Shh: NY Catholic Church Quietly Paying for Birth Control, Abortions

The New York Archdiocese is suing the federal government to stop the mandate that employer-paid insurance policies must cover birth control, with Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York leading the fight claiming that it is unconstitutional to force the church to fund "such morally illicit activities." But it turns out the Archdiocese of NY has been quietly paying for such coverage — even abortions — for over a decade. The Catholic Church are hypocrites!? Imagine that!

The New York Times is reporting that "even as Cardinal Dolan insists that requiring some religiously affiliated employers to pay contraception services would be an unprecedented, and intolerable, government intrusion on religious liberty," the archdiocese he heads has been using its own money to pay for a union health plan that includes coverage for birth control and abortions for those employed at its nursing homes and clinics since the 1990s.

As the president of the United States Council of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Dolan has been at the forefront of the church's war against the Affordable Care Act, even rejecting arm's-length compromises offered by the Obama administration that would've allowed employees of religious institutions (schools, hospitals, nursing homes etc.) to be automatically enrolled in a separate individual health insurance policy without cost sharing or additional premiums.

Oddly enough, the way its health care is set up now, the church's funds are much more involved in providing contraception than if it just accepted the terms offered by Obamacare.

The archdiocese agreed to cover its own health workers long before Cardinal Dolan became archbishop of New York, and even today insists that it has no choice. As a result, about 3,000 full-time workers at ArchCare, also known as the Catholic Health Care System, receive coverage for contraception and voluntary pregnancy termination through their membership in 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, a powerful health care workers union, according to Dave Bates, a spokesman for the union.

Bruce McIver, the president of the league since 1991, said that while the church initially "expressed concern" about paying for contraceptive benefits nearly 20 years ago, "[e]ventually, 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."

Allowing women to make their own choices about their bodies? That sounds like an excellent approach to the issue. Why won't the church just continue looking the other way? It's what they're good at.

Archdiocese Pays for Health Plan That Covers Birth Control [NYT]