"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock."
-- Thomas Jefferson
Several weeks ago there was a firestorm of controversy around comments made before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee by Sandra Fluke, a 30-year-old Georgetown University Law student who demanded the nation's oldest Jesuit and Catholic institution provide contraceptives in the student health care program despite its religious beliefs.
The event was staged to appear as if the reported "23-year-old" Fluke was offering testimony in a Congressional hearing that "without insurance coverage, contraception can cost a woman over $3,000 during law school." The faux drama found oral contraceptives to be available in the area for $4 per month to students paying $24,417.50 per semester, or almost $50,000 per school year for law school tuition.
By pressuring Catholic institutions that include schools, universities, hospitals and other organizations, the Obama administration was moving forward with a key provision in the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" rammed through Congress by Democrats. This provision mandated that all insurance coverage include women's health services that include "abortion-related drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization," all in direct opposition to the teachings of the Catholic Church.
Remember, the goal of the act was to increase access to insurance coverage. The opposite is occurring due to this provision.
In addition to corporations and small businesses weighing options to avoid participating in the federally mandated insurance program, the Franciscan University of Steubenville has announced that its students will not have access to health care coverage beginning in the upcoming academic year.
Specifically, the university's website featured this official statement:
"The Obama Administration has mandated that all health insurance plans must cover 'women's health services' including contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing medications as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Up to this time, Franciscan University has specifically excluded these services and products from its student health insurance policy, and we will not participate in a plan that requires us to violate the consistent teachings of the Catholic Church on the sacredness of human life.
"Due to these changes in regulation by the federal government, beginning with the 2012-13 school year, the University 1) will no longer require that all full-time undergraduate students carry health insurance, 2) will no longer offer a student health insurance plan, and 3) will no longer bill those not covered under a parent/guardian plan or personal plan for student health insurance."
With 13 percent of America's hospitals being Catholic hospitals, this trend could result in more "uninsured" because of a political demand that those of faith abandon their beliefs.
It seems to be a pattern of this administration, and dangerously an expanding agenda, to take articles and teachings of faith, attempt to redefine them and marginalize individuals with those beliefs, all in the name of politics.
These actions are harming sectors of our economy, such as health care, and destroying institutions with a selective reverence of the Constitution.