Letter Calls For Contraceptive Coverage
Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 02:04
University officials received a letter Thursday signed by almost half of Georgetown Law Center’s student body requesting that Georgetown include contraception coverage in student insurance plans for the 2012-2013 school year.
Georgetown Law Students for Reproductive Justice submitted the letter, which cited a decision by the Department of Health and Human Services to require all universities to cover women’s preventative services in their student insurance plans beginning in the coming school year.
Religiously affiliated institutions, however, have been given the option to delay coverage for a year. This would allow Georgetown to continue to exclude contraception from student insurance plans, an option the signatories of the letter opposed.
“It is the morally correct decision, and it is in line with the Jesuit creed of cura personalis, to care for the whole person,” the letter read.
According to Kelly Percival (LAW ’13), co-president of LSRJ, the letter is intended to show the level of student support for immediate coverage. Signed first by Sandra Fluke (LAW ’12), who has received a firestorm of media attention in recent months for her advocacy of contraception in insurance plans, the letter includes over 780 Georgetown Law student signatures.
“We’re just asking [the university] not to delay one extra year,” she said. “Delaying it is a strong statement on how they really feel about student health.”
In order to obtain signatures, Percival, Fluke and other supporters posted the letter online and sent it to student organizations and friends. They also tabled at the Law Center and solicited support in classrooms.
“We knew there was a lot of support for it, but we weren’t sure how much,” she said. “We were really thrilled with the overwhelming support that we got in the end.”
According to university spokeswoman Stacy Kerr, Georgetown has received other letters from several groups regarding the inclusion of contraception coverage in Georgetown’s health insurance plans. She did not comment on whether these petitions would affect the university’s position.
“University leaders have heard from groups on all sides of the issue of student health plans,” Kerr wrote in an email. “Their concerns have been clearly articulated, and the leadership of the university is grateful for the respectful dialogue that students and faculty with differing views have engaged in over the past few months.”
One such letter, which included 103 signatures from students and alumni, requested that the university clarify its position on contraception to be in keeping with church teaching.
Although the university has not yet responded to these most recent letters, University President John J. DeGioia previously replied to a letter from law school faculty calling for a commission to consider the university’s health plans. In the letter, DeGioia noted that students are not required to purchase health care from the university. He also maintained that the current policy is consistent with Georgetown’s Jesuit ideals.
According to Percival, LSRJ is currently working to draft further petitions in collaboration with H*yas for Choice and students at Georgetown’s School of Medicine.