Abortion has commandeered headlines of late with the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade last week and Saturday's pro-life rally -- for which many protesters bused into this pro-choice lair from more conservative California zip codes. But there is one story of anti-abortion zeal here in our own backyard that hasn't yet been reported on outside of the Catholic press.
Namely, pregnant co-eds at the University of San Francisco are flat out of luck if they want financial help to get an abortion. The Jesuit university apparently discovered that abortion was a covered medical procedure on its student health insurance plan and revoked the coverage last month. Conservative Catholic Web sites had excoriated the university, but USF spokeswoman Anne-Marie Devine would only say that "concerned individuals" initially brought the abortion coverage to their attention.
It is mandatory for undergrads to purchase school health insurance unless they can show they have comparable coverage of their own. The insurance plan went into effect in fall 2008 -- yet the university says it doesn't know how many abortions the plan actually covered before the coverage was dumped. "We didn't attempt to find out that number and we are not going to," Devine wrote in an e-mail.
Students are now referred to Aetna providers for birth control prescriptions by the university health center. "Under California law, prescription plans must pay for all FDA approved medications, including contraception," says a university statement.
The university didn't stop there, though. Coverage for the employees might be next. While surgical abortion is already excluded by the employee Blue Cross plan, USF is currently in the process of "reviewing" its Kaiser Permanente insurance plan to see if the abortion coverage can be eliminated as well. The university's statement on the issue says it was unable to opt out of the Kaiser abortion coverage when negotiating the original contract.