By Valerie Schmalz, OSV contributing editor
Following OSV's report in December that the Jesuit University of San Francisco's student health clinic was providing abortion and contraception referrals for students, USF has crafted a new protocol for the clinic that is consonant with the Church's stance on life issues.
The USF student clinic staff will now refer students to First Resort, a crisis pregnancy organization; the Gabriel Project, a pregnancy support organization run by the university's St. Ignatius Parish; and Catholic Charities counseling facilities.
Here's the new directive for the student clinic at St. Mary's Medical Center, provided to us by Anne-Marie Devine, a USF spokeswoman:
Termination of Pregnancy and Contraceptives
In keeping with Catholic tradition and teachings, voluntary termination of pregnancy will not be performed at St. Mary’s Hospital and referrals for abortion will not be given to a student by USF Student Health Clinic staff. In addition, contraceptives services, in all forms, will not be provided by the USF Student Health Clinic. However, hormonal therapy to regulate menstruation cycles or to reduce symptoms of dysmenorrheal (painful menses) may be initiated by USF Student Health Clinic Nurse Practitioners as a part of short-term therapy. Students will be referred to their insurance plan list for area OB-GYN for consultation. [Emphasis in original.]
A separate problem reported by OSV was that the university's two health insurance plans for employees provided abortion coverage. The USF administration says it can't do anything about a Kaiser health plan for faculty that offers abortion because it is included in a contract that was extended for three years in November. But it has changed its Blue Cross coverage, effective March 1, and has notified faculty that Blue Cross will no longer cover abortion in any form, including the drug RU486.
Also in response to the reporting, the university in December removed abortion coverage from a health insurance plan for students.