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Remember when certain Catholic bishops, prominent among them Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of New York, were protesting the fact that religiously-affiliated employers who served and employed non-Catholics, would be required to provide insurance the covered contraceptive services.  This was supposedly a horrible affront to their religious freedom, and even to the religious freedom of Catholic owners of private, for-profit businesses who would be required to provide such coverage.  They even sponsored a supposed "Fortnight for Freedom," complete with demonstrations to denounce this horrible denial of their religious freedom.  A number of them, and Catholic business owners, have filed suit to have this declared a violation of their First Amendment rights.

Today, the New York Times has a major article demonstrating just how hypocritical this opposition actually is.  The Archdiocese of New York had previously acknowledged that some Catholic institutions within its jurisdiction had been providing such coverage to comply with New York law mandating such coverage.  But now the Archdiocese "is also acknowledging that the archdiocese’s own money is used to pay for a union health plan that covers contraception and even abortion for workers at its affiliated nursing homes and clinics."

It seems that back in the 1990s, even before the New York State mandate to provide contraceptive services came into existence, some health care institutions operated by the Archdiocese of New York or its affiliates joined something called The League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes, a larger group of health care institutions that negotiated, as a group, with the SEIU, and the collective bargaining agreement called for health insurance that covered contraception and even abortion.

Bruce McIver, the president of the league since 1991, said he recalled that some Catholic organizations 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,” Mr. McIver said.

During union negotiations, “I don’t remember it coming up in the last dozen years or so, ever,” he said. “In a place like New York, their employees, not all of whom are Catholic, would react pretty badly.”

Wow, allowing your employees, many of whom are non-Catholics, "to make their own choices about contraception and so forth."  What a concept!

The article notes that, in theory, ArchCare [the entity that controls the health care facilities affiliated with the Archdiocese of New York] could have negotiated independently with the unions, but that this would have been "difficult" since as the head of the larger association says, "It's hard to go bacwards."  The head of ArchCare claims that it wouldn't have mattered if they had negotiated with the union independently or not, since the union would have forced them to adopt the same contract that it had with the larger association.  Sorry, but that's not true.  The union might have TRIED to do that, but such coverage would have been included only if ArchCare AGREED to it.  As recent history has proven, employers have lots of options if they're unwilling to agree to a union's contract demands.  The obvious fact is that this supposedly sacrosanct religious principle not to provide contraceptive coverage, even indirectly, wasn't so important that it was worth dealing with some labor problems to preserve it.

What's almost comical is that a couple of the private, for-profit companies that have been so vocal about the contraceptive coverage requirement supposedly violating the religious principles of their Catholic owners HAVE BEEN PROVIDING CONTRACEPTIVE COVERAGE, AND EVEN ABORTION COVERAGE, ALL ALONG.  They don't claim that they were forced to provide such coverage by anybody, but instead claim that they didn't know it was covered under their group insurance coverage.  Somehow, I suspect that these businessmen would laugh at a customer of theirs who claimed he hadn't read the contract with their business, and therefore shouldn't be bound by it.  But we're supposed to believe that this "religious principle" that is so important to them wasn't worth taking the simple step of reading the coverages under their group insurance contract.

I strongly recommend reading the entire NYT article.  It's quite eye-opening.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

    by leevank on Mon May 27, 2013 at 06:35:31 AM PDT

  •  Anyone with a religious objection to (9+ / 0-)

    abortion, sterilization or birth control should not utilize those services.  Denying those services to others is inflicting your own religious views on them.

    Socialist? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    by Kimbeaux on Mon May 27, 2013 at 07:05:00 AM PDT

    •  But they believe that abortion is the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kimbeaux, misslegalbeagle

      murdering of a person (and not everyone who believes this is religious). We all agree that murder should be illegal and that people should be imprisoned for committing it. For anti-abortionists to ignore abortion would be akin to the rest of us ignoring a murder taking place next door because what is murder to us may not be murder to the neighbors. It sounds silly to me that the killing of a 12-week old fetus is viewed as murder by some people, but once I understood that for them the murder of a fetus is the same as the murder of an adult would be for me, I understood why it is that they think they should be able to dictate rules to the rest of us.

      •  The ACA doesn't mandate coverage for abortions (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kimbeaux, myboo

        They're VOLUNTARILY paying for that now under their union contract, and some of the Catholic business owners are voluntarily paying for it because they apparently didn't read the coverages under their group policies.

        Well, to be technically accurate, they claim that IUDs and morning after contraceptive pills cover abortions, since in addition to preventing ovulation, they will prevent implantation of a fertilized ovum.  But RIGHT NOW, they're covering abortions where there is a fetus that has already implanted, and that's apparently less objectionable than providing insurance policies that cover contraception, even if it doesn't cost them an extra penny to provide that coverage.

        Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

        by leevank on Mon May 27, 2013 at 07:36:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  So, if abortion is murder, then used (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        leevank, Odysseus

        tampons and napkins should be buried with all due ceremony, or risk being charged with desecration of a corpse.  Considering how many fertilized eggs do not implant and are ejected during menses, this is the logical conclusion.

        Our society does not consider abortion to be murder.   It does not compel anyone to donate tissue or organs, even when that donation makes the difference between life and death for the recipient.  Restricting abortion access relegates the rights of pregnant women to less than any potential organ/tissue donor.  But our country has embraced the idea of equal rights to all.

        I understand that many people think that left-handed people are cursed or demon-possessed.  That does not make it true, reasonable, or a good basis for policy decisions.  Similarly, thinking abortion is murder is not true, reasonable, or a good basis for policy decisions.  

        Socialist? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

        by Kimbeaux on Mon May 27, 2013 at 08:37:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  We all agree that abortion in the first (0+ / 0-)

          trimester is not murder. We have deep disagreements as to whether an elective abortion in the third trimester (though it almost never happens) would be murder. There is no one "magic day" when everyone agrees that an unborn fetus gets some rights. This is a highly divisive issue in the abstract. That is why the USSC's decision in Roe v. Wade is so pragmatic and wise. It arbitrarily breaks abortion law down by trimester, and results in a compromise most of us think is wise. But while I support the decision, it's not as is I believe that the transitions between trimesters are magic days that really are demarcations from a biological perspective.

    •  It's "freedom for me, but not for thee" (n/t) (0+ / 0-)

      Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

      by leevank on Mon May 27, 2013 at 07:37:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There is an objective difference between (0+ / 0-)

        them limiting freedom of access to contraceptives and them limiting freedom of access to abortion. The first is made of strictly religious grounds. The latter, though, is based on differences we have with them over whether abortion is murder or not. That is a much more nuanced issue. Even within our pro-choice community, we have disagreement over just when in the pregnancy a woman's rights should be limited in terms of an elective abortion. It is a much more complicated issued, and not entirely a religious one, while contraception is purely a religious construct.

        •  People used to have non-religious (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus

          objections to "colored" people in "white" people spaces.  

          The problem here is not accede to unreasonable demands, but to educate everyone to understand that women have the right to health care, including reproductive health care.  Regardless of anyone's reason for denying us this right.

          Socialist? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

          by Kimbeaux on Mon May 27, 2013 at 08:40:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  So what? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kimbeaux

          I repeat:  The ACA does NOT mandate coverage for abortions.  That's something they're voluntarily providing today in some cases.

          Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

          by leevank on Mon May 27, 2013 at 09:30:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  The church sees their being forced to pay for (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kimbeaux, marykk, VClib, Bronx59, Odysseus

      these services, as forcing them to use services they morally object to.

      This is just another example of why tying health insurance to employment through the tax code and other ways is bad policy.

      If we had a policy of forcing employers to provide employees with their groceries, we would see similar objections raised by vegetarian employers in regards to a mandate providing meat to employees.

      Single payer makes more sense.  If not single payer, everyone should purchase through the exchanges.  Keep employment separate from health insurance.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Mon May 27, 2013 at 07:42:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, tying health care to employment is (0+ / 0-)

        wrong in many ways. But we have to accept that that is the way it is in the United States, and will be for the foreseeable future. The Single Payer concept is politically impossible.

      •  But aren't anti-discrimination laws in hiring (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kimbeaux, nextstep, Bronx59

        the same?  After all, by forcing "religious based employers" like Hobby Lobby to employ gay people aren't you thus forcing them to subsidize/pay for their "gay lifestyle" which they also consider to be immoral?

        You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

        by Throw The Bums Out on Mon May 27, 2013 at 07:55:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Unquestionably, there is merit to your point (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kimbeaux

          There is a balancing of competing rights of employer and employee that courts work out over time with varying degrees of consistency.

          The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

          by nextstep on Mon May 27, 2013 at 08:25:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Not many states extend that protection (0+ / 0-)

          To LGBT. Mostly it's race, gender, religion and ethnicity UNLESS it's a bona fide occupational qualification.

          If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

          by marykk on Mon May 27, 2013 at 08:31:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  And that needs to change, too. I strongly (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Odysseus

            support extending discrimination protection (and health care access) to LGBTQ people nationwide.

            Socialist? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

            by Kimbeaux on Mon May 27, 2013 at 08:43:04 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Like… (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kimbeaux

            interior decorator? Or the cast of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy? ^_^

            Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

            by Mokurai on Mon May 27, 2013 at 01:34:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's not exactly what I was thinking (0+ / 0-)

              but religious organizations are allowed a religion requirement for employees whose duties embrace certain tasks (the Baptists can't be compelled to hire a Buddhist pastor) but not others (the church janitor, for example)  Gender is not usually a BFOQ, but, for example, a movie director will no be required to audition men for women's roles, etc.  In short, it's the rare case in which those traits are BFOQs.

              If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

              by marykk on Mon May 27, 2013 at 02:11:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  And in most states Hobby Lobby can not hire LGBT (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kimbeaux

          employees. Discriminating based on sexual orientation is only against the law in specific states.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Mon May 27, 2013 at 09:24:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  But wouldn't those anti-discrimination laws (0+ / 0-)

            in those states that have them be just as unconstitutional (or not) as the ACA mandate on contraception?  It seems to me the exact same argument could be made against those anti-discrimination laws.

            You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

            by Throw The Bums Out on Mon May 27, 2013 at 09:30:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Regarding employment issues (0+ / 0-)

              Protected classes are defined statutorily by the Federal or State government. Sexual orientation is not a federally protected class and only in those states who have employment statutes providing protection do LGBT members have any specific legal rights.  I don't think it's at all similar to the health insurance issues and covering contraception or abortion. That's a different body of law.

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Mon May 27, 2013 at 09:46:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  My point is that if the ACA mandate is (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Kimbeaux

                unconstitutional because it forces "religious based employers" like Hobby Lobby to fund something they consider to be against their religion (contraception) then why wouldn't those state anti-discrimination laws that prohibit discrimination against GLBT people for employment (in those states that have them) also be unconstitutional under the exact same argument?  The only way it would be different is if it were a state vs federal issue and that is not what Hobby Lobby is arguing, they are arguing that any such mandate, state or federal is unconstitutional so by that logic GLBT anti-discrimination statutes should also be unconstitutional as well.

                The point is, it is the exact same thing.  In states where there are GLBT employment protections Hobby Lobby is being forced to pay for something (the employee's "gay lifestyle") that goes against their religious beliefs.  Being forced to pay for something that is against their religious beliefs is their argument.

                You have watched Faux News, now lose 2d10 SAN.

                by Throw The Bums Out on Mon May 27, 2013 at 12:26:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  At this point states have much broader legal (0+ / 0-)

                  rights than the federal government and there is no federal sexual orientation employment protection. I don't think you would have an apples to apples comparison unless there was a federal statute. We all recognized that states had a right to create a health insurance mandate while it was uncertain the US did. The other issue is that non-discrimination issues don't require that you hire every LGBT candidate who applies for a job. You have some discretion as an employer.

                  "let's talk about that"

                  by VClib on Mon May 27, 2013 at 12:52:50 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  Yep (0+ / 0-)

        If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

        by marykk on Mon May 27, 2013 at 08:31:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Sometimes there is little choice. Have you not (0+ / 0-)

      heard of the partnerships between catholic hospitals and what were once secular hospitals, where part of the deal is that the once secular hospital must follow Catholic practice when it comes to maternity issues, end of life and some other matters, even when the patient's opinion is otherwise or their medical condition contraindicates that practice.?

       It is very common in my state, and as a result a lot of services are becoming unavailable in various areas because they do not conform to Catholic teaching, even in secular hospitals. Our university hospital and state medical school is considering such a partnership now, which may result in tax paid for hospitals being compelled to follow religious requirements  It sounds like the Cardinal will fold where the secular society around him fights for those rights, but others will insist on theirs if nobody is paying attention. It happens a lot here, especially where there are few hospitals for a particular community, and getting the hospital on board means all the doctors who have admitting privileges there . . . .  Keep up the good fight.

      •  I believe that if hospitals which inflict (0+ / 0-)

        particular religious views on patients were not eligible for government aid these partnerships would not go forward with the religious restrictions.  Hospitals are too dependent on government dollars for their operation.  Denying access to that pool of money would force them to either drop their religious restrictions, or would increase demand for another institution that does not have these restrictions.  

        Socialist? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

        by Kimbeaux on Tue May 28, 2013 at 05:51:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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