I, like many other Georgetown students, let out a sigh of relief upon reading the most recent e-mail from President DeGioia. This e-mail announced that contraceptive coverage would be available to everyone on the University’s insurance plan with no additional cost to them or the University. This controversial change in Georgetown’s insurance policy is occurring thanks to the new health care law which is officially titled the Affordable Care Act, which requires employers to provide contraceptive coverage.

Regulations finalized by the Obama Administration in late June declared that the insurance companies themselves must pay directly for contraceptive services for those at non-profit organizations that oppose providing contraceptive coverage on religious grounds, such as Georgetown. DeGioia believes that these regulations “give us the opportunity to reconcile our religious identity and our commitment to providing access to affordable health care” and I couldn’t agree more.

Our Jesuit identity informs all aspects of student life at Georgetown, encouraging the community to care for the whole person and celebrate interfaith dialogue. Providing contraceptive coverage for students on the University’s health insurance plan furthers those aims, as it enables us to make our own health care decisions and acknowledges the reality that not every student at Georgetown shares its views on contraception. A student should not be forced to choose between her reproductive health care and her university – thanks to this update to the health insurance plans, they no longer have to.

As a member of H*yas for Choice, an independent pro-choice organization at Georgetown, making contraception more accessible to students is something I feel passionately about. Having spent hours in Red Square, our free speech zone in the center of campus, handing out condoms to students as they travel between classes, I can attest to the need for such resources and how appreciative the student body is that H*yas for Choice works hard to make those resources available. This update to the health insurance policy makes even more reproductive health care resources available, allowing students to truly care for the whole person. I thank the University for taking this step in the right direction and protecting the health of its students.