Study: Half of College Health Care Plans Pay for Abortions

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 24, 2011   |   7:41PM   |   Washington, DC

A new study finds almost half of the colleges and universities in the United States that offer students health care plans offer ones that pay for abortions.

A new study sponsored by Students for Life of America follows an August 2010 scandal involving the University of North Carolina, whose system mandated health care coverage for the 2010-2011 school year. UNC required its students to have health care and automatically enrolled them in a plan that covered elective abortions.

Students for Life conducted an investigation and pressured officials at UNC and in the state legislature to make changes. Their work revealed that taxpayer funds could be partially covering student abortions in North Carolina.

After it made the discoveries, officials with Students for Life conducted a probe of policies on other college and university campuses to find out how many top universities also compel their students to enroll in health care plans that cover elective abortion. SFLA looked at whether the college required health care, if it automatically charged a student’s account for health care, if the university offered a school sponsored plan, and if the school plan covered elective abortions.

Out of 200 top colleges surveyed, the study found 66 require students to have health care coverage and 191 of the 200 offer school-sponsored plans.

Of those colleges offering school-sponsored plans, 89 or 46.5% of the schools cover elective abortions. And of those 89, just under half, 41 of them, automatically enroll their students in an abortion health care plan. Another 65 (32.5%) of the schools automatically charge their health care plan to student’s accounts and 41 of the plans (63%) automatically charge student accounts for health care cover elective abortion.

“A significant portion of school-sponsored health care plans in the United States cover elective abortions, leaving many taxpayers paying for student abortions through federal grants,” said SFLA president Kristin Hawkins.

“In addition, students are being forced to pay into health care plans that cover abortions and are paying for their peers’ abortions. Forcing pro-life college students to pay for other people’s abortions is immoral and a violation of many students’ deeply held values and beliefs,” she added.

Hawkins said Students for Life is concerned about the school-sponsored plans because “abortion is not health care and should not be covered in any health care plan.”

A school-sponsored plan usually costs less than an independent plan and at a discounted rate, enticing students to purchase the school-sponsored plan, she explained. Schools have their name on their sponsored plan and, if the health care plan includes abortion, they are promoting abortion, she added.

“Abortion is not health care, and colleges and universities should not require students to pay for abortion in their health care plans. Paying for abortion should not be a pre-requisite for learning,” Hawkins continued. [related]

Looking back at the University of North Carolina plan, a member of Congress has inquired whether the Department of Education is aware of the potential for taxpayer funding of abortions for students enrolled in the plan, but the Department has yet to respond.

The Hyde Amendment strictly prohibits all federal funding of abortions and is placed in the Appropriations Act for Division D which includes: the Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Department of Education. This means that None of the funds´appropriated in [the Appropriations] Act maybe used for abortion and therefore, Federal Grant money cannot go toward student abortions at universities.

Some of the colleges that fund abortions in their student health care plans include Ohio State University, Arizona State University, University of Minnesota, Michigan State University, University of South Florida, Pennsylvania State University, University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin, Florida State, Florida International, UCLA, Cal-State Fullerton, University of Maryland, San Diego State, UC Berkeley, Rutgers, Temple, Brigham Young (this may have changed since publication), USC, Boston University, San Jose State, North Carolina State, George Mason, University of Tennessee, Harvard, and others.