Washington, D.C. (12 June 2009) – Judie Brown, president of American Life League, issued the following reply to Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s June 10 statement regarding the Caritas Christi scandal in Boston.
“While Catholics and pro-lifers around the country await a definitive statement from the Archdiocese of Boston indicating that it will not participate in or facilitate abortions or other procedures contrary to Catholic teaching, Cardinal O’Malley’s latest statement raises even more questions.
“The archdiocese has acknowledged that an agreement has been reached with Celtic Group, Inc. – a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Centene Corporation – for a joint health care venture. We know that CeltiCare includes abortion and ‘family planning services’ in its coverage and has promised to continue this policy after July 1.
“The archdiocese’s statement also acknowledged that the agreement requires modification. This is a positive step, but certainly not acceptable as a final answer.
“What is disconcerting is that Cardinal O’Malley and the Boston archdiocese have thus far failed to clearly explain how abortion and ‘family planning services’ will not occur in Catholic health care facilities. The terms of CeltiCare’s contract with the state government specifically require coverage for abortions and other ‘reproductive health’ services. How then could Caritas Christi – which owns 49 percent of the for-profit CeltiCare – justify its involvement and direct connection with this business while adhering to the Catholic Church’s unequivocal teachings on abortion, contraception and sterilization?
“Even if patients seeking abortions or contraception will be outsourced to a third-party referral service, this does not remove the archdiocese’s culpability for involvement in procedures that violate the Church’s fundamental moral teachings.
“Most concerning of all is the following quote from Mr. Ralph de la Torre, president of Caritas Christi: ‘When a patient seeks such a procedure, Caritas health care professionals will be clear that (a) the hospital does not perform them and (b) the patient must turn to his or her insurance for further guidance’ [emphasis added].
“Boston Catholic commentator Carol McKinley responded well to this statement:
When the patient 'turns to his or her insurance company,' they are 'turning' to the 'HMO' [of] which the Cardinal and Caritas are co-owners, [CeltiCare]. Therefore, the Cardinal and Caritas are providing these services…
With the exception of removing family planning, abortion, sterilization, embryonic stem cell research and other moral evils covered under the HMO the Cardinal has an ownership interest in, there is no conceivable modification to the arrangement that could ever be in compliance with Catholic moral teaching.
“Incrementally separating the Boston archdiocese from committing an abortion or from the provision of contraception, sterilization and other such ‘services’ does not negate the fact that, through this agreement, Catholic hospitals will ultimately be referring mothers to abortion and/or contraception facilities such as Planned Parenthood, if the deal between Caritas Christi and CeltiCare remains as it is now written.
“Cardinal O’Malley can stop this today with one word. We beg Cardinal O’Malley and the Boston archdiocese to prevent yet another scandal by providing a clear defense of Catholic moral teaching, rather than a pact driven far more by financial interests than fidelity to the Catholic faith.”
American Life League was cofounded in 1979 by Judie Brown. It is the largest grassroots Catholic pro-life organization in the United States and is committed to the protection of all innocent human beings from the moment of creation to death. For more information or press inquiries, please contact Katie Walker at 540.659.4942.
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