Saturday, June 27, 2009

Catholic Action League on the Caritas Withdrawal





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The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts today welcomed the news that Caritas Christi Health Care --- the network of six Catholic hospitals affiliated with the Archdiocese of Boston --- has withdrawn, under Archdiocesan pressure, from the HMO CeltiCare, which it co-founded and co-owned with the Centene Corporation. CeltiCare was established in May to administer a state funded Commonwealth Care health insurance contract, scheduled to start on July 1, which includes abortion coverage. It was the Catholic Action League which revealed on June 8 that CeltiCare advertised abortion as part of its health plans and listed Planned Parenthood as a reproductive services provider.

The Catholic Action League called the decision by Caritas to withdraw from CeltiCare “an 11th hour, but only partial victory, for the thousands of pro-life Catholics who have spent the last four months bombarding the Archdiocese of Boston with letters, petitions, phone calls and e-mails. The League warned however, that any continued participation by Caritas Christi in Commonwealth Care would obligate Caritas, directly or indirectly, to make abortion referrals.

Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle stated: “Caritas Christi has indicated that a woman seeking an abortion at a Caritas hospital will be sent back to her insurer. For Commonwealth Care members that insurer will be CeltiCare, which will not only procure the abortion but will provide transportation to the abortion facility. Instead of offering compassionate alternatives to abortion, Caritas Christi will still be engaged in a two-step abortion referral. Troubling questions also remain about whether Caritas has already benefited financially from this contract, and whether it continues to have an ongoing relationship with the Centene Corporation.”

“Other questions are still unanswered. It has been publicly known since the 27th of February that this contract entailed participation in state subsidized abortions. The Caritas Christi Board of Governors, which includes an Archdiocesan Cabinet Secretary, has presumably known this since the end of 2008. Why did Caritas, with Archdiocesan support, seek to secure and eventually sign a contract which they knew to be morally problematic? Why did Cardinal O'Malley castigate the now vindicated critics of the contract as doing ‘a great disservice to the Catholic Church’? Why did it take the Archdiocese six months (just five days before the start-up date) to begin to disengage?”

“Caritas withdrew from CeltiCare because it became a toxic public relations liability for the Archdiocese, provoking a firestorm of pro-life opposition throughout the country. If Caritas is to remain faithful to Catholic moral principles is must withdraw however, not only from CeltiCare but from the entire Commonwealth Care contract."

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