Belmont Abbey College strikes abortion, contraception from insurance policy
BELMONT, S.C. (The Catholic News & Herald) — Health care coverage contradictory to Catholic Church teaching has been removed from Belmont Abbey College.
“As soon as we discovered this, we immediately removed these procedures and prescriptions from the health care plan provided by the college for our employees,” said Dr. William Thierfelder, college president, in a letter to faculty, staff, students and alumni.
Founded in 1876, the Catholic Benedictine Belmont Abbey College is consistently ranked one of the best liberal arts colleges in the South by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review.
Abbot Placid Solari, head of the monastic community at Belmont Abbey and chancellor of its college, met last month with college faculty and staff to explain the reasons behind the change in policy.
Late in 2007, the college’s health insurance provider changed the cost and structure of its coverage for college employees. In reviewing the new paperwork, a faculty member noticed the policy covered abortion, contraception and voluntary sterilization.
It was later discovered that the particular coverage had been in place for some time.
“Something we all regret and for which we apologize,” said Thierfelder.
Catholic identity issue
College officials are unable to determine when and how the coverage got into the policy.
“When this discovery was brought to the attention of Abbot Placid, he and I immediately asked our health insurance provider to eliminate coverage for abortion, contraception and voluntary sterilization from the college’s group medical plan,” he said.
“It is the clear, consistent, incontrovertible, public, official and authoritative teaching of the Roman Catholic Church that abortion, contraception and voluntary sterilization are actions which are intrinsically wrong and should not be undertaken because of their very nature,” said Thierfelder.
“As a Roman Catholic institution, Belmont Abbey College is not able to and will not offer nor subsidize medical services that contradict the clear teaching of the Catholic Church.”
Since the policy change, eight faculty members filed formal complaints with various state and federal agencies, demanding the reinstatement of these coverages, said Thierfelder.
The group filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, claiming the change in insurance benefits was an act of discrimination on the basis of their religion or sex.
The college has retained legal counsel regarding the EEOC complaints.
The National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C., has threatened a lawsuit against the college on behalf of the eight faculty members. The college, however, will not reinstate the coverage.
“As a Catholic College sponsored by the monks of Belmont Abbey, Belmont Abbey College will not offer nor subsidize these coverages. To do so would be to act contrary to the college’s stated mission and identity,” said Thierfelder.
This story was made available to Catholic Online by permission of The Catholic News & Herald (www.charlottediocese.org/catholicnews.html), official newspaper of the Diocese of Charlotte, N.C.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Diocese News
- Newman Centers are anchor of faith at public colleges
- A Pinprick to Revive Devotion
- Family celebration: Utah women travel to India to meet with sponsored children
- Deportation of Wis. eighth-grader reveals immigration policy's painful side to class
- Mandatory drug testing to be implemented in Oklahoma City Catholic high schools
- Catechesis of the Good Shepherd ‘hands-on’ religious education gets a look in Texas
- Food versus fuel: Is biofuel production to blame for our present food shortage?
- Spirituality key to the dying patient’s ‘quality of life,’ says Catholic doctor
- Bioethics battle is between contrary visions of the human person, says Rome professor
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?