A new report today indicates the Obama administration has put new rules in place for organizations that help women victimized by sex trafficking. The new federal guidelines essentially say that the administration will no longer provide grants for groups that don’t push abortion on sex trafficking victims.
The only groups that will be eligible for federal grants under the new Obama administration rules are those groups willing to victimize women again by pushing abortion if they become pregnant.
The Obama move comes months after Congressional Democrats were criticized for putting abortion funding ahead of helping sex trafficking victims. Democrats voted five times to block a bill to help sex trafficking victims in order to attempt to fund abortions with federal funds.
The Washington Examiner has more on the new rules the Obama administration put in place:
Religious groups that refuse abortion counseling no longer can get grants to help trafficking victims unless they ensure the counseling is provided by a third party, under new guidelines by the Department of Health and Human Services.
In guidance quietly posted online in June, the agency said groups competing for grants must offer “the full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care,” which includes abortion counseling and referrals. If groups don’t offer the services, they must propose an alternative approach to remain competitive for a grant.
That has at least one anti-abortion advocate contending the new policy may violate the federal Weldon Amendment, a law saying federal money can’t be awarded if it’s being used to discriminate against healthcare entities that won’t provide or refer women for abortions.
Jeanne Mancini, president of March for Life, which stages a big anti-abortion march in Washington every January, called the policy change legally questionable.
“We need to ask if this is legal,” Mancini said. “I think it is terrible the Obama administration is willing to put abortion policy ahead of good, loving services to these women who have already gone through the mot undignified treatment of people that could happen.”
This isn’t the first time the Obama administration has put abortion ahead of helping human trafficking victims.
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The Obama Administration put abortion ahead of human trafficking twice — by denying a grant to the Catholic bishops to help victims because they wouldn’t promote abortion and by refusing to investigate how the Planned Parenthood abortion business covered up potential cases of sex trafficking.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had previously received a five-year $19 million grant to help victims of sex trafficking during the administration of pro-life President George W. Bush. Sensitive to how women are exploited in the sex industry, the Catholic bishops prohibit any subcontractors from using the funds to pay for or promote abortions. Instead, the Catholic bishops provide comprehensive case management services to survivors including medical and mental health services.
While the Obama administration extended the contract briefly, the bishops were notified that it would not be renewed. Instead, Obama officials awarded the grant to three other groups (Tapestri of Atlanta, Heartland Human Care Services of Chicago and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants of Washington) — even though the bishops have helped more than 2,700 victims with the funding.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held the hearing on the administration’s decision.
During the hearing, committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, said the decision violated the Obama administration’s “pledge to be the most transparent in history.”
“Unfortunately, today, we are presented with an example of how that goal is not being met and an opportunity to understand how the federal grant-making process has been politicized,” he said.
“The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform has begun an investigation into the process used by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement to award grants that fund many types of care and services,” he told the hearing. “That investigation has uncovered many disturbing facts about the grant awards process, including: the most experienced and top rated national applicant was not selected, and lower-ranked organizations were somehow funded. The process was delayed for months while the agency struggled to find ways to inject new criteria into the process, and—of great concern—the judgment of experienced, career-level professionals was discarded when political appointees chose to overrule transparent decision-making.”
“These actions appear to constitute an abuse of discretion and undermine the integrity of the process, while potentially violating the spirit, if not the letter, of federal laws and regulations that prohibit discrimination based on religious beliefs,” Issa said.