Tuesday, May 31, 2016

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Citing Catholic Identity, Univ. of Scranton to Scrap Insurance Coverage for Abortion in All Cases

The University of Scranton plans to no longer include coverage for abortion in cases of rape, incest, and for the mother’s life in the University’s faculty and staff health care plans, according to an announcement from President Father Kevin Quinn, S.J., recently posted on the Jesuit university’s website. He explained that as a Catholic university, it must work to be consistent in light of all the Church’s moral teachings.

The University has provided coverage for such cases of abortion since the 1990s, reportedly “to comply with the limits of Pennsylvania state law for traditional insurance plans.” However, Fr. Quinn maintained that “because the University is self insured we can, and therefore must, offer insurance plans that are free of all abortion coverage.”

“[T]he moral teaching of the Church on abortion is unequivocal,” Fr. Quinn explained in his statement. “Within our respective roles and responsibilities, we are all stewards of the University and its Catholic and Jesuit mission.”

Fr. Quinn stated in the announcement that he would be meeting with the faculty union to discuss the necessary changes. He also urged faculty and staff to understand the University’s responsibility in maintaining its Catholic identity.

In a follow-up statement to faculty and staff, released to The Cardinal Newman Society by the University of Scranton’s media department, Fr. Quinn clarified that University insurance will “continue to cover medical procedures that are intended to preserve the life of the mother so long as these procedures are not a direct abortion.” He also stressed that the University would cover any physical or psychological treatment for victims of domestic and sexual abuse.

The statement concluded:

As a university, we are at our best when we remain a united community that treasures and respects diversity in all its forms and especially in views and thoughts. At the same time, however, we are proudly Catholic and Jesuit. I continue to hold that it is necessary for the University as a Catholic institution to act consistently with the Church’s moral teaching on abortion. My sincere hope and prayer is that you can understand this necessity regardless of your personal views on the subject of abortion.

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