We are students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and supporters of LMU. Our Catholic faith is important to us. We formed this group to protect, foster, and preserve the Catholic identity of LMU.
Message from the President
October 7, 2013
Dear Members of the LMU Community:
The Board of Trustees of Loyola Marymount University met on campus this afternoon for its Fall 2013 meeting. During the meeting, we discussed the healthcare coverage issue that emerged late in the summer.
First, we want to thank the many members of the community who wrote to us individually, signed joint letters, and engaged in the various processes for discussing this issue that took place on campus. Although the initial process unfolded in a way beyond our control and was not perfect, we received over one hundred comments representing many different points of view. All trustees received copies of everything that was submitted. These comments were very helpful to our discussion and deliberations. We want to assure you that we took these comments seriously.
When we learned that LMU had, for the first time, been given the option to exclude elective abortions from its principal health insurance plans, we decided that the governing board of LMU should address this difficult issue. We did so because we take very seriously our fiduciary role as guardians of LMU and, particularly, upholding its Jesuit/Marymount and Catholic identity, mission, history and tradition. We acknowledge that the issue of abortion is extremely complicated and encompasses varied and competing values that often leave no one happy. Nonetheless, we believe that the right to life and dignity for every human being is a fundamental part of Catholic beliefs (all other rights flow from this primary right to life and dignity), and that this vision needs to be evidenced in LMU’s policies and procedures.
Thus, the Board decided that LMU’s principal insurance plans in 2014 will not provide coverage for elective abortions. All other aspects of reproductive health coverage will remain the same. We will continue to cover therapeutic abortions, contraception and other forms of reproductive care mandated by the State of California. The rates for the principal LMU plans will be set based solely on the benefits provided under those plans.
Further, a Third Party Administrator (TPA)-managed plan will be available. The TPA will be selected very shortly in order to facilitate an alternative. The TPA-managed plan will cover elective abortions, for which an employee will pay a slightly higher premium. The employee will be responsible for the entirety of the cost associated with this additional coverage and, thus, no LMU dollars will be used in paying for this additional coverage.
Human Resources will be in touch with all faculty and staff within the next 10 days with details of the principal LMU plans and information about how one can select the alternative TPA-managed plan. Employees will be able to choose their desired coverage during the open enrollment period that begins October 28, 2013. As is always the case, the selection of health coverage is confidential and the disclosure of such information to anyone is prohibited by law.
Moving forward, the Board has asked that this decision be discussed by the University Comprehensive Benefits Committee and that their consultation be reported to the Board as LMU looks ahead to the benefits that will be available for 2015 and beyond.
In this decision, we join the Jesuits in the United States and their many works (as evidenced in their 2003 statement Standing for the Unborn) and reaffirm LMU’s commitment to its Jesuit/Marymount and Catholic heritage and faithfulness to the Catholic Church’s core teaching on the dignity of every human being at all stages of life. In doing so, however, we also want to reaffirm clearly that we are a university in which diversity, academic freedom, free discourse, unencumbered pursuit of truth and engaged debate on important contemporary issues are part of our very nature and key to our success.
As many of you know, last month in an interview in America magazine, Pope Francis, when asked about the Ignatian ideal of thinking as it relates to the Church said, “The Church with which we should be thinking is the home of all, not a small chapel that can hold only a small group of selected people. We must not reduce the bosom of the universal church to a nest protecting our mediocrity.” This is true even more for us because we are a university. And we have long ago committed to this vision. There is no litmus test for membership in the LMU community. We are a rich and thriving Jesuit/Marymount and Catholic university because we are committed to forming a community of scholars, educators, personnel, and talented students from every faith and background who can join us in carrying out our mission of academic excellence, educating whole persons, serving faith and promoting justice.
Finally, we are deeply grateful to each of you for all of your hard work in enhancing LMU. We look forward to a rich and rewarding academic year 2013-2014.
Kathleen Hannon Aikenhead
Chair, Board of Trustees
David W. Burcham
Over 75 LMU and Loyola Law School faculty and staff published their names in the September 30, 2013 issue of the Los Angeles Loyolan in support of “full healthcare coverage for women.” The list includes six professors from LMU’s Theological Studies department.
For the complete list, see page 6 of the following link: