College Guide


October 31, 2012 3:28 PM Xavier Backtracks

By Daniel Luzer

Back in April this year Xavier University, a Jesuit-affiliated college in Cincinnati, Ohio, announced that its employees’ health care plans would no longer cover birth control. Xavier President Michael J. Graham explained that the reason for the change was that “it is inconsistent for a Catholic institution to cover those drugs and procedures which the church opposes.” (Technically it wasn’t the Catholic institution covering the drugs; it was the insurance company, Humana, but whatever.)

Xavier has apparently made a different decision about how this works, however. According to an article by Libby Nelson at Inside Higher Ed:

Although the change was set to take effect July 1, contraception is still covered under the university’s employee insurance plan, a university spokeswoman said Friday.
The policy change was announced in an interview with The Cincinnati Enquirer, although the decision was made earlier, said Kelly Leon, a university spokeswoman. In the interview, the Jesuit university’s president, the Rev. Michael J. Graham, said he faults himself for his handling of the situation. While he disagrees strongly with the mandate, he told the newspaper, he said he believes universities should set a moderate example for the nation.

Xavier’s decision would have applied to employees July 1. After protests from the Xavier community the president agreed to keep the coverage until December.

But then, by the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold health care in June, all institutions would have to have insurance plans that covered birth control by 2013.

Given that, Xavier decided that it would just keep the coverage in place.

While the university’s policy is different from what it originally promised, it’s worth pointing out that Graham himself hasn’t actually changed his mind. His original statement was “absent a legal mandate, it is inconsistent for a Catholic institution to cover those drugs and procedures which the church opposes.” Well, now he’s got a legal mandate.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer