College Guide


April 04, 2012 5:13 PM Xavier University Suddenly Decides Health Insurance Coverage for Birth Control Is Wrong

By Daniel Luzer


Apparently reacting to the new worry America’s Catholic bishops have developed about health insurance plans covering contraception, Xavier University will cut off birth-control coverage for staff in July. Xavier is a Jesuit-affiliated college in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hurry up and get sterilized, guys.

According to an article by Janice Morse in the Cincinnati Enquirer:

In a letter posted on the university website, Xavier President Michael J. Graham [right] said discussion of President Barack Obama’s proposals on mandatory contraception coverage prompted him to review existing health-insurance coverage at the university. Obama’s health-care law requires insurers to cover “preventive care” at no cost to the consumer.
Graham wrote that the compromise Obama advanced “is insufficient for a number of reasons, and it is likely that the constitutional issue of religious freedom at the heart of this controversy will be decided by the courts.”
Graham concluded that, “absent a legal mandate, it is inconsistent for a Catholic institution to cover those drugs and procedures which the church opposes.”

Graham also explained that he hopes that “the time between now and then will allow individuals in the University to prepare for this change.” It’s unclear why Graham believes that three months is an appropriate time for the institution to continue the sinful practice of birth control and sterilization coverage.

Graham, as a Catholic priest, will be personally unaffected by the policy change. The Xavier president did not indicate that employees will receive any more money in their paychecks, now their health insurance provider, Humana, will no longer cover contraception. [Image via]

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


  • Steve on April 04, 2012 7:16 PM:

    The EEOC has treated this sort of thing as gender discrimination ever since the Clinton era, so I sure hope they checked with their lawyers first.

  • ceilidth on April 04, 2012 10:19 PM:

    Here's my guess on what happened. Xavier U got leaned on by the local bishop after the discussion on birth control being covered by some Catholic institutions went public and they caved.

  • Eli Rabett on April 05, 2012 7:01 AM:

    Well, this is a great test of the proposition that if benefits are eliminated, Social Security, Medicare, health insurance, whatever, the employer will return the cost to the employee. Hint: Don't hold your breath

  • boatboy_srq on April 05, 2012 8:58 AM:

    "Graham, as a Catholic priest, will be personally unaffected by the policy change."

    You HAVE to be kidding. The only point at which Catholic priests will be "unaffected by [this] policy change," if history is any indicator, is when only quadriplegic eunuchs can become priests.

  • Philat on April 05, 2012 9:02 AM:

    Agree with cellidth. The bishop spoke; and Xavier's hierarchy listened. Too bad...oosava

  • low-tech cyclist on April 05, 2012 9:32 AM:

    So, do you have to be a Catholic to work at Xavier? If not (and I'm betting that's the case) then in their role as employer, they're just another secular employer, and when the new law takes effect, they'll have to cover birth control for their employees.

    And unless their students are required to attend Catholic worship services, take courses in Catholic doctrine, or otherwise be exposed to a specifically Catholic view of the world, then they're really not a religious college, either, and the health insurance they offer their students will also have to cover contraceptives.

    Fun times.

  • S. J. Vance on May 16, 2012 1:12 AM:

    The two degrees that I earned at Xavier have been a source of pride for over forty years, but this decision forces me to re-examine that pride. The ethics courses that I took under philosophers at X have been a guide for my personal and social behaviour for all of my adult life. This repudiation of those ethics in the face of raw heirarchical power is blatantly unethical and socially destructive. I will never give another penney to my alma mater until this ugly exercise of masculinist power is rescinded. I am ashamed of the ethical impotence of the current administration. You are an affront to all Jesuit philosophical principals.
    Sidney J. Vance