Georgetown University’s student insurance program came under fire a few months ago during an unofficial congressional hearing after student and activist Sandra Fluke criticized its lack of birth control coverage. Since Fluke’s testimony, the university has been under mounting pressure to change its birth control coverage policy immediately. But today, Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia confirmed in a letter to students that the university will not change its policy until it’s required to by law:
As you know, like most universities, Georgetown requires that students have health insurance. Students are not required to purchase their health insurance through Georgetown University and are free to acquire health insurance through a third party. The student plan offered by Georgetown is consistent with our Catholic and Jesuit identity and does not cover prescription contraceptives for birth control. It does provide coverage for these prescriptions for students who require them for health reasons unrelated to birth control, as determined by a physician.
Here’s more evidence suggesting that the New York Times “trend” story on how women are bolting from the GOP and flocking to the Obama campaign was complete fantasy. And the latest contradictions come from the New York Times’own poll:
In the head-to-head matchups, Mr. Obama also maintained much of the advantage he had built in the last year among important constituencies, including women, although he lost some support among women over the past month, even as the debate raged over birth control insurance coverage.
Mr. Obama appears to be retaining much of his gains among important demographic groups, erasing inroads that Republicans made in 2010, especially among women. But his falling approval rating in the last month extended to his handling of both the economy and foreign policy, the poll found.
It is amazing how quickly “free birth control” became the next civil rights issue. Until recently, I never noticed that Catholic employers refusing to cover birth control costs had created a public crisis, forcing women across the country to pay a staggering $9 a month for the Pill.
Which is of course because this isn’t a crisis, it’s a fake controversy. There’s no vital public interest in forcing religious employers to provide insurance for contraceptives, and you don’t have to be anti-birth control to think that. Though it does help to have the bare-minimum of tolerance for other people’s personal beliefs.
I just wanted to add an additional thought to what Alana wrote regarding Senator Rick Santorum. It isn’t simply that he spoke about his private beliefs on contraception; it’s that he publicly and proudly declared he would, as president, hold forth on the subject (see here for more).
It was Santorum, not the liberal media, who said, “One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea. Many in the Christian faith have said, ‘Well, that’s okay. Contraception’s okay.’ It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” It was Santorum, not MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who said, “I know most presidents don’t talk about those things, and maybe people don’t want us to talk about those things, but I think it’s important that you are who you are. I’m not running for preacher. I’m not running for pastor, but these are important public policy issues. These have profound impact on the health of our society.”
So for Santorum, a man for whom I have respect, to say it’s a “bogus issue,” that to bring it up is “just absurd” and is an example of “gotcha politics,” just isn’t right.
BuzzFeed posted this audio clip today under the headline “Santorum Loses His Cool During Interview With Cincinnati Radio Station.” I’m not sure what exactly they’re referring to, because honestly Santorum stays pretty even-keeled throughout the interview. He also does what he should be doing every time he’s asked about his views on birth control: call it out as a ridiculous, media-manufactured issue, and pivot back to attacking President Obama’s record.
Santorum: It’s a bogus issue. It’s just absurd. It’s a legal product, it should remain a legal product. It’s up to people to decide what to do. This is what the national media does. They don’t want us to be able to talk about Barack Obama’s pathetic record on the economy and jobs, so they bring up issues…This is my opinion on my personal faith, and they’re all of a sudden saying ‘Well, he must want to do this with everyone else.’ Well that’s just crazy. This is what the media does. They try to change the subject. I’m not going to let them. We’re going to talk about creating jobs, we’re going to talk about reducing energy prices, and we’re going to focus on what’s important to Americans, as opposed to what the media wants to do, which is to play gotcha politics.
At the Washington Examiner, Tim Carney flags an offensively dishonest attack on opponents of the contraception insurance mandate from the Obama campaign’s website. The campaign published a fake birth control “permission slip” that would supposedly be filled out by an employee and employer. It reads:
Employer Authorization for Contraception
I have discussed the employee’s contraceptive options with her, and I verify that her use of these methods (IS/IS NOT) in agreement with my personal beliefs. The employee (DOES/DOES NOT) have my permission to access birth control pills, intrauterine devices, or any other types of contraception.
This decision is only valid until the next evaluation of the employee’s contraception plans.