Notre Dame University is seen by some as a beacon of progressive Catholic thought and by others as second only to Georgetown University as being Catholic in name only. This week the university's leaders did something that confounded simply everyone: Decide to provide contraceptive coverage in their health plan despite only a week before stating they would not do so.
In early November, Notre Dame announced it’d take advance of the Trump administration’s recent rollback of contraceptive coverage. Previously, the Affordable Care Act had required employers to pick up the tab. The Trump administration weakened that provision by allowing nearly any employer claiming it had religious or moral objections to birth control to refuse to provide it.
On Nov. 7, the university announced it would dump that same religious exemption –- with no explanation. An Atlantic article on “Why Notre Dame Changed Course on Contraception” doesn’t make things clearer.
Notre Dame announced on Tuesday that faculty, students, and staff will be able to obtain coverage for contraceptives through their university-sponsored insurance plans. The surprise decision is a reversal of the school’s announcement last week that it would discontinue birth-control coverage in light of new religious-freedom protections put in place by the Trump administration. ...
Although the administration claims it reversed course out of respect for the diversity of its community, it’s not clear why it wouldn’t have taken faculty and student objections into account years ago. Meanwhile, religious-freedom advocates see the university’s move as a setback for their cause, because it potentially casts doubt on the sincerity and depth of moral objections to birth control.
As I scanned other news pieces on Notre Dame’s sudden course change, it’s clear other journalists hadn’t gotten to the bottom of the story either.
Still, I’m puzzled as to why the Atlantic claims to have found the reason.