Thursday, January 01, 2009

Depriving Faculty of Abortion Coverage

I have a Google Alert for "University of San Francisco," and one of the stories that kept popping up over the last month involved what would *seem* to have been the university's inadvertent inclusion of abortion coverage in its health coverage for students.

I did not delve too deeply into these stories because I assumed the university could draw back from such coverage in its role in loco parentis. Students check many "rights" at the door. I could easily imagine that this was one instance when "rights" -- carefully and non-judgementally placed in quotes, you will note -- collided with church dogma.

But today Google unearthed the following, which suggests the university wants to withdraw such abortion coverage from staff and faculty.

I think it would be wrong to do so, a limiting of health rights, of individual choice regarding the physical and mental well being of the insured. But I have no idea if it is, in fact, illegal for an employer to say that certain standard medical procedures need not be a part of basic health insurance.

The law is what the law is. I know that. Perhaps employers if they offer health insurance can shape it as they will: no surgery on the left side of the body; no shirt no socks no treatment. Before I begin to huff and puff with too much indignation, I'm going to find out what the law actually is. But here's the story from

University of San Francisco Trying to Dump Abortion Coverage for Staff, Too

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 16, 2008

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San Francisco, CA ( -- The University of San Francisco, a Jesuit university that came under fire for including abortion coverage in its student health care plan, now says it is working to remove coverage for staff and employees, too. The Catholic college says the initial abortion coverage for students was a mistake.

After strong protests from the pro-life Catholic community led University of San Francisco (USF) officials to issue an explanation about the new student health plan it adopted, Gary McDonald, the director of Communications and Public Affairs, released a statement to saying, "It was not the University's intention to offer this coverage."

McDonald also promised that, "USF supports the Catholic Church's views on the sanctity of life, at all stages, and we will remove this provision from our student health plan."

Now, USF officials are going further after complaints that its health care plan for employees already covered abortions.

Our Sunday Visitor contributing editor Valerie Schmalz pressed the university on that issue and also on its health center referring students to abortion businesses.

McDonald told OSV that, "In light of recent inquiries, we are now aware that our protocol needs improvement. We are taking immediate steps to remedy this, and are in the process of developing a protocol to ensure that counseling and pro-life options are always provided at the USF clinic."

He also told the Catholic publication that the college is working on removing the provision in one of the two employee health plans that covers abortions.

"USF offers two options for employee health insurance, Blue Cross and Kaiser Permanente. Our Blue Cross claims procedure excludes coverage for surgical abortion," he explained.

"When USF negotiated its contract with Kaiser, we were unable to opt out of the plan's provision for termination of pregnancy," he added. "USF is in the process of working with Kaiser to see if the contract can be renegotiated and the provision eliminated."

ACTION: Contact USF and thank them for removing the pro-abortion student health care plan and urge them to continue eliminating abortion from its employee plans. Contact the school at University of San Francisco, Office of the President, 2130 Fulton St., San Francisco, CA 94117, call (415) 422-6762, or email Find more contacts at

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