Here's some follow-up to this post.
Boston's Catholic charity has apparently made a partnership with another company, CeltiCare. CeltiCare's representative Brian Delaney has definitely confirmed, as of May, that the program will provide "family planning services as appropriate." (Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a sub-link for this particular story on Catholic Action League's main page, so the only way to access it is to search for "CeltiCare" on the page, or, later, with the site name.)
As previously reported, the requirements of the contract are the provision of an 800 number to women seeking abortions and even, if necessary, transportation.
This March story from the Boston Globe (which just came to my attention) is particularly damning.
The vote [to approve the health-care contract for Caritas] followed several closed-door sessions in which officials from Centene and Caritas, the minority partner in the joint venture, assured regulators that women will have "ready access" to family planning and reproductive services, an issue that sparked concerns from abortion foes and reproductive rights activists.
Among the written assurances are a pledge that medical staff operating under the Centene-Caritas insurance plan, known as Commonwealth Family Health Plan, will inform women of their healthcare options, including abortion. The insurers will also provide a toll-free customer service line, available around the clock, to inform women about where they can get contraception, sterilization, and other family planning services not offered in the immediate setting. In an emergency, a service representative will arrange transportation to the nearest appropriate facility, officials said.
The regulators promised to watch closely. "We will certainly monitor their performance," said Jon Kingsdale, the authority's executive director. "We will not allow them to start up or continue if they are not in compliance."
As a measure of the underlying tensions, four board members emphasized the need for oversight.
"I remain somewhat concerned about implementation," said Nonnie Burnes, state commissioner of insurance and a former Planned Parenthood board member. "I am willing to support this as long as we have some way to monitor this" in doctor's offices and other healthcare facilities.
It doesn't get much clearer than that. The government board received written assurances that the plan will provide "ready access" to all these "services," including a round-the-clock number and transportation in an "emergency," however "emergency" is being defined. Moreover, a former Planned Parenthood board member will now be part of the oversight board to monitor their promised compliance.
Here is a NARAL press release from about the same time:
We are not privy to the details of the Centene-Caritas bid, but it does appear that the Connector has obtained affirmation from Centene-Caritas that low-income women and men of the Commonwealth will be “insulated” from the influence of Caritas in this system such that this joint venture will improve – not impede – access to basic care, including the reproductive and sexual health care required by law...The Globe story came out on March 13, yet the contract is apparently still going forward, with a planned start-date of July 1.
This Catholic blogger, Carol McKinley, believes that she has solved some of the mystery. McKinley has apparently been bugging the Knights of Malta and has received a verbal statement to the effect that "Caritas will not be referring for abortions." Her theory, backed by some research of her own, is that the directors of Caritas are salving their consciences (and the consciences of their diocesan leaders?) by creating a separate business entity which will formally and legally be the entity doing the abortion referrals. She writes to Joseph Feitelberg of the Knights of Malta,
You responded to my last email by calling Bill Cousins on Friday and asking him to assure me that "Caritas" will not be making referrals for abortions" I phoned you later Friday evening to have a followup conversation. I must confess, there still seems to be a great deal of confusion.
Hopefully I can clear up the confusion in a more simplified manner in this email....
When you and the Cardinal are using the word "Caritas" in this context, I believe you mean to convey that the Cardinal and Caritas have created another business to carry out the abortions. In this business structure, the name "Caritas" is a substantial partner in the abortion business but the name "Caritas" will be on the back burner.
The confusion is arising because pro-lifers are speaking about the various people involved in this venture, the souls, the living people, not the name of the businesses that will execute the services that are binding in the contract....
If I understand the situation as it currently stands, when you say "Caritas will not be doing abortions or referring women for them", you don't mean Caritas isn't involved in the abortions business or the women won't be referred by a business Caritas is involved in or the abortions won't happen as a result of the contract "Caritas" has entered, you mean the abortion services "Caritas"has promised to perform on women will be done under a different business name. On face value, a soundbyte can be created that inoculates Caritas from what is happening on the ground inside of the hospitals to the people, "Caritas will not be doing abortion referrals". (Is the Bioethics Center giving an opinion on the spiritual obligations of a Cardinal hiring people to perform services that are obstacles to the salvation of those souls?)
I'm sorry to have to say it, but McKinley's analysis of the situation looks very plausible.
HT Mike Liccione