THURSDAY, JUNE 11, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: C. J. DOYLE
CARDINAL O’MALLEY, CARITAS CHRISTI, AND ABORTION
The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts today took issue with the statements released yesterday by Sean Cardinal O'Malley, Archbishop of Boston, and Dr. Ralph de la Torre, President of Caritas Christi Health Care, regarding the Commonwealth Care contract awarded to the Caritas Christi/Centene Corporation partnership, now known as CeltiCare. This contract, offering health insurance to low-income Bay State adults, due to take effect on July 1, includes abortion coverage.
The Archdiocese stated that “Caritas is in active discussions with Celtic Group and CeltiCare with a view to making acceptable modifications to their arrangement.” The Cardinal went on to say that “...under no circumstances will Caritas either perform procedures prohibited by [Catholic teaching] or refer any patient to other providers who perform or procure such procedures.” Dr. de la Torre said “when the patients seek such a procedure, Caritas...will be clear that (a) the hospital does not perform them and (b) the patient must turn to his or her insurer for further guidance.”
Ironically, these statements came just one day after Brian Delaney, CeltiCare’s Director of Communications, when asked whether the Caritas hospitals would refer a patient seeking an abortion to the Caritas/Centene call center, answered “I believe so.” Meanwhile, The Boston Globe reports that Caritas Christi now owns a 49% share of CeltiCare, and that NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts will serve on CeltiCare’s advisory board.
The Catholic Action League described the statements as “yet more unpersuasive denials intended to obscure the fact that as of July 1, Caritas Christi will be in the abortion business.”
Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle stated: “The Archdiocese has known for at least 3 1/2 months that this contract requires abortion coverage. Now with less than three weeks to the startup date, the cardinal is suddenly seeking modifications, having previously castigated others who questioned the contract. This reversal begs the questions of why Caritas sought this contract in the first place; why they signed it knowing it was problematic; and why they failed to raise these issues when they testified before the awarding agency on March 12. This last minute call for revisions is either a desperate public relations ploy aimed at diffusing opposition from pro-life Catholics, or a stunning admission of institutional incompetence, or both.”
“The Cardinal’s statement is contradicted by that of Dr. de la Torre. In sending a patient seeking an abortion back to her insurer, Caritas will be sending Commonwealth Care members to the Caritas/Centene partnership, which will not only procure the abortion but lists Planned Parenthood as a reproductive services provider. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2009 will allow no exemption for Caritas Christi in the matter of abortion. Caritas must withdraw from this contract.”