Since at least fall of 2008, the Jesuit-run University of San Francisco's required health care plan has included "maternity coverage" which pays for 70 to 90 percent of the cost of elective abortions, listing them under the euphemism "Voluntary Termination of Pregnancy."
University of San Francisco (USF) Student Health Insurance Plan is underwritten by Aetna Life Insurance Company, the Catholic Key reports. All full-time undergraduates, international students and all students living on campus are required to purchase the plan, unless students can prove "that they have coverage comparable (equal or better) to the University-sponsored plan."
If they do not have such coverage, "Students automatically will be enrolled in, and have their accounts billed for, the University-sponsored Student Health Insurance Plan."
The plan is detailed in the "University of San Francisco Student Health Insurance Plan Brochure" dated 2008-2009.
On page 15 of the plan, under the section "Maternity Expenses," the brochure notes that the "voluntary termination of pregnancy" is covered under both the "Preferred Care" plan and the "Non-Preferred Care" plan.
Under the Preferred Care option, 90 percent of the "negotiated charge" is covered. Under the Non-Preferred Care option, 70 percent of the "reasonable charge" is covered.
The Catholic Key also reports that California employers are not required to provide abortion coverage. The Archdiocese of San Francisco's health insurance plan reportedly does not include this coverage.
Catholic teaching has condemned abortion many times. In the Second Vatican Council's Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, abortion is classified as a deed "opposed to life itself." Abortion is among the acts the document calls "infamies indeed" which "poison society" and are "a supreme dishonor to the Creator."
The Cardinal Newman Society called on USF President Stephen Privett to take immediate action to remove the abortion coverage.
"Given the importance of life issues for Catholics, it is stunning that USF's student health program would pay for abortions," said Patrick Reilly, president of The Cardinal Newman Society, in a press release. "I pray that this was a mistake and not a willful action of the Catholic university, but regardless of how the abortion coverage ended up in the policy, it clearly cannot remain."
CNA contacted USF for comment but did not receive a detailed response by press time.