Ruling on Contraception Draws Battle Lines at Catholic Colleges


Bridgette Dunlap, a Fordham University law student, knew that the school’s health plan had to pay for birth control pills, in keeping with New York state law. What she did not find out until she was in an examining room, “in the paper dress,” was that the student health service — in keeping with Roman Catholic tenets — would simply refuse to prescribe them.

As a result, students have had to go to Planned Parenthood or private doctors to get prescriptions. Some, unable to afford the doctor visits, gave up birth control pills entirely. In November, Ms. Dunlap, 31, who was raised a Catholic and was educated at parochial schools, organized a one-day, off-campus clinic staffed by volunteer doctors who wrote prescriptions for dozens of women.

Many Catholic colleges decline to prescribe or cover birth control, citing religious reasons. Now they are under pressure to change. This month the Obama administration, citing the medical case for birth control, made a politically charged decision that the new health care law requires insurance plans at Catholic institutions to cover birth control without co-payments for employees, and that may be extended to students. But Catholic organizations are resisting the rule, saying it would force them to violate their beliefs and finance behavior that betrays Catholic teachings.

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  • dougindeap

    Some, including apparently the Church, have resorted to lies in their tirades against the health care law. Contrary to wild-eyed cries to the contrary, IT DOES NOT FORCE EMPLOYERS TO ACT CONTRARY TO THEIR BELIEFS. In keeping with the law, those with conscientious objections to providing their employees with qualifying health plans may decline to provide any health plans and pay an assessment instead or, alternatively, provide health plans that do not qualify (e.g., ones without provisions they deem objectionable) and pay lower assessments.

    Questions about the government requiring or prohibiting something that conflicts with someone’s faith are entirely real, but not new. The courts have occasionally confronted such issues and have generally ruled that the government cannot enact laws specifically aimed at a particular religion (which would be regarded a constraint on religious liberty contrary to the First Amendment), but can enact laws generally applicable to everyone or at least broad classes of people (e.g., laws concerning pollution, contracts, fraud, crimes, discrimination, employment, etc.) and can require everyone, including those who may object on religious grounds, to abide by them. Were it otherwise and people could opt out of this or that law with the excuse that their religion requires or allows it, the government and the rule of law could hardly operate.

  • Laurence Almand

    The reason the Roman Catholic Church is against birth control is because it wants to increase its own wealth and political power. Throughout its entire history, the Catholic Church has ruthlessly exploited women, using them as nothing more than brood mares.

    If a female chooses to use birth control pills it is her right to do so, regardless of midieval church dogma. The Pills can have serious side effects, however, so it is better to avoid them.

    By the way, have these women never heard of IUDs? Safer than the pill and more convenient. Also, diaphrams are a bit of a nuisance, but are better than becoming pregnant. And what about condoms, available in any drugstore?

  • tommyboy

    Keep your legs crossed or buy a personal vibrator. I don't want to pay for your casual sexual activity. The gubmint would find it a lot cheaper to supply vibrators than the pill or whatever.

    • marylou5

      Next best thing is if you keep it in your pants or have responsible sex!

  • sanysue

    i have no problem with birth control.. i feel every woman that wants it should have access.. however now we have a problem again because of obama's big goverment.. he's trying to control religion and peoples me thats unacceptable to..obama would be the first one to scream if the people told obama ok you cant be a muslum ass and incompetent president, you have to be a real christian.. not the christian that he spouts off about god to get votes and to cover up his illegel activities or his breaking another one of our laws. not " God Bless the United States of America". he's a hypocritc and a obama will be telling us you cant be christian, and your churchs have to go, everyones muslum..

  • Patriot Diva

    It's just not right to force a person to do something they feel is immoral. This story is not about whether it's ok to use contraception. It's about all powerful federal government stomping on our freedoms.

  • Lisa from Virginia

    ALL CHURCHES banned birth control. Then in the 1930's the Episcolpal Church said it was OK in certain, limited circumstances. Then other Church followed suit. The Catholic Church, founded by Jesus 2,000 years ago, holds firm to His teachings. That is why satan hates it so much.
    "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will NOT overcome it." ~Matt. 16:17-19

    • Patriot Diva

      Google Jesuits, New World Order, and Eric Jon Phelps. This is not an endightment of you or Catholics, but those in the church's power structure. (Btw I'm a former Catholic now attending a nondemoninational christian church)

  • Daniel from TN

    I said it before and I repeat it now. The US government is out of control, regardless of which political party is in the majority. Congress has no intention of even trying to correct the situation. Our only hope of reigning in the federal government is through a Constitutional Convention. The first convention, which produced the Bill of Rights, was called because there was a need to call it. Today, there is a need for a second convention; a convention to reminding Congress of its limits and place it back under those limits. I realize a convention has the potential to open a political can of worms, but has anyone taken a CLOSE look at the direction OUR country, not Congress' country, is heading at this time. Changes are needed. Congress does not want to make those changes. Only the state can rescue the country at this time.

  • Lisa from Virginia

    On Huckabee (in honor of the March of Life today), Carol Everett was a guest. Carol was a former abortion clinic owner. She was on target to make $1M and turned Pro Life. Carol says the counselor that the girl speaks to on the telephone is paid to be her friend. She is supposed to seduce her into a friendship of sorts to sell her the abortion. Goal of 3-5 abortions per each girl aged 13-18. PP hopes they would use abortion as a birth control method. #1 REASON FOR ABORTION? FAILED CONTRACEPTION. PLANNED PARENTHOOD PURPOSELY GIVES LOW DOSE BIRTH CONTROL PILLS. PP does not mention they have to be take the SAME TIME each day to be effective.

    Standard PP response to: Is it a baby? "No, it's product of conception; it's a blood clot; it's a piece of tissue." I cannot tell you one thing that happens in an abortion clinic that is not a lie.
    Best to inform yourselves and go to: ProLifeAction dot org and see what Carol, now pro life has to say.

  • A. Reginald

    There's a lot more to this than just birth control. Once the camel gets its nose under the tent it doesn't take long for it to get the whole body inside. While I am not against the use of "birth control" medication, I am against this oppressive government taking control of the consciences of any church organization. Once it manages to get the Catholic church hearded onto the reservation how long do you think it will be before it tries to force other churches to disobey conscience. We already see it doing so in the Military – intimidating chaplains who have reservations about performing "Gay" marriages. Some have been threatened with disnmissal and/or prosecution.

  • Bob


  • pearl

    Yes, may positive benefits, if increased risk of breast cancer, uterine cancer, and infertility rank s benefits. This order to require all health plans to cover pregnancy prevention is an attempt to usurp the religious rights of all Americans. There is no honest rationale which could result in naming birth-control a treatment which cures anything but fertility. On its face, this is hostile to humanity and belies a mentality which celebrates sterility and death.

    • Gerd

      You left out clotting disorders. I recall a college girl dying of blood clots in her lungs thought to be from bc pills. That is listed as a side "benefit" from those pills daves mentions.

  • daves

    Birth control has many positive benefits for women who are not sexually active.