Trustees at Loyola Marymount University have voted to eliminate health insurance coverage of elective abortions for faculty and staff.
After weeks of divisive campus-wide debate, the board voted late Monday to end university-paid coverage in 2014, while providing an option for employees to seek out abortion coverage at their own expense.
The controversial decision at LMU, a Catholic university in Los Angeles, has dissatisfied individuals on both sides of the issue.
Anna Muraco, an associate professor of sociology at LMU, said that the debate was "missing some of the larger issues that are at stake here -- issues like equity” and diversity, the Daily Breeze reports.
Abortion “is legal and safe," she said. "There’s something disingenuous by the way this (issue) has been framed. ... They claim to be an institution that respects diversity and religious plurality, and we did not have to sign any kind of faith statement like other (Catholic) schools have."
However, equally dissatisfied on the other side of the debate was Christopher Kaczor, philosophy professor at LMU, who said the university cannot have it both ways.
“The decision basically is something like this: we think abortion is intrinsically evil and wrong so we’re not going to drive you there, but let me arrange for my brother to take you there if you give him a couple bucks he’ll take care of you,” he said to CBS.
LMU's trustees said that employees will be able to select a Third Party Administrator (TPA)-managed plan that will cover elective abortions. Employees who select this plan will pay a slightly higher premium, which will ensure that no LMU dollars will go towards elective abortions.
In a letter, the trustees wrote that their decision is in line with the church's "core teaching on the dignity of every human being at all stages of life."
The letter continued, "however, we also want to reaffirm clearly that we are a university in which diversity, academic freedom, free discourse, unencumbered pursuit of truth and engaged debate on important contemporary issues are part of our very nature and key to our success."
Last month, Pope Francis said the church had grown “obsessed” with abortion to the detriment of its larger mission to be "home for all." “We have to find a new balance," he said.
Also on HuffPost:
"Who Am I To Judge?"
Pope Francis has had a busy week at World Youth Day in Rio as he visited his slums and prisons, blessed the Olympic flag and brought three million people to Copacabana Beach for a final Mass on Sunday morning. Now he has made another headline, this time when the pontiff said, "Who am I to judge a gay person?" <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/29/pope-francis-gays_n_3669635.html" target="_blank">Read more from The Huffington Post</a>
There Is No Catholic God
"And I believe in God, not in a Catholic God, there is no Catholic God, there is God and I believe in Jesus Christ, his incarnation. Jesus is my teacher and my pastor, but God, the Father, Abba, is the light and the Creator. This is my Being." <a href="http://www.repubblica.it/cultura/2013/10/01/news/pope_s_conversation_with_scalfari_english-67643118/" target="_blank">Read more from La Repubblica</a>
“The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules. The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you. " <a href="http://www.americamagazine.org/pope-interview" target="_blank">Read more from America Magazine</a>
Abortion, Gay Marriage, And Contraception
“We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time." <a href="http://www.americamagazine.org/pope-interview" target="_blank">Read more from America Magazine</a>
The down-to-earth Pope called for greater austerity from religious figures last week, saying, “It hurts me when I see a priest or nun with the latest-model car. You can’t do this. A car is necessary to do a lot of work, but, please, choose a more humble one. If you like the fancy one, just think about how many children are dying of hunger in the world." The Ford Focus is a compact car with a starting sticker price of just about $16,000. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/15/pope-francis-car-ford-focus-humble_n_3598402.html" target="_blank">Read more from The Huffington Post</a>
The Court Is The Leprosy Of The Papacy
"You know what I think about this? Heads of the Church have often been narcissists, flattered and thrilled by their courtiers. The court is the leprosy of the papacy." <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/29/pope-francis-gays_n_3669635.html" target="_blank">Read more from The Huffington Post</a>
Consider The Person
“A person once asked me, in a provocative manner, if I approved of homosexuality. I replied with another question: ‘Tell me: when God looks at a gay person, does he endorse the existence of this person with love, or reject and condemn this person?’ We must always consider the person. " <a href="http://www.americamagazine.org/pope-interview" target="_blank">Read more from America Magazine</a>
“Then, Holy Father, creativity is important for the life of a person?” I ask. He laughs and replies: “For a Jesuit it is extremely important! A Jesuit must be creative.” <a href="http://www.americamagazine.org/pope-interview" target="_blank">Read more from America Magazine</a>
A Poor Church
On his election to the papacy, Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio chose to name himself after Francis of Assisi because the 12th-century saint "is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation," Pope Francis said Saturday. "How I would like a church that is poor and for the poor," he told about 5,000 journalists gathered for an audience with the pope. <a href="http://ncronline.org/blogs/pope-francis-i-would-love-church-poor" target="_blank">Read more from the National Catholic Reporter</a>
Proselytism Is Solemn Nonsense
"Proselytism is solemn nonsense, it makes no sense. We need to get to know each other, listen to each other and improve our knowledge of the world around us." <a href="http://www.repubblica.it/cultura/2013/10/01/news/pope_s_conversation_with_scalfari_english-67643118/" target="_blank">Read more from La Repubblica</a>