Students lose fight against school's abortion insuranceSeptember 6, 1996
Web posted at: 11:00 p.m. EDT
From Correspondents Rusty Dornin
DAVIS, California (CNN) -- In 1992, Greg Goehring and five other students refused to pay registration fees at the University of California at Davis, because part of the money went to subsidize the school's insurance program which covered abortion.
The insurance itself is not mandatory, but paying the registration fee is, and although Goehring attended classes, the school did not give him credit for the quarter he did not pay fees.
The students sued, arguing that the subsidy indirectly paid for abortions, thereby violating their religious views.
"If students want abortion covered in health insurance, they should have the options to purchase that," Goehring said. "But students who find that morally repugnant shouldn't be expected to subsidize the insurance."
This week, the six lost their battle in federal appeals court which sided with the university, saying there was no substantial burden on religious rights of the students in this case.
The judges stated there are few if any university funded activities to which one or another student would not object.
"It guarantees that the university has the ability to make decisions about the use of students fees to protect student health and welfare," attorney Chris Patti said.
Goehring's attorney, Brad Dacus, of the Rutherford Institute, disagrees.
"To compel a student to have to fund something because of the faith and convictions they believe to be murder is hardly a minimal violation of their religious belief."
The students found at least five other universities where students are offered alternative insurance policies, some from companies that don't offer abortions, prompting their lawyer to consider an appeal.
The controversy may be moot, however. Citing budget reductions, the university will phase out the insurance subsidy and allow students to make their own decision on which policy to choose.
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