NY archdiocese pays contraceptive cover ‘under protest’

While Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York spearheads the fight against a new health care law that requires employers to cover birth control in employees’ health insurance, his archdiocese is already paying for contraceptive coverage for thousands of unionised employees.

When a New York Times report drew attention to this situation, the archdiocese insisted it was paying “under protest” and only because it could not control the union’s health-care programmes.

The Times report, which focuses on about 3000 employees at the nursing homes and health clinics operated by the archdiocese, said the archdiocese, albeit reluctantly, has been paying for a health care plan that covers contraception and even abortion for these workers.

The archdiocese belongs to the League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes, a multi-employer organisation that negotiates with the union every few years for a joint labour contract.

The Times quoted Bruce McIver, the president of the league since 1991, as saying he recalled that some Catholic organisations had expressed concern about paying for the contraception benefits in the mid- to late 1990s.

But in recent years, as the number of Catholic hospitals in the city dwindled, “they just kind of stopped, from my perspective, paying attention to this issue,” he said.

“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.”

Archdiocesan spokesman Joseph Zwilling said that Cardinal John J. O’Connor and the archdiocese objected to these services being included in the health insurance plan when joining the league in the 1990s.

But the cardinal then decided “there was no other option if the Catholic Church was to continue to provide health care to these union-affiliated employees in the city of New York,” Zwilling said.

In opposing mandatory contraceptive coverage in the “Obamacare” federal health plan, Cardinal Dolan has repeatedly said that it would be a gross violation of religious freedom to compel Catholic institutions to pay into plans that provide contraceptive coverage.


New York Times

Archdiocese of New York

Image: CatholicPhilly

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