Fluke At Georgetown

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown Law student who challenged the Catholic university’s right to refuse to provide contraceptives in its insurance coverage, is still attempting to get the Jesuit school to change its policy.

Invited by a student group, with the aid of a faculty member, Fluke recently made her case to Georgetown undergrads. All of the above may be complicit in misinforming Georgetown’s student body.

Although the event was closed to the press, an intern from the Young America’s Foundation, who attends Georgetown, provided an account to the Cybercast News Service (CNS).  “The majority of Fluke’s talk centered around her insistence that contraception is a critical component of women’s preventative healthcare services,” Laurel Zigarelli recounted. “She referenced the need for contraceptives to combat ‘ovarian cysts, hormonal imbalances, endometriosis…a lot of medical issues,’ as she so eloquently stated. Fluke told stories of women that she knew who suffered lasting medical conditions, implying that these tragedies were a direct result of a lack of access to free contraception.

“Fluke then had the audacity to insist that Georgetown’s student health insurance policy must change simply because ‘most students don’t realize that contraception coverage will not be on their insurance’ when they arrive at Georgetown. Fluke said, ‘We’re used to having contraception readily available.’”

Partly as a reaction to the lecture, more than 100 concerned Hoyas, past and present, wrote a letter to Georgetown president John J. DeGioia requesting clarification of the school’s policy. “The primary issue is whether religious institutions such as Georgetown University should be mandated to provide contraceptive services,” they wrote. “Many university students seem to be unaware of both the Catholic Church’s teaching on providing hormonal prescriptions for medical conditions and the university’s exception within its insurance policy for such conditions.”

DeGioia responded with an open letter of his own. “As you know, like most universities, Georgetown requires that students have health insurance,” he wrote. “Students are not required to purchase their health insurance through Georgetown University and are free to acquire health insurance through a third party.”

“The student plan offered by Georgetown is consistent with our Catholic and Jesuit identity and does not cover prescription contraceptives for birth control. It does provide coverage for these prescriptions for students who require them for health reasons unrelated to birth control, as determined by a physician.”

“After thoughtful and careful consideration, we will continue our current practice for contraceptive coverage in our student health insurance for the coming year, as allowed for under the current rules issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.”

“There will also be no change to the University’s approach to contraceptive coverage for employees for 2013.”

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org.