Caritas Catholic Health System Wins Bid, Will Refer for Abortions Not Do Them

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 12, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Caritas Catholic Health System Wins Bid, Will Refer for Abortions Not Do Them

by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 12
, 2009

Boston, MA ( — The Caritas Catholic health care system has been in the news lately for a controversy over a health insurance bid that could have resulted in doing abortions. Massachusetts state officials awarded the bid and now state authorities say it will not do abortions but will refer for them.

Caritas Christi Health Care joined with Centene Corporation in a bid to provide government-subsidized health insurance in Massachusetts that would include coverage for abortion.

The bid to provide state-subsidized health insurance would take place through the Commonwealth Care program.

State officials approved the plan today and the Boston Herald says a state health insurance spokesman says Caritas insures seeking an abortion will be referred to a consumer hotline to find other insurance providers who will cover an abortion.

That sort of referral is still too much involvement in the abortion process for pro-life advocates who have been monitoring the situation.

C. J. Doyle of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts criticized Caritas for telling the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority Board that women will have “ready access” to abortion.

He called the contract “a significant defeat for the pro-life movement, inflicted not by secular society, but by the Catholic Church in Boston.”

“What remains of the Catholic character of Caritas Christi has now been fatally compromised," he told "The partnership in which Caritas Christi is one of the two principals will provide ‘ready access’ to abortion, which the Catholic religion condemns as ‘an abominable crime.’"

Doyle says any woman under the plan who wants an abortion will be referred to another place "which will not only arrange for the procedure, but if necessary will provide transportation to the facility which performs it.”

Doyle also criticized Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who confirmed earlier that Caritas would not do abortions.

"I want to confirm for the Catholic community and the wider interested public that Caritas Christi Health Care has assured me that it will not be engaged in any procedures nor draw any benefits from any relationship which violate the Church’s moral teaching," O’Malley said in a statement.

"I understand and support the desire of Caritas Christi to serve as a healthcare system collaborating with this program," O’Malley continued. "If it can happen without compromising the Catholic identity of the system, it would benefit both civil society and especially the poor in our community."

Despite the assurances, Anne Fox, president of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, told the Boston Globe she remains skeptical.

"We have great respect for their position in the past, but given the statements, further clarification is necessary, in spite of what the cardinal said," she responded.

Fox noted statements from Centene that the joint venture would include abortions and said O’Malley "has given a guarantee that I don’t think he is capable of giving, given what they have said in public."

Fox said her group has asked for a meeting with Caritas officials to receive assurances that abortions will not be done.

ACTION: Contact Caritas Christi and urge it not to begin doing abortions or referring for them. Caritas Christi Health Care,
736 Cambridge Street, Boston, MA 02135, (p) 617-789-2500, [email protected]

Related web sites:
Caritas Christt –

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