Birth control on religious campus

Sarah C is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Students are unsure about participating in protests

Birth control coverage is yet another stress factor in a student’s life. The President Donald J. Trump-led administration has taken a few actions which could make birth control prescription insurance coverage uncertain in the future. The Trump administration on October 6 released a brand new rule making it much easier for all employers having religious objections to get an exemption from the Affordable Care Act. Universities like Washington D.C.'s prestigious Georgetown began providing mandated contraceptive coverage to both its students and faculty in 2013. This facility came into effect as part of a compromise with the federal government. The compromise permits religious objectors to opt out of contraceptive coverage.

The new administrative rule introduced by Trump has made students unsure about whether the coverage would continue as before. Conservative universities are said to be presently reviewing new regulations. The existing coverage will be applicable for 2018 but afterwards coverage is uncertain. Most universities have not released any statement to either faculty or students in this regard.

A few universities, however, have already announced their faculty and students will not lose their birth control coverage at the calendar year-end. The University of Notre Dame is one of them. In an email sent to all students and staff, the university authorities announced they have taken the decision to reverse the October plan of eliminating all contraceptive coverage from the health plans chosen by employees.

The problem is even if health insurance coverage is available, birth control access on religious schools' campuses is not guaranteed. This problem has been known to activist groups, who are fiercely opposing contraceptive restrictions prevalent on religious campuses. Members of H*yas for Choice, a group of undergraduate students of Georgetown University, distribute condoms to fellow students.

Where opposition towards those students is particularly fierce, as at Boston College in Massachusetts, students hands out condoms outside the college campus. Boston College authorities have threatened the students with disciplinary action. Not all students do activities contrary to university ethos. Student groups in such educational institutions are wary of making any statement which could run afoul of the university's position on sexual health and contraception. There is also the constant danger of losing access to resources and funding.

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