Like many religious organizations, and many businesses that aren’t related to religion but whose owners say that their businesses have a religion too, Notre Dame is offended by the idea that the health care plans it provides for employees and students must include coverage for contraceptives.
Accordingly, the university has filed a lawsuit demanding an exemption from the rule.
Exemptions have already been given to certain organizations that are explicitly religious, such as churches. However, many businesses and organizations that are either affiliated with religious institutions or that are simply owned by religious people are also requesting exceptions.
The courts have already offered a compromise: if a business doesn’t want to purchase contraceptive-inclusive health plans, it may instead contract with a third party who will provide contraceptive coverage to employees.
Still, some business owners and organizations feel that is too hands-on for them. The argument goes that birth control is a sin, enabling a sin is a sin, and if they make it possible for their employees to acquire contraceptives, they’ll be sinning by association.
Many have raised the question of whether those holding these ideologies are aware of how many sins they enable by providing a paycheck, but there has been no answer offered.
But what do those who would be benefiting from the health care plans think?
Three students at Notre Dame, who are remaining anonymous for the time being, say they want birth control.
They have filed a motion to have their view considered in the lawsuit, since they would be directly affected by the outcome. They say the university should provide birth control in its health care coverage, and they believe that they aren’t alone in this stance. They asked several staff members to join their motion to intervene, and believe that part of the reason they found no takers was fear of retaliation.
Similar fears, along with concerns about having to disclose private medical or personal information, motivates the students’ own anonymity.
While the three are the first to challenge one of these anti-contraceptive suits, perhaps thanks to their bravery, they will not be the last.