Catholic priest says Loyola should reverse course or superiors must intervene
Students at Loyola University Chicago can get abortions through the school-sponsored health insurance plans, despite the Catholic Church’s opposition to the intentional killing of preborn babies.
The university’s 2023-24 health insurance plan, administered by the UnitedHealthcare Insurance, covers “abortion care services.” It also provides for contraception and sterilization, both of which are considered grave sins by the Catholic Church. The 2022-23 student health plan also covered these procedures and drugs.
“Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion,” the Catechism of the Catholic church explains. The Catechism details the teachings of the Catholic Church.
“This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law,” it states.
Humanae Vitae, a papal encyclical from 1968, “condemned” sterilization and called the use of contraception “gravely wrong.”
The College Fix asked the university for further information on why abortion is included and if there are concerns that including abortion in the health plan would send the message to students that the killing of preborn babies is morally permissible. The media relations team did not respond to two emailed requests for comment sent in the past two weeks.
A moral theologian and Catholic priest who hosts a daily devotional called “Morning Offering with Father Kirby” criticized the university for including abortion in the student health plan.
The Fix asked Jeffrey Kirby what message he thought this sent to students.
“By having abortion included in its student healthcare plan, Loyola University Chicago is giving tragic consent to the worst type of evil and discrimination against other people in our contemporary, Western society,” Kirby told The Fix on June 9 via email. “By allowing such violence in their healthcare plan, the university is giving implicit acceptance and an approving nod to aggression against the preborn, the most endangered population among us.”
He said the university’s support for abortion “is undercutting the moral foundation of any other social justice and charitable outreach that it might be encouraging and promoting among its student body.”
“As a Catholic institution, Loyola University Chicago should know better. Abortion is not healthcare. Abortion is a violent offense against the most vulnerable among us,” the priest said.
“By including abortion, the university shows that it has lost its advocacy for the weak and has lost its way in terms of Catholic social justice,” he said.
He said the university should revise the plan to align with Catholic teaching, which “includes the affirmation of human dignity, the acceptance of all people, and an authentic protection and service to the vulnerable and weak.”
He referenced comments made by Pope Francis, himself a former Jesuit, who has referred to abortionists as contract murderers: “Pope Francis has likened abortion to hiring a hitman, [so] the university should stop empowering hitmen against the weak.”
The university should take “swift action,” but if it does not, the “religious superiors of the Society of Jesus and the local Bishop are called upon to evaluate and take disciplinary actions,” Kirby said.
“If the university is obstinate in its acceptance of abortion in its student healthcare program, then the Church calls for the designation ‘Catholic’ to be removed from the university, along with all the ecclesial, legal, fundraising, and non-profit privileges that accompany such a designation,” he said.
The Fix asked Grant Gallicho, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Chicago, twice in the past two weeks to comment on the inclusion of abortion in the health plan and if the archdiocese planned to speak to Loyola about it, but no response was received.
The archdiocese has previously declined to weigh in on another Chicago Catholic university that was helping students have abortions.