The University of Notre Dame has approved a student health-insurance plan that features contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs and other preventive services covered under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate.
The university’s decision to provide the group health plan for students comes as Notre Dame pursues its legal challenge to the HHS mandate. Critics thus expressed concern that the move could undermine the university’s legal case, especially when other options were available for circumventing compliance requirements for the mandate.
“The university need not provide student health insurance at all,” said Gerard Bradley, a constitutional scholar at Notre Dame’s law school, who outlined the options available to university administrators.
Bradley noted that only group health plans must comply with the mandate. Consequently, the university also had another option: It could have opted to self-insure the plan for students and avoid coverage of services that violate Catholic teaching.
Earlier this year, Notre Dame denied recognition to a group supporting traditional marriage. Throw in that and the flap over President Obama receiving an honorary degree and speaking there, along with some other moves, and Notre Dame’s Catholic character appears to be in the process of being degraded.
If nothing else, this move makes the HHS mandate suit the university is engaged in more complicated.