Posted Mar. 2, 2009 5:50 PM
...CWN reports that President Obama is proposing to rescind the Bush administration’s "conscience clause" for health care workers. The conscience clause, established by an executive order last December, protected those doctors, nurses, and others who might refuse to be involved in a medical procedure-- abortion, contraception, assisted suicide, or sterilization-- on the grounds of moral objections...
Does this bother you? It should.
Yet in Massachusetts, Caritas Christi Health Care, an arm of the Archdiocese of Boston, is bidding on a contract to insure low-income state residents under the health initiative to provide state-sponsored health insurance introduced in 2006 by former Governor Mitt Romney. When asked by a board member of Connector Authority (the state agency that oversees the program) whether the group would be able to provide reproductive services (abortion, contraception, and sterilization), the response was:
"[We] will contract with providers, both in and out of the Caritas network, to ensure access to all services required by the authority, including confidential family planning services."
In other words, if Caritas wins the bid, there will be no conscience clause possible, regardless of the outcome of the federal regulations, because even in the six Massachusetts Catholic hospitals, these services will be contracted with providers, according to the terms of the proposal. Individual doctors may be able to avoid involvement, but they will not be able to affiliate themselves with hospitals that are not involved in abortions or abortion referrals; no such hospitals will remain.
And notice: Caritas Christi is not being forced by law to "contract with providers" for abortion coverage. The Catholic health-care network is bidding for the contract-- asking for the opportunity to be involved!
What standing will any Catholic or other person of good will have in protesting inclusion of these services if the Catholic hospitals are under contract to provide them or to refer? For financial reasons, the Archdiocese of Boston is seeking to detach from Caritas Christi. In the meantime, the Caritas Christi web site proclaims that:
“Caritas Christi Health Care, rooted in the healing ministry of Jesus, is committed to serving the physical and spiritual needs of our community by delivering the highest quality care with compassion and respect.”
Note the link to Catholic health care directives!
Such are the mundane business transactions that entrench morally repugnant practices in our communities. If Caritas Christi gets the bid, will that be the moment that Catholics wake up and realize what’s going on? A fait accompli will be much harder to overturn, although the odds aren’t great right now.
Notice how it will happen that lay Catholics – doctors, nurses, and other health care workers – will be forced to choose between their career and their conscience. It won’t be a politically motivated group that will be the material cause of getting taxpayers to pay for Catholic-sponsored abortions. It's simply a matter of the bottom line.
Caritas Christi is a huge money loser. As far as Cardinal O'Malley is concerned, this is not about a corporate work of mercy. It isn't about the faithful having a morally safe place to go to get health care. It's about a headache he has in his portfolio-- this entity -- and needs to get rid of. Their policies seem to be the least of his problems.
So, while the faithful of the Archdiocese of Boston (and the other Massachusetts dioceses) are worrying about FOCA -- and spending their political capital sending postcards – they will be paying for low-income abortions here in our state while finding that any coherent objection to the practice of actual abhorrent reproductive services is void.
What Catholics must learn if we are to recover our moral strength is an adage of war worth pondering: Deal with spies, traitors, and informers first. In other words, don’t think you can defeat Obama’s abortion agenda until you have cleaned up your own side.
Dieu le Roy!