A spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York has admitted that his archdiocese was indirectly funding abortions and birth control, despite his publicized fight against the health care law’s birth control provisions, according to the New York Times.
The Archdiocese gave acknowledgment in 2012 that some of its local Catholic institutions offer insurance plans that include payment for contraceptive drugs. However, this is the first time that it has admitted that some of the plans fund abortions.
“We provide the services under protest,” Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling told The New York Times.
This fact is extremely contradictory given Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s vigorous and steadfast fight against the health care law provisions that require some religiously affiliated employers to cover birth control. Dolan has also warned New York governor Andrew Cuomo that he would resist if Cuomo followed through with plans to strengthen the state's abortion rights laws.
“I am in a bit of consternation as to why in a time when there seems to be kind of a sobering up about these horrors of the unfettered access to abortion, why in New York we are talking about even expanding it further,” Dolan told the Daily News earlier in May.
Well, I am in a bit of consternation as to how Dolan can make such attacks on the healthcare law and Governor Cuomo while blatantly ignoring his own policies by allowing health care plans continue to indirectly fund abortions, as they have for over ten years.
Dolan is the president of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops. In February, the Council opposed a proposal that would have allowed employees of nonexempt religious organizations to receive coverage for contraception through policies paid for by insurance companies.
“There remains the possibility that ministries may yet be forced to fund and facilitate such morally illicit activities,” Dolan said in February.
ArchCare, also known as the Catholic Health Care System, has about 3,000 full-time workers who receive coverage for contraception and abortions because they are members in 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, a healthcare workers union. ArchCare belongs to the League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes, an organization that arranges for a joint labor contract with the union. The exact number of ArchCare employees who utilize the services is undetermined.
In the 1990s some Catholic organizations articulated concern about the contraception funding. But it petered out over time.
“Eventually, the Catholics just said, you know, we are going to ignore the issue and pay into the fund and people are going to make their own choices about contraception and so forth,” said Bruce McIver, the president of the league.
Though the employers of some Catholic-affiliated groups were unaware their insurance plans covered contraception and abortions until recently, Dolan has been fully aware of the coverage the ArchCare workers receive. McIver states that “it’s hard to go backwards.”
Dolan might want to consider going backwards. His credibility in his fight against Cuomo and the healthcare law is threatened by this development.