Symposium on Contraception and Conscience

October 1, 2012 — It was an event that was “especially close to home,” said Dean William M. Treanor at a September 21 symposium that looked at the legal and theological aspects of contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

“Last spring, one of our third-year students, Sandra Fluke (L’12), testified before a group of members of Congress on these precise issues,” Treanor said, noting that some “responded with the basest sort of name calling and vilification” because they disagreed with Fluke’s position.

“Here at Georgetown, that was a moment to reaffirm our commitment to train public-spirited lawyers, no matter which side of the issue they were on,” Treanor said. 

Professor Martin Lederman led a panel setting the legal stage — specifically, the lawsuits now challenging the Affordable Care Act requirement of coverage for women’s preventive care and the religious exemption to that requirement.

Georgetown University’s Michael Kessler (L’05), associate director of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, and John Langan, S.J., were among those discussing the law’s potential burden on the free exercise of religion, while a panel featuring Professors Gregg Bloche and Robin West continued the discussion on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, women’s equality and health, and birth control and the “common good.” 

“What I’ve seen today makes me really proud to be an academic,” said Washington and Lee University Law Professor Robin Fretwell Wilson at the end of the day. “We’ve not had this conversation nationally.”

More information about the conference (including videos) is available here.