Major Obama backer negotiated Archdiocese of NY’s coverage of contraception, abortion
NEW YORK, May 30, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Archdiocese of New York must fund abortion-on-demand and contraception as part of the terms of a contract negotiated by a major donor to President Barack Obama.
The archdiocese acknowledged on Monday that it funds the morally objectionable services for 3,000 medical workers in the Catholic Health Care System, known as ArchCare, under a contract negotiated with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
The national union spent more money on behalf of the Democratic Party during the 2012 election than any other PAC, union, or group in the nation.
The archdiocese told the New York Times on Monday that it must furnish coverage “under protest” for these ArchCare employees because of their membership in the League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes. The league negotiated the benefits with 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East decades ago.
Observers on all sides say there is likely little Cardinal Timothy Dolan or others can do to change the policy, because of the union's heavy political power.
ArchCare CEO Scott LaRue told the New York Times, “It doesn’t matter whether you join the league or you don’t join; the league determines the contract, and then the union goes and forces the same arrangement on the other homes whether you are in the league or not.”
Zwilling told the Catholic News Agency on Thursday, “The union, local 1199, is present in all health care facilities. Even if a health care facility chose not to negotiate with the union, it would be forced to abide by the same terms of the contract."
Bruce McIver, president of the league, admitted it “would be very difficult” for ArchCare to change the terms of the SEIU contract.
That has not prevented proponents of the mandate from accusing Cardinal Dolan and the archdiocese of duplicity when criticizing the HHS mandate, which would force Catholic institutions to pay for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs.
“The Catholic Church are hypocrites!? Imagine that!” writes Traci Egan Morrissey at Jezebel.com. “Why won't the church just continue looking the other way? It's what they're good at.”
Sarah Lipton-Lubet of the ACLU said, “I can’t begin to understand the argument that coverage that has been part of the plan for however many years is suddenly anathema.”
Some supporters are also outraged. Claire Healey at The American Spectator charged the cardinal with “blatantly ignoring his own policies by allowing health care plans continue to indirectly fund abortions, as they have for over 10 years.”
The archdiocese said the stipulations already existed before ArchCare came into existence, and Cardinal Dolan's predecessors had to choose whether to fund abortion under objection or deprive thousands of its workers of health care coverage.
“The Constitution and other provisions of federal law prohibit the government from imposing the mandate on the Archdiocese,” responded Joseph Zwilling, communications director, today. “A labor union is not subject to the same constraints as the federal government in this regard, and so the fact that 1199 requires these benefits as part of its plan does not excuse the government’s violation of the Archdiocese’s federal rights.”
The SEIU – both at the national and local level – wholeheartedly suports the government's attempts to coerce the archdiocese into violating its conscience.
Last year national president Mary Kay Henry stated union members were “standing up for the freedom of women to make their personal health decisions with their families and physicians, not their employers.” (Emphasis in original.)
SEIU was the top spender for the Democratic Party in the 2012 election, dispensing almost $70 million, and possibly more.
"The presidential election is our number one priority this year," said SEIU political director Brandon Davis.
The union joined forces with the superPAC Priorities USA Action on a series of Spanish-language totaling $4 million.
The SEIU spent more than $27 million supporting Barack Obama in 2008 and tens of million in the 2010 election.
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The 1199 local has also made $10,022,162 in political donations since 2003, with nearly 60 percent of its contributions to candidates going to Democrats. Democratic candidates received more than twice as much as Republicans during that time period.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has received more of 1199's political contributions than any other politician: $130,000 from 2006-2012.
The union's longtime president, Andy Stern, was among President Obama's closest advisors during his first term. Incomplete visitor logs show Stern among the most frequent visitors to the White House. He also served on the president's deficit reduction panel.
Obama has, in turn, appointed SEIU advisors to sensitive positions in his administration and granted the union waivers others have been denied.
Obama has furnished Local 1199 SEIU Greater New York Benefit Fund, and its 4,550 enrollees, with an ObamaCare waiver, exempting the union from complying with his signature legislative accomplishment.
SEIU – with George Soros’ Open Society Institute, the Democracy Alliance (of which SEIU is a member), and the Tides Foundation – funded Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which accused the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops of engaging in “prohibited electioneering” against Barack Obama, and thus violating tax law.
The statements, and behavior, of SEIU leaders has caused some to question the advice its members offer.
Andy Stern suddenly stepped down as SEIU leader in 2010 just days before the FBI and the Labor Department announced they were investigating whether he had illegally used union money to fact-check and promote his 2006 book, A Country that Works, and whether he paid an SEIU boss $150,000 to do nothing.
In December 2011, Stern wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal touting Communist “China's Superior Economic Model.”
“I wonder what a persecuted Chinese Christian or a Chinese woman who suffered a forced abortion would think upon seeing this article,” wrote Joseph Lawler at The American Spectator at the time.