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viewpoint

Statement on insurance changes

| Friday, March 2, 2018

We, the Executive Board of the Notre Dame Chapter of University Faculty for Life, echo Bishop Kevin Rhoades in expressing support for Notre Dame’s plan to remove some abortifacient drugs from its health plan and begin offering natural family planning services. We are sincerely grateful to Fr. Jenkins for making these changes.

We also fully support Fr. Jenkins’s plan to positively present the Church’s teaching on contraception to health plan enrollees, and appreciate his eloquent description of “Humanae vitae’s” prophetic nature.

However, like Bishop Rhoades, we disagree with Notre Dame’s decision to begin directly providing what Fr. Jenkins calls “simple” contraceptives for several related reasons.

First, contraception is against Catholic teaching, as explained in “Humanae vitae,” “Evangelium Vitae” and the Catechism (#2370). The administration’s wish to honor the conscience rights of those who use contraception does not justify the University taking an active role in providing the contraceptive drugs.

Second, we are concerned about the criteria that will be used for determining whether a drug is a “simple” contraceptive. The term “simple contraceptives” is not a medical term. We believe it is imperative to exclude all drugs and devices that may function by causing the death of a newly-conceived embryonic human being. According to FDA labeling and well-established scientific evidence, this includes copper IUDs, EllaOne (the so-called week-after pill and Plan B (morning-after pill). It may very well include other drugs and devices.

Third, we find exceedingly troubling the idea that any Notre Dame employee or student would financially “rely on” the contraception benefit (as stated in Fr. Jenkins’s letter), which is worth no more than a few hundred dollars a year. If there are employees or students on campus who must sacrifice basic necessities in order to pay an expense of a few hundred dollars — whether that expense be contraceptives or something else — we would suggest that the Christian solution would be for the University to pay a just wage or to give more financial aid, rather than pay for contraceptives.

Sincerely,

Executive Board

ND Chapter of UFL

Martijn Cremers

president

Jeff Burks

vice president

Madeline Bradley

secretary-treasurer

Gabriel Reynolds

executive board member

David Solomon

executive board member

March 1

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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