Santa Clara University, a Jesuit school located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay, “is dropping coverage for elective abortions under health insurance for its faculty and staff members.”
According to the Los Angeles Times,Santa Clara president Michael Engh, himself a Jesuit, wrote the school’s 1600 employees that “Our core commitments as a Jesuit, Catholic university are not compatible with the inclusion of elective abortion coverage in the university’s health plans.” Reporter Larry Gordon notes that “as required by state law, the school still will cover contraception and so-called therapeutic abortions, those deemed medically necessary to save the mother’s life or health, among other factors. Santa Clara, which enrolls about 8,500 students, is not offering the possibility of the unsubsidized plan for elective procedures, according to campus spokeswoman Deepa Arora.”
SCU follows the lead of Loyola Marymount University, whose faculty and students last week were informed in a letter signed by university president David W. Burcham and Board of Trustees Chair Kathleen H. Aikenhead that “Catholic heritage and faithfulness to the Catholic Church’s core teaching on dignity of every human being at all stages of life” mandates that it drop coverage of abortion on demand. Instead, the school will “offer employees a separate, unsubsidized plan to cover those procedures.”
The academic natives are more than restless over these changes: “This really makes Santa Clara University’s express commitment to openness, diversity and inclusiveness ring hollow,” said one SCU history professor. And Loyola Marymount economics professor Jennifer Pate says the decision demonstrates that LMU “values diversity less than our Catholic affiliation.”
Diversity, properly understood, simply means that opposing points of view concerning important issues are allowed to flourish. For example, there are a host of opinions about how best to alleviate poverty and they are welcome as part of the atmosphere of inquiry and debate intrinsic to a college campus. Diversity does not mean that all preferential practices (you abort a baby, I mainline heroin - hey, everybody’s different!) should be permitted.
Why? Because, in the case of abortion, the unborn child is not merely a collection of blood, tissue and DNA. From the moment of fertilization, the tiny embryo is a person who should enjoy the most fundamental right of a person - the right to life.
Santa Clara and Loyola Marymount have taken modest steps to distance themselves from abortion. It would be hoped that they would soon join with schools like The Catholic University of America (Washington, D.C.), Ave Maria University (Florida), and Belmont Abbey (South Carolina), and other Catholic and Evangelical Protestant colleges in suing the Obama Administration because it requires them “to violate (their)s deeply held religious beliefs or pay crippling fines of up to $15,000 dollars per day, or more than $5 million per year.”
For now, let’s applaud the SCU Broncos and the Loyola Marymount Lions for bending the arc of political correctness in the direction of life.