WASHINGTON — Georgetown University’s health insurance received national attention after Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke attempted to testifyabout it in front of a congressional committee.
But despite the uproar that resulted — Fluke was denied a chance to speak, then called a “slut” by radio show host Rush Limbaugh — Georgetown announced Thursday that it wouldn’t make any changes to its contraception coverage.
“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,” wrote Georgetown President John DeGioia in a release to the university.
Under its current practice, Georgetown, which is a Jesuit university, denies students coverage for contraception if it is used for birth control. DeGioia said that Thursday’s decision was “consistent with our Catholic and Jesuit identity,” echoing commentary by conservatives who have termed the battle over contraception coverage a religious freedom issue.
UPDATE 7:19 p.m EST: Law Students for Reproductive Justice, a student group at Georgetown, issued a statement on Thursday condemning the university’s decision. “Georgetown LSRJ is deeply disturbed to learn that Georgetown University President John DeGioia has decided not to comply with the final rule of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requiring comprehensive contraceptive coverage in 2012 student insurance,” they wrote. “We believe President DeGioia’s decision is an affront to the health concerns of the Georgetown student body. Georgetown LSRJ has extensively documented that Georgetown’s current policy does not adequately meet students’ medical needs for contraception.”
Fluke, a past president of the group, also issued her own statement. “I think many current and future alumni like myself, when contacted for alumni donations, will remember this decision, and remember that President DeGioia didn’t meet with students to even discuss our concerns,” she said.