In a reversal of school policy, the University of Notre Dame announced this week that it would continue to cover contraceptives for its employees, according to a report in the South Bend Tribune.
The news marked a departure from Notre Dame’s announcement on Nov. 1 that birth control would only be covered free of charge for medical reasons. With the policy reversal, a third-party insurance provider will continue to offer contraceptives and birth control to Notre Dame employees with no copay.
Employers like Notre Dame were able to revoke insurance coverage for contraceptives as a result of the Trump administration's decision to roll back an Obama-era federal mandate that birth control be included in health insurance plans.
Notre Dame had long opposed a birth control mandate due to its affiliation with the Catholic Church, which opposes the use of contraception. After the Trump administration's decision in October, Notre Dame University President Fr. John Jenkins praised the Justice Department on the basis of religious freedom.
"We welcome this reversal and applaud the attorney general’s statement that ‘except in the narrowest circumstances, no one should be forced to choose between living out his or her faith and complying with the law,'" Jenkins said in a statement.
Days after Jenkins' statement, Notre Dame students rallied on campus in support of reproductive rights, according to a report in the campus newspaper, The Observer.
"It is extremely important to voice opposition to our university’s patriarchal attempt to control the bodies and reproductive choices of its employees," graduate student Kate Bermingham, one of the rally's organizers, told The Observer at the time.
Under the Affordable Care Act, Penn Student Health insurance plans continue to cover birth control "without co-pay or deductible," according to the Student Health Service webpage. Despite this policy, Penn students have remained apprehensive in recent months amid the uncertain political climate surrounding birth control.
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