NEW YORK, May 28, 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 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.”
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 provide abortion coverage 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.
Other recipients include Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, who watched as state health authorities refused to inspect abortion facilities like Kermit Gosnell's; former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland; and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, who just signed the state's physician-assisted suicide bill into law.
The union also boasted it turned out millions of phone calls and knocked on doors as part of its get-out-the-vote campaign. One SEIU organizer, who wished to remain nameless, accused the union of forcing its employees to campaign for left-wing political candidates, something the worker dubbed “mandatory volunteerism.” It is a common charge among labor unions.
That spending has translated into unprecedented access for the 2.2-million member union.
Its 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.
In 2009, President Obama named SEIU lawyer Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the council that mediates the nation's most contentious labor disputes. After Sen. John McCain placed a hold on the nomination, Becker served a recess appointment from March 2010 to December 2012. He has since returned to work for the AFL-CIO.
Patrick Gaspard, who was political director for 1199, served for two years as Obama's director of the office of political affairs. He did not disclose a $37,000 payout from 1199 in 2009, while he was active in the White House. He then moved to Obama's re-election campaign and now works with Organizing for America (OFA). Upon hearing John Roberts' ruling on the constitutional challenge to ObamaCare, Gaspard tweeted, “It's Constitutional. Bit—s.”
The administration's Manufacturing Czar, Ron Bloom, caused a stir when he said, “We know the free market is nonsense…We kind of agree with Mao [tse-Tung] that political power comes largely from the barrel of a gun.”
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.
The statements, and behavior, of SEIU leaders has caused some to question the advice its members offer.
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, Andy 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.
Under Andy Stern, a New Left campus activist with a background in community organizing, the SEIU has enmeshed itself in a series of politically active, radical causes.
Stern, at the helm of SEIU, took a seat on the executive council of Americans Coming Together (ACT), a get-out-the-vote organization funded by billionaire George Soros.
SEIU supports the California bill allowing non-physicians – including midwives – to perform abortions.
1199 provided material, as well as intellectual, support to “Occupy Wall Street” protesters in Zuccotti Park in 2011, although Democratic pollster Doug Schoen found nearly one-third of OWS members “would support violence to advance their agenda.”
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 1199 local financed Al Sharpton's National Action Network conference last April.
SEIU single-handedly coordinated more than 100 buses carrying illegal immigrants to mass rallies demanding amnesty in cities throughout the American Southwest in 2006.
The union sees transforming the American electorate as a key to continued political victories, such as foisting the HHS mandate on religious employers.
SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer and honorary chair of the Democratic Socialists of America Eliseo Medina said in the summer of 2009 that an effort to “reform the immigration laws” would put “12 million people on the path to citizenship and, eventually, voters. Can you imagine…if we get eight million new voters that care about our issue and will be voting, we will create a governing coalition for the long-term, not just for an election cycle.”