If you’re a female student on Point Loma’s Student Health Insurance Plan, you probably received a notification from Personal Insurance Administrators, Inc. that while the Affordable Care Act requires contraceptive coverage for all women, Point Loma has an accommodation that allows it to “not contract, arrange, pay for, or refer to contraceptive services.”
Instead, you have the option of paying for your birth control separately, out of your own pocket. Essentially, you were informed that Point Loma refuses to pay for any sort of birth control, regardless of your personal reasons for taking birth control.
Many women use birth control for their own personal health reasons. Some use it to relieve menstrual discomfort, some use it for skin care, some use it for hormonal regulation, some are married. Every woman has her own personal reason for using birth control, and many of them are completely innocent with the purpose of personal healthcare.
I was really curious as to why Point Loma was so adamant about not providing birth control to its female students. The school website was not very helpful (searches for “contraceptive coverage”, “birth control”, and “affordable care act” did not include germane results, nor did its page on Student Health Insurance Policy), but politico.com did have an article that states that Obamacare has allowed for an accommodation to contraceptive coverage for religious non-profits, so they do not have to pay the fines for not covering birth control in their health insurance plans. So, because their first amendment right to religious freedom, Point Loma has the right to deny female students birth control coverage.
Is this smart? No.
Let’s be honest: college kids have sex, regardless of an affiliation to a religious university. And while this is unfortunate, it is realistic. Encouraging safe sex with birth control could potentially spare a lot of lives from horrendous repercussions.
BUT does birth control encourage college kids to have sex? About as much as guns encourage people to shoot each other, but that’s another issue altogether.
The Supreme Court case Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby stated that the religious owners of Hobby Lobby were most concerned with providing coverage for contraceptives that terminated human life, like “morning after” pills and IUDs. And admittedly these forms of contraception are used most by women engaging in sexual activity.
So what if we compromised? What if Point Loma’s Student Health Insurance Policy included coverage for forms of birth control used by female students for personal healthcare? Point Loma does not have to advocate sex outside of marriage, and it does not have to comply with the Affordable Care Act because of its religious foundation. But it should provide students with comprehensive health plans, and birth control can be a critical part of a woman’s healthcare.
Providing birth control for health purposes is completely different than advocating premarital sex. For the benefit of the female student body, Point Loma Nazarene University should seriously reconsider its 2014-2015 Student Health Insurance Plan, in order to best provide healthcare for female students.