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Catholic USF Faculty Union Demands Abortion Coverage

By Kathleen Gilbert
May 6th, 2009
LifeSiteNews (www.lifesitenews.com)

A long time ago, to get federal funding, the Jesuits divested themselves of the university so it is basically run by the board of trustees.

SAN FRANCISCO, California (LifeSiteNews.com) - A representative of the Faculty union at the Jesuit-run University of San Francisco (USF) has said the union would file an unfair labor practice complaint against the University if it changed the health insurance plan to exclude abortion, reported Our Sunday Visitor (OSV) yesterday.

The University stirred controversy in December when it was revealed that the students' default health insurance package, touted as tailored to the school's needs, included abortion coverage. The University administration quickly amended the plan, saying the inclusion had been an oversight.

In addition, the administration had reportedly notified its faculty that it intended to remove abortion coverage from its Blue Cross plan, which has evidently covered surgical and chemical abortion for several years, by March 1.

But USF Faculty Association president and history professor Elliot Neaman recently told OSV that the faculty union would file an unfair labor practice complaint if the university tries to remove the abortion coverage.
Neaman said that whether abortion involves the death of a child is "not relevant," and told OSV, "You are mixing up morality and contractual obligations."

"The university cannot unilaterally change the contract," said Neaman. "They have to go to the bargaining table. ... The Faculty Association contract expires in 2011. ... All the ideological religious stuff is completely irrelevant."

Neaman told OSV that the Catholic Church's opposition to abortion is irrelevant because the school is not legally a Catholic university.

"A long time ago, to get federal funding, the Jesuits divested themselves of the university so it is basically run by the board of trustees. They cannot apply for an exemption as a Catholic university because they could lose federal funding because of that," he said.

USF has not yet been able to drop the coverage, according to spokesman Gary McDonald, because "altering an insurance plan once it goes into effect is more complicated than we anticipated."

Calls made by LifeSiteNews.com seeking clarification from the University were not returned as of press time.

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