The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Xavier University, generally in the news for defying Church teaching, will discontinue birth-control insurance coverage for its employees:

In a letter posted on the university website today, Xavier President Michael J. Graham said the national debate over President Barack Obama’s proposals on mandatory contraception coverage prompted him to review existing health coverages at the university. Graham concluded that, “absent a legal mandate, it is inconsistent for a Catholic institution to cover those drugs and procedures which the church opposes.”

Therefore, he directed the Office of Human Resources to work with the university’s insurance carrier, Humana, “to no longer cover sterilizations and contraceptives, except for cases of medical necessity for non-contraceptive purposes, effective as of July 1, 2012.”

If anyone has information as to what role, if any, Archbishop Schnurr and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati played in this decision, share it in the comment box.

The Enquirer has added additional content to the story and ends it on a high note:

Chris Hale, a recent Xavier graduate who now lives in the Washington, D.C., area, recognizes the decision will affect many people, but he lauded Graham for “his efforts to uphold the university’s Jesuit and Catholic identity.”

“I do not see how Father Graham – as a Catholic priest and as the president of a Catholic university – could have acted in any other manner,” Hale wrote via email. “In his role as a priest and president, Father Graham has both the moral and formal obligation to protect the university’s Jesuit and Catholic values – including the Church’s teachings regarding contraception.”

“As a proud alumnus of Xavier, I pray that all involved be careful to not use inflammatory rhetoric to disparage others and their deeply-held positions on this issue,” Hale said.

In February, The Enquirer reported that as many as 75,000 workers throughout Greater Cincinnati – about 12 percent of those who have insurance through their jobs – lacked contraceptive insurance. Many of them work at hospitals, doctors’ offices, universities or other large Catholic institutions at which reproductive services violate the church’s ethical and religious directives. Those companies have long had to balance how to follow Catholic beliefs, yet also fit in with federal programs and serve employees who may be non-Catholics.

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