Xavier University has made public its decision to continue insurance coverage of contraception and sterilization, following an April decision to end that coverage.
The policy change, affecting the 950 employees of the institution, was made known by Father Michael J. Graham, the university's president, in an interview with The Cincinnati Enquirer published Sept. 21.
The decision to maintain contraception coverage was made following the Supreme Court's June 28 decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. According to Fr. Graham, the school reasoned that after Aug. 1, 2013, coverage would be required by the government and that compliance should be made now.
“We will comply with the law,” he told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Fr. Graham, a Jesuit, said he believes universities should set a moderate example for the rest of the country, despite his strong disagreement with the contraception mandate.
“An example that universities ought to set for the country as a whole is the holding of the (political) center,” he said.
In April, Fr. Graham reviewed Xavier University's health care policy amidst controversy over the Obama administration's mandate requiring insurance coverage of contraception and sterilization under the new health care law.
He discovered that the employee health insurance already covered contraceptives, and chose to end that coverage effective July 1.
“As a Catholic priest and as president of a Catholic university, I have concluded that, absent a legal mandate, it is inconsistent for a Catholic institution to cover those drugs and procedures the Church opposes,” he said in an April 2 letter to members of the Xavier community.
His decision was criticized by portions of the university's faculty, because of a lack of “shared governance” and the fact that it would take effect in the middle of the year.
The HHS mandate requires that virtually all employers, even religious ones, provide employees with health insurance that covers contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs, despite any moral and religious reservations of conscience they might have.
More than 100 plaintiffs have now filed at least 34 lawsuits against the federal government challenging the contraception mandate.
Plaintiffs include religious organizations, for-profit businesses, and private individuals. Several non-Catholic employers and religious institutions have challenged the suit, including Wheaton College and two Baptist universities.
Seven Catholic universities are among the plaintiffs in lawsuits challenging the mandate according to a report by the Cardinal Newman Society.