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SAN DIEGO (ChurchMilitant.com) - A well-known Catholic university, which advertises itself as offering 16 Masses a week and 11 retreats a year, is funding student abortions, gender transitions and voluntary sterilizations.
The University of San Diego, which ranks as one of America's top 10 Catholic universities and as the third-best Catholic school in California, pays 100% of the negotiated charge in its Aetna health insurance plan for students desiring to kill their babies.
Operating under the episcopal oversight of San Diego's Cdl. Robert McElroy, the school also offers surgical and hormone-replacement "therapy" for students intending to change their gender.
The university, which insists it "cherishes its Roman Catholic heritage" and "supports pro-life tenets," also funds female contraceptive prescription drugs and devices as well as sterilization for male and female students and reversal of voluntary sterilization for males.
University authorities cite state and federal law to explain why the institution covers abortions in student health plans, The College Fix, a news site that features the work of student journalists, reported on Monday.
"USD's employee and student benefit plans are required to align with state and federal regulations," senior director of media relations Lissette Martinez explained.
"The services mentioned [abortion and the provision of transgender drugs and surgeries] are typically those that are required to be covered, and individuals are encouraged to consult with their medical provider regarding the best course of treatment for any medical concern," Martinez said.
The university did not respond to a specific question about two recent federal court judgments that ruled the First Amendment protects the right of churches to refuse elective abortion coverage in their health insurance plans.
"The government can't force a church or any other religious employer to violate their faith and conscience by participating in funding abortion," Jeremiah Galus, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, stated.
"This is a significant victory for the churches we represent, the conscience rights of their members, and other religious organizations that shouldn't be ordered by the government to violate some of their deepest faith convictions," Galus added.
In May, two federal courts in California ordered state officials to pay $1.4 million towards attorneys' fees after the ADF won a major victory on behalf of Skyline Wesleyan Church, Foothill Church, Calvary Chapel Chino Hills and the Shepherd of the Hills Church.
In both cases, the courts ruled that the U.S. Constitution protects the churches' freedom to operate according to their religious beliefs, which includes their belief in the sanctity of unborn lives.
The University of San Diego, which claims to be "inspired by the Second Vatican Council," refused to clarify specifically when asked what federal law it is citing or if it plans to pursue legal action against the State.
In 2021, the Catholic University of America, which is subject to the same federal regulations, apologized for unintentionally covering abortion services in its Aetna student health plan for the past three years.
"As a result of our direct communications with Aetna, they have removed all exceptions to the comprehensive exclusion of abortion coverage from our student health plan, and we have removed the plan from our website," university spokesman Karna Lozoya noted.
"An amended plan will be available soon, and it will be explicit that abortion is excluded from coverage," Lozoya said. "The Catholic University of America apologizes for the error."
In 2020, the University of San Diego removed the statue of St. Junipero Serra after other statues of the saint were vandalized. The statue continues to remain in cold storage and the university has refused to reveal when it will return the statue to its original place.
Last August, Pope Francis elevated Bp. Robert McElroy (who many view as an ideological ally of the pontiff's and who has often sparred with more conservative U.S. bishops) to the cardinalate.
McElroy has attacked the campaign to exclude Catholic politicians who support abortion from Holy Communion.
"It will bring tremendously destructive consequences," McElroy wrote in May 2021. "The Eucharist is being weaponized and deployed as a tool in political warfare. This must not happen."
"The death toll from abortion is more immediate, but the long-term death toll from unchecked climate change is larger and threatens the very future of humanity," McElroy said in a speech in 2020.