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Monday, February 23, 2015

Obama administration enforces its abortion ideology in grant program for child refugees

Undaunted by its Supreme Court loss in the Hobby Lobby religious freedom case, the Obama administration continues to discriminate against faith-based organizations in matters regarding moral convictions. The latest assault on religious freedom comes in a new regulation that requires referring refugee children for abortions and providing pills that can end the life of a developing human embryo.
In announcing new "Standards To Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Sexual Abuse and Sexual Harassment Involving Unaccompanied Children," the Office of Refugee Resettlement asserts, "ORR is mindful that some potential and existing grantees and contractors may have religious or moral objections to providing certain kinds of services, including referrals (for example, for emergency contraception). ORR is committed to providing resources and referrals for the full range of legally permissible services to UCs who need them, helping to facilitate access to these options, and doing so in a timely fashion...."
Translation: We're going to enforce our abortion ideology and nothing is going to stop us.
ORR then goes on with a bunch of politically required language about welcoming applications by faith-based groups. The agency offers as a solution that faith-based groups wanting to help children should forget about getting the main grant from the government and just hope that other organizations willing to do the dirty work will ask faith-based objectors to serve sub-grantees.
For more details, read this report by C-FAM.
I responded today to the administration by submitting the following comment on behalf of the Christian Medical Association:
The 15,000-member Christian Medical Association strongly objects to the administration's unilateral requirement of even faith-based organizations to adopt its ideology regarding abortion and sexuality, as dictated in "Standards To Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Sexual Abuse and Sexual Harassment Involving Unaccompanied Children," a rule by the Children and Families Administration.
The new rule asserts that while faith-based groups technically may still apply for grants, they should be prepared to sit in the back of the bus as sub-grantees due to their unwillingness to participate in abortions, provide pills that can cause the death of a developing embryo and other activities deemed morally impermissible by many in the faith community.
The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) asserts that such discrimination is necessitated because "ORR is committed to providing resources and referrals for the full range of legally permissible services."
Just because something is legally permissible, however, hardly certifies that it is helpful to anyone or especially helpful to children, and thus required for an effective grant program. No respectable physician provides patients with literally anything the patient requests simply because the item requested is legally permissible. No government program should be constructed under the baseless assumption that every legally permissible item or action is necessary or beneficial for the recipients of help.
So to require, then, that all grantees must be willing to "provide resources and referrals for the full range of legally permissible services" is a fundamentally unsound approach driven not by evidence, research or medical justification. Rather, the requirement is simply a blunt political instrument to force compliance with the administration's peculiar ideology and to discriminate against its ideological opponents--most conspicuously in the faith community.
Given this administration's defiance of America's history of religious toleration, its determination to eradicate conscience protections in healthcare and its radical approach to issues regarding sexuality and reproduction, this letter is not written in the expectation of a fair hearing or policy change. Rather, it hopefully serves to highlight how politics and ideology are corrupting our agencies that are supposed to be dedicated to health and social welfare.
Action: Send your comment by the deadline TODAY: online or by contacting Elizabeth Sohn at UACPolicy@acf.hhs.gov or by phone at (202) 260-6829. Deaf and hearing impaired individuals may call the Federal Dual Party Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Eastern Time.

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