1424182500000February 17, 2015Dear Members of the Faculty and Staff

Last week I wrote to you about a sensitive and yet important matter linked to the University’s mission and identity as a Catholic and Jesuit institution.

Specifically, I shared with you my conclusion, following considerable deliberation and research, that the University could, and therefore must, offer insurance plans that are consonant with the teachings of the Catholic Church with regard to abortion. This change is not yet in effect for staff or faculty, but will be addressed first in the context of negotiations with the faculty because our current abortion coverage is stipulated in the contract.

I have been grateful for the communications, concerns and questions that faculty and staff have shared with me and others over the past few days. I realize now the need to say more about the ramifications of such changes, since they involve some of the most tragic and heart wrenching situations that women, children and families might face: rape, incest, and threat to the life of the mother. Please know that the University is deeply concerned about the welfare of all its members and strives to assist those in need during times of profound trial and in ways that matter.

My letter shared the Church’s moral teaching on abortion, which is unequivocal, “however serious or tragic” the circumstances. The Church’s teaching is not, however, uncaring or without important nuance.

Rape is an act of violence that is always intrinsically evil. “Graver still is the rape of children committed by parents (incest) or those responsible for the education of the children entrusted to them.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2356) Each of us is called to aid survivors in their healing – physically and psychologically.  Should an assault end in pregnancy then the Church holds that the life and innocence of both the unborn child and the mother must be preserved and respected. As Pope Francis says, “No human life exists that is more sacred than the other.”

The University’s insurance must and will continue to cover treatment and psychological counseling of women, men and children who are survivors of sexual assault or abuse. Of equal importance, the University must remain a strong, impassioned and uncompromising force against sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse in all its forms.

As a University community, there are many who work tirelessly to provide training, education and advocacy to address these issues. For additional information, I direct you to the Office of Equity and Diversity and the Jane Kopas Women’s Center.

A pregnancy that threatens the life of the mother is a different but no less difficult circumstance. As a more nuanced view of the Church’s position, I offer the following quote from Life Matters, a 2011 resource prepared by of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:

Very rarely, continuing a pregnancy may put the mother’s life at risk. In certain cases, such as aggressive uterine cancer or an ectopic pregnancy, it is morally licit to remove the threat to the mother’s life by removing the cancerous uterus, or by removing part or all of the Fallopian tube where the child implanted, even though it is foreseeable that the child will die as an indirect and unintended effect of such surgery.

For additional information regarding the Catholic Church’s position on abortion, I would direct you to the Abortion resource page of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Based upon this, I want to reassure all of you that the University’s insurance would continue to cover medical procedures that are intended to preserve the life of the mother so long as these procedures are not a direct abortion. We will also retain insurance coverage for medical complications that might result from any abortion, regardless of the circumstances.

I continue to welcome comments and concerns from the faculty and staff. Should it be helpful, faculty and staff who have practical questions about what these changes might mean for insurance coverage can also contact Patricia Tetreault, associate vice president for human resources.

In my letter last week, I described how questions around abortion have divided Catholic and Jesuit colleges and universities across the nation. As a university, we are at our best when we remain a united community that treasures and respects diversity in all its forms and especially in views and thoughts.  At the same time, however, we are proudly Catholic and Jesuit. I continue to hold that it is necessary for the University as a Catholic institution to act consistently with the Church’s moral teaching on abortion. My sincere hope and prayer is that you can understand this necessity regardless of your personal views on the subject of abortion.

May God continue to bless The University of Scranton.

Sincerely,




Sincerely,
Kevin P. Quinn, S.J.
Kevin P. Quinn, S.J.
President
/about/presidents-office/assets/president-signaturecapitalize-titleyesnavYescanonicalYessitemapNoindexingNoDepartmentProgram-- choose --www.scranton.edupresident-signature
ife-activities/respect-life-program/2011/upload/life-matters-abortion.pdf" target="_blank">Life Matters, a 2011 resource prepared by of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:

Very rarely, continuing a pregnancy may put the mother’s life at risk. In certain cases, such as aggressive uterine cancer or an ectopic pregnancy, it is morally licit to remove the threat to the mother’s life by removing the cancerous uterus, or by removing part or all of the Fallopian tube where the child implanted, even though it is foreseeable that the child will die as an indirect and unintended effect of such surgery.

For additional information regarding the Catholic Church’s position on abortion, I would direct you to the Abortion resource page of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Based upon this, I want to reassure all of you that the University’s insurance would continue to cover medical procedures that are intended to preserve the life of the mother so long as these procedures are not a direct abortion. We will also retain insurance coverage for medical complications that might result from any abortion, regardless of the circumstances.

I continue to welcome comments and concerns from the faculty and staff. Should it be helpful, faculty and staff who have practical questions about what these changes might mean for insurance coverage can also contact Patricia Tetreault, associate vice president for human resources.

In my letter last week, I described how questions around abortion have divided Catholic and Jesuit colleges and universities across the nation. As a university, we are at our best when we remain a united community that treasures and respects diversity in all its forms and especially in views and thoughts.  At the same time, however, we are proudly Catholic and Jesuit. I continue to hold that it is necessary for the University as a Catholic institution to act consistently with the Church’s moral teaching on abortion. My sincere hope and prayer is that you can understand this necessity regardless of your personal views on the subject of abortion.

May God continue to bless The University of Scranton.

Sincerely,




Sincerely,
Kevin P. Quinn, S.J.
Kevin P. Quinn, S.J.
President