Under e-mail assault from a pro-life student group, UNC system leaders have tweaked a new health insurance plan so students can opt out of coverage for abortions.
The system is instituting a new health insurance program this fall, an attempt to make sure all 200,000 or so public university students have some sort of coverage.
While the university isn't requiring students to by the UNC insurance, it is mandating that all students have some sort of health coverage, either through their parents or purchased elsewhere.
Students who don't already have coverage can purchase the new UNC plan, which offers annual premiums of a bit more than $700 on average. (The precise dollar amount varies a bit by campus. Here's a link to that information).
But in the face of criticism, the system announced today that students can opt not to have abortions covered by their plans.
"No student will be required to have this coverage as part of the new health care plan, nor will they be paying for anybody else," said UNC system President Erskine Bowles.
A national group called Students for Life of America have railed against the UNC insurance program, saying students would have to pay for elective abortions, regardless of their personal beliefs on that controversial issue.
Students who do opt out of the abortion portion of the insurance plan won't pay a cheaper rate because the abortion element doesn't affect its cost, officials said.