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NEW YORK (ChurchMilitant.com) - A lavish gala raised over $1.5 million for an archdiocese of New York health care group that knowingly pays for abortion and contraception coverage for their healthcare employees.
The archdiocese of New York has about a dozen assisted living facilities and employs hundreds of workers under the umbrella of ArchCare. They provide short-term rehabilitation, nursing home care, autism housing and palliative care to "people of all ages and faiths."
The Bronx Free Press reported Scott LaRue, president and CEO of ArchCare, said, "As caregivers, it's our nature to embrace those in need and direct our compassion and resources where needs are greatest."
About half of ArchCare's employee benefits packages include abortion and contraception coverage. Church Militant obtained a 2015 letter from Cdl. Timothy Dolan, the archbishop of New York, confirming this practice began in the 1980s under Cdl. John O'Connor who served as the archbishop of New York from 1984 until his death in 2000.
Cardinal Dolan acknowledged the archdiocese pays for these services in a "benefits fund." This fund then pays the union for a number of benefits for their members — contraception and abortion services among them.
"This system of reimbursement to the union was acceptable to Cardinal O'Connor (who sought advice from several theologians specializing in moral theology)," Cdl. Dolan wrote.
He went on to explain that the contraceptive and abortion benefits could not be separated from the benefits package.
He wrote the union was "unwilling to consider the possibility since this has been the praxis for ArchCare union employees for more than 25 years."
The ArchCare coverage for contraception predates the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraception mandate. In 2013, Cdl. Dolan told Meet the Press reporter David Gregory that the bishops can't support the ACA because Catholics are being asked to violate their consciences with the requirement to provide coverage for contraception and abortion services.
Cardinal Dolan also bristled at the lack of comprehensive support for undocumented immigrants and unborn babies.
Health care workers in New York belong to 1199SEIU, United Healthcare Workers East, that claims to be the largest health care union in the nation. They represent over 400,000 workers from New Jersey, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
In 1968, to avoid having to individually negotiate with the union, 90 non-profit health care facilities formed the League of Voluntary Hospitals and Homes of New York (LVHH) to act as the bargaining agent with the union.
ArchCare's president, LaRue, is listed on the LVHH's Board of Directors.
In July, the LVHH reached an agreement with 1199SEIU on a four-year contract that ends in 2021.
As implied, membership in the LVHH is voluntary, and ArchCare could choose to negotiate their employees' contract individually.
Tickets to the lavish ArchCare gala were $1,500 each with sponsorship tickets running from $10,000 to $75,000.
Comedian Jim Gaffigan, who often appears publicly with Cdl. Dolan, was the entertainment for the night. The popular Catholic comedian came under fire last June for posting pictures of his children waving rainbow flags at the New York City gay pride parade.
Church Militant reached out to the archdiocese and ArchCare but was told to contact their public relations firm for ArchCare, Reputation Architects.
Jon Goldberg, chief reputation architect at Reputation Architects, has not responded to Church Militant's questions.
Church Militant also reached out to the LVHH but they didn't respond to Church Militant's questions.