Re: Abortion special coverage, Pages 6-7, Sept. 26, 2013

 Dear Executive Editorial Board: 

I commend the Loyolan for encouraging civil discourse in the controversy about elective abortion coverage.  Unlike parking fees and other such matters, this issue touches directly the Catholic identity of Loyola Marymount, which supports and counterbalances our commitment to diversity.

The right to life is “the most basic and fundamental right and condition of all other personal rights” (John Paul II).  Direct abortion has been condemned as a particularly egregious evil from the earliest centuries of Christianity, a position underscored by Pope Francis in a speech in Rome as recently as last Friday.  It should not be necessary to add that the Society of Jesus affirms this moral teaching of the Church.  It did so explicitly in a 2003 statement, “Standing for the Unborn.”  The statement quotes from the Order’s 34th General Congregation: “Human life, a gift from God, has to be respected from its beginning to its natural end.”  The statement goes on to say, “The most fundamental building block of a just social order is respect for human life.”  For Jesuits, opposition to abortion is a justice issue.  For their part, the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary have as their byword, “That all may have life” (John 10:10).  The Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange share the concerns of the Jesuits and the Marymount Sisters and, in their hospital system, have steadfastly honored the right to life of the unborn.

Exclusion of abortion from our medical benefits does not infringe freedom of conscience, civil rights or anyone’s decision to have an abortion.  It does mean that university funds would not be used to pay for elective abortions.  It is the position which LMU’s institutional commitment to Roman Catholicism urges us to respect.

– Robert V. Caro, S.J., Vice President for Mission and Ministry

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