Elective abortions will no longer be covered in the health insurance plans of two Catholic universities in California.
Officials at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, Calif., and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles announced the change in coverage in early October, saying that the decisions were in line with Catholic teaching and the institutions' religious identity.
The change affects insurance coverage provided to faculty and staff at the schools.
A 1999 California law required employers, including religious higher education institutions, to cover elective abortion if they offered pharmaceutical coverage in their health care plans.
A lawsuit filed by the California Catholic Conference failed to overturn the law.
However, the institutions said they recently learned that they could restructure their insurance plans beginning Jan. 1 to be fully compliant with federal and state laws while holding true to Catholic values.
Marc Brown, spokesman for Kaiser Permanente Northern California, one of the insurance carriers for both schools confirmed that the company reviewed its coverage options at the request of several employers.
He explained that the company determined it could separate coverage and billing for elective abortions from other health care provisions.
Even with the announced change, the schools' insurance plans will continue to cover therapeutic abortions, contraception and other forms of reproductive health care mandated by the state.