The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires all insurance plans, including those offered by Catholic universities, to cover contraceptives. Boston College, like many Catholic colleges in the state, has dutifully complied with this law, even though Catholic teaching strongly opposes the use of artificial contraception.
Belmont Abby, a Catholic Benedictine college in Belmont, North Carolina, faced a similar dilemma in 2007. When the college realized that contraception, abortion, and sterilization were accidently covered in their employee health insurance packages they immediately removed coverage of these services from the plans.
Eight faculty members at Belmont Abby soon filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), alleging that the university “discriminated” against women by refusing to cover prescription contraceptives.
Belmont Abby could have apologized to the federal government, reinstated coverage of services in conflict with Catholic moral teaching, and gone about their business. But for this university, the Catholic teachings on human dignity and the sanctity of life took precedence over an unjust exercise of government power. Belmont Abby retained The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty to defend the college against allegations of discrimination. They utilized legal channels to fight the charges while raising awareness of the injustice in radio, newspaper, and magazine pieces.
BC is indeed required by Massachusetts law, and now federal HHS mandate, to offer contraceptive services in its employer-offered health care plans. But it is not required to stay silent and accept the government’s unjust policies. BC should make it very clear that contraceptive mandates are an attack on religious freedom and the university should do everything in its power to fight policies that are in direct conflict with Catholic moral teachings.