Santa Clara University, a Catholic institution in the Silicon Valley area, is dropping coverage for elective abortions under health insurance for its faculty and staff members, officials said.
The move is part of what seems to be a trend among Catholic campuses seeking to uphold their religious beliefs against abortion while employing and enrolling many non-Catholics. Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles took a similar step this week but, in a compromise, is allowing employees to buy coverage for elective abortions through an insurance plan not administered or subsidized by the school.
“Our core commitments as a Jesuit, Catholic university are not compatible with the inclusion of elective abortion coverage in the university’s health plans,” Santa Clara’s president, Michael Engh, who is a Jesuit priest, wrote in a letter sent to employees last week.
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.
Some faculty members have protested the change.
“This really makes Santa Clara University's express commitment to openness, diversity and inclusiveness ring hollow,” history professor Nancy Unger, who is Catholic, told the San Jose Mercury News.