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DePaul Offers Birth Control in Health Plan

By Chris Bentley in News on Feb 10, 2012 4:30PM

2011_10_28_depaul.jpg Amid the Republican-led furor over the Obama administration’s requirement that even religious-affiliated employers provide prescription birth control, the nation’s largest Catholic university said this week it covers contraception as part of its health care benefit package.

The 1,800 employee-university covers contraception in both its fully-insured HMO plan and its self-insured PPO. DePaul responded to a complaint from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission several years ago and added artificial contraception as a benefit to its Blue Cross PPO.

DePaul University’s admission seems to contradict the Republican refrain that the contraception requirement, which is part of the Affordable Care Act, is an unprecedented attack on religious freedom. The rule exempts houses of worship and religious nonprofits, but some Catholics say that protection is too narrow.

While the Vatican for the most part opposes contraception, 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women use birth control. The Affordable Care Act provision was modeled on contraceptive coverage requirements already on the books in 28 states, including Illinois. Nonetheless, Obama signaled he may pull out of that policy in the face of mounting GOP opposition.

DePaul, you may remember, also scored dead last on a campus sexual health report card released by Trojan (it was 139 out of 141 last year, too). Contraceptive availability factored into the rankings, so we wonder exactly how the Blue Demons must have irked Trojan — maybe they prefer Durex.