Wheaton College does its best to win the race to the bottom when it comes to women’s health.
It is pretty much settled that having health insurance is important for both your health and your economic security. And thanks to the health care law, there is now a requirement that health plans cover birth control without any additional costs like co-pays or deductibles.
As part of the birth control benefit, the Administration created an “accommodation” for certain non-profit organizations. The accommodation allows them to opt out of providing birth control in their insurance plans. So Wheaton College just has to say they don’t want to provide health insurance coverage of contraceptives. Once they do that, the college is off the hook and the insurance company itself is responsible for making sure students still have access to birth control without additional costs.
Religious non-profits don’t have to provide birth control coverage but women still get the health care coverage they need. Everyone is happy right? Wrong. Wheaton College says this opt-out still violates its religious exercise. The college claims it is a burden on their religious exercise to tell someone else that they want to opt out of the law because of a religious objection to providing birth control. They even went to court over this.
Thankfully, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals was not buying it. In no uncertain terms, Judge Posner made clear that “the college has no case.”
That should mean that Wheaton just has to register its objection, and students at Wheaton College have access to birth control coverage through the accommodation. But Wheaton College still refuses.
So the college is just going to stop offering health insurance for its students. Let me repeat that — the college will not offer health insurance *at all* for their students.
That means no birth control coverage, but it also means students with the flu or broken legs or who need other kinds of critical health care will either have to find another source of coverage or pay out of pocket. And we all know students have tons of extra money lying around to pay for things like that.
When asked to justify this temper tantrum, the Vice President of Student Development responded, “we are attempting to protect the larger lawsuit the college has.” Right, because that’s what you need to protect — your lawsuit, not your students.
Thank you, Wheaton College for making clear how much you care about the health of your students.