HHS Ends Grant to Catholic Church for Failure to Make Reproductive Health Referrals
The Catholic Church is at odds with the Obama Administration over a recent decision to end Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) funding to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops because of its stance on birth control and reproductive rights. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops was previously awarded grants from HHS to help victims of human trafficking. In September, HHS awarded the grants to other organizations because the Catholic Bishops refused to provide referrals for reproductive services to human trafficking victims.
Last spring, as the contract between HHS and the Catholic Bishops was set to expire, HHS issued new guidelines for the awarding of the funds which included a "strong preference" for a contractor who would refer victims to family planning and reproductive health services. The ACLU had filed a lawsuit in 2009 because many victims of human trafficking are raped and need access to a wide range of services, including abortions and birth control. Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the Catholic Bishops, told the Washington Post, "The principle of church teaching is that all sexual encounters be open to life. It's not a minor matter; this is intrinsic to our Catholic beliefs."
Ms. Magazine previously exposed this issue of the Catholic Church refusing to provide reproductive health services as early as 2006 and it appeared as a cover story in the Winter 2010 magazine. The Catholic Church is now claiming discrimination and calling the decision politically-motivated. The Church was already angered with the Obama Administration's recent mandate that private insurers not charge co-pays for contraceptive services for women. The HHS funds for the victims of Human Trafficking, $4.5 million, will now be split between three nonprofits- Heartland Human Care Services, Tapestri and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.
Media Resources: The Washington Post, 11/1/11; Ms. Magazine, Winter 2010
7/29/2014 Extensive Female Genital Mutilation Study To Be Conducted in the US - The Obama administration plans to conduct a large study on female genital mutilation (FGM) to try to assess how many girls and women in the US are at risk, and how many have already experienced, FGM.
According to experts, FGM tends to take place during summer break when parents take their daughter outside of the country for the practice.
Jaha Dukureh, a 24-year-old woman who grew up in Gambia, experienced FGM there, and then child marriage in the US, started a petition that gained more than 220,000 supporters. . . .
7/29/2014 Women Just Won Big In Mississippi - Feminist Majority Foundation leaders are elated by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding a preliminary injunction against a Mississippi TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider) law that would have closed the only abortion clinic in the state. . . .