Fighting Human Trafficking: No Catholics Allowed
ORR said that in the 2011 anti-trafficking contracts, it would favor proposals where the recipient would refer for the full range of legally permissible obstetric and gynecological services, a code for contraceptives, abortion and sterilization. It did not say it would simply exclude applicants on this basis. Even with this handicapped status, USCCB beat out USCRI and Tapestri—until apparently the rules changed. [Editor's Note: At publication 27 U. S. Senators are asking the administration for more information on this matter.]
Whether or not this pro-abortion/contraception favoritism is legal is one question. Whether there was a demand for these services is another.
In the hierarchy of needs for trafficking victims, it would seem that safety, food, shelter, legal support and medical care have priority. Do trafficking victims who fear that their traffickers will kill them for escaping think "contraceptives first"? Is it the concern of the men, who as labor-trafficking victims comprised about two-thirds of the survivors who were helped by the previous anti-trafficking grant that MRS held for more than five years? If there were an unmet need or any complaint by those served, show me the data.
HHS's manipulation was not harmless. The new grants were to go only to programs that would be up and operating within ten days of the date of the awards. Instead, 450 enrolled victims of trafficking and their families were left without services when the new awardees were not ready to roll on time.
Abortion politics blinds some people. Now the proponents have gone so far that HHS will violate an executive order and gut a program that has successfully served thousands of vulnerable people. Someone needs to deal with this travesty. MRS and the American people have the right to demand: "Show me the data!"
Sister Mary Ann Walsh is Director of Media Relations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Her latest book is Benedict XVI: Essays and Reflections on His Papacy. You can follow Sister Mary Ann Walsh on Twitter and on Facebook.