By Kathleen Gilbert

SAN FRANCISCO, December 12, 2008 ( – The Catholic University of San Francisco (USF) has apologized for the abortion coverage included in a new health insurance package for USF students, and has affirmed they will strike it out of the plan.  However, at the same time a contributing editor with Our Sunday Visitor has just revealed that the University’s health clinic refers students seeking abortion to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.

After news broke of the brochure’s abortion coverage, Assistant Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs Gary MacDonald stated: “It was not the University’s intention to offer this coverage.  USF supports the Catholic Church’s views on the sanctity of life, at all stages, and we will remove this provision from our student health plan.

“We regret this mistake, and we take full responsibility for not adequately reviewing the contract. We are grateful to those who brought this issue to our attention,” said MacDonald.

Catholic Internet circles were abuzz over the news of USF’s Aetna health insurance brochure, which included abortion coverage despite purporting to be tailored to the school’s needs. The insurance plan, set to begin next fall, was to be mandatory for students who did not already have comparable health coverage.

Yet another report has recalled specters of USF’s poor track record in defending women and children on campus from abortion.

Valerie Schmalz, a contributing editor at Our Sunday Visitor, reported that students who seek an abortion at the University’s health clinic at St. Mary’s Medical Center are referred to abortion providers.  (See bottom of blog post at:

An official at the hospital reportedly told Schmalz that St. Mary’s refers students who request abortion or contraception either to Planned Parenthood or to Aetna providers.

“We just provide them with resources of where they want to go,” said St. Mary’s senior director Les McGee. “We’re not involved in terminating pregnancies.”  McGee, who oversees the student health clinic, said the hospital did not keep records on the number of students requesting abortion.

Calls to St. Mary’s Medical Center were not returned by press time.

In 2002, USF was one of a few Catholic universities called to task by the Association of Students at Catholic Colleges for Planned Parenthood referrals.  At that time, USF came under fire for linking to Planned Parenthood and another pro-abortion center at a University website on pregnancy.  The page was later removed.

In 2007, the University hosted the Human Rights Film Festival, which featured at least two films promoting abortion and same-sex “marriage,” as well as a report by four USF nursing students that includes recommendations for contraceptive use.

To contact USF President Fr. Stephen Privett:

Office of the President
  LMR 415
  2130 Fulton St.
  San Francisco, CA 94117
  phone: 415 422-6762
  e-mail:  [email protected]