it is doing now would be scandalous. And it is doing this voluntarily. It could have dropped the program or switched to a self-insured program free of the mandate.”
Both sides see this new development of Notre Dame as a defining response in how this case for religious freedom will continue to develop.
“As a student from a private school, I am disheartened. As a conservative, I am not surprised that the liberal agenda has worked its way into another private school,” said Thomas Gaudet, director of political initiative for Franciscan University’s Students for Life. “And as a Catholic, I pray for and urge our bishops and religious leaders to discipline our private institutions and ensure they fully represent our Church.”