The president of Loyola Marymount University has initiated “a series of campus-wide discussions” concerning the Jesuit institution’s Catholic identity, according to an email obtained by The Cardinal Newman Society. The first of these, scheduled for January 28th, will be co-led by a professor who supports abortion rights and who publicly urged the University to retain insurance coverage for faculty and staff abortions.
Brietta Clark, professor of law at Loyola Law School, was selected along with five others to lead the first conversation next week—even though Clark signed a public petition in September along with dozens of other faculty and staff that appeared in the student newspaper, urging the University to retain its employee insurance coverage of abortion.
Previously, Burcham appointed Clark to the Bioethics Institute board, despite her pro-abortion-rights positions, according to The National Catholic Register. Clark had argued against the conscience protections of the failed pro-life Stupak Amendment in an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle during the national health-care debate. She also had argued against a South Carolina law requiring ultrasounds for women considering abortion.
“Please know that all of the voices in our community are important to this dialogue,” writes LMU President David Burcham in his email to faculty and staff. “Our ability to move forward and fully embrace our important mission depends on our willingness to work with one another to develop common understandings of what it means to be a Catholic Jesuit/Marymount university.”
The open meetings are the fulfillment of a promise he made at his convocation address in October, in which he also vowed that the “pall of orthodoxy” would not “shackle” the Los Angeles-based University.
That speech came on the heels of Burcham’s attempt to drop abortion from the health coverage plan for faculty and staff. Widespread protests from faculty and staff resulted in the board of trustees agreeing to offer a supplemental health insurance coverage that would include elective abortions, but mandating that employees would have to pay the full premium without any subsidy from the University.
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