Taxpayer-Funded AmeriCorps Volunteers Broke the Law by Working at Abortion Clinics

National   Micaiah Bilger   Apr 26, 2016   |   10:38AM    Washington, DC

A government watchdog has uncovered another case where taxpayer dollars were being used for abortions in the U.S.

The service program AmeriCorps self-reported that some of its members escorted pregnant women to abortion clinics in violation of  federal grant requirements, according to The Hill. A federal inspector general is expected to release a detailed report Tuesday that explains the federal violations, the report states.

According to the report, six AmeriCorps volunteers provided emotional support and transportation to women seeking abortions at a community health center in New York City. The abortion work was organized through the National Association of Community Health Centers, which partners with AmeriCorps, the report states.

When AmeriCorps leaders discovered the violation, they quickly stopped the program and reported it to the government, the report states. The Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees AmeriCorps, lists abortion among the prohibited activities in the program. According to the agency, members may not provide abortion services or make referrals for such services.

In a statement released today, Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK), of the House Appropriations Labor, Health and  Human Services, said “I am outraged by the terrible misuse of taxpayer dollars under the direction of the National Association of Community Health Centers.”

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Here’s more from the report:

“Although the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) investigation concluded the misconduct occurred on an extremely limited scope, the grantee broke the law and violated the spirit of national service,” CNCS spokesperson Samantha Jo Warfield wrote in a statement to The Hill. She did not detail the prohibited behavior.

Dave Taylor, chief operating officer of NACHC, said in a statement to The Hill that the group’s leadership “self-reported the issue to the proper authorities” immediately after learning about the potential violations.

“We take this matter seriously,” Taylor said, adding that the NACHC has cooperated with the federal community service office and the watchdog group throughout the investigation. He declined to provide any details about the investigation, but said his organization had received a copy of the full report.

So far, the response to the investigation has been far-reaching.

The government’s community service office said it imposed “tough and detailed reforms” to hold groups like the NACHC accountable.

It also took steps to penalize the NACHC, requiring the group to hire an outside “oversight monitor” while also banning it from enrolling any new volunteers under its grant.

The community health group also reported that it took steps quickly to halt the program.

The reports did not indicate how much taxpayer money was used or how long the volunteers were promoting abortion.

This is the second time in the past month that government auditors have discovered tax dollars being used for abortions in violation of the law. In Nebraska, state auditors reported that Planned Parenthood illegally used federal tax dollars for abortions, LifeNews reported.

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