Recently, the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), under the direction of Governor Jerry Brown, and in response to pressure from abortion advocacy groups, reinterpreted California law by directing commercial health insurers to cover abortion for any reason, including purely ‘elective’ abortion. The result of this directive is to require Catholic institutions like LMU to provide abortion coverage to their employees. This intrusive government action violates the U.S. Constitution and federal law protecting the religious freedom of LMU students, parents, faculty, and staff morally opposed to funding the destruction of innocent human life.
In response, noting that the DMHC directive was targeted at institutions like LMU, the California Catholic Conference (representing California’s Bishops) called the action “coercive and discriminatory,” and filed a federal complaint against the State of California in opposition to this government intrusion on religious liberties. RenewLMU commends the California Bishops for their unequivocal statement and their decisive action to protect the Catholic character of LMU.
When the LMU Board of Trustees considered whether or not to cover abortion in LMU’s employee health plans last Fall, Fr. Robert Caro, S.J., LMU’s Vice-President for Mission and Ministry, in a letter to the Loyolan, stated that the Jesuits affirm the moral teaching of the Church. Quoting Saint John Paul II, Fr. Caro said, “’the right to life is ‘the most basic and fundamental right and condition of other personal rights.’ ” Further, citing Pope Francis, Fr. Caro went on to call abortion a particularly “egregious evil,” saying that “exclusion of abortion from our medical benefits…is the position which LMU’s institutional commitment to Roman Catholicism urges us to respect.” [emphasis added]
RenewLMU calls on President Burcham and the LMU Board of Trustees to put into action the principles articulated by Fr. Caro and the Jesuit order, and explore alternatives at LMU’s disposal, including:
1. Joining in the federal complaint filed by the California Bishops; and
2. Establishing, or participating in, a morally sound self-insurance health plan not governed by the California Department of Managed Health Care.
It is our hope that LMU will take action in defense of innocent human life consistent with its institutional commitment to Roman Catholicism.