I heard an interesting bit of information last night while watching television. I looked it up this morning to verify it and lo and behold - it turns out to be true.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has successfully operated with other organizations around the country to manage programs for victims of human trafficking. They were first funded by the Bush administration in 2006. They had a five year contract with the Bush administration.
When President Obama took office his administration changed the procedures from a contract to a competitive grant. An independent review board judged the merits of each application, and assigned a score to each organization. The Catholic bishops did not qualify for the grant even though HHS said their work in the field of human trafficking had been extremely successful.
Although HHS denies it, the bishops believe they were denied the grant over concerns that the rescued victims will not get access to information on contraceptive services, family planning and abortion.
The Catholic church has very strict beliefs concerning abortion, contraceptives and family planning. The Affordable Care Act brought many of these to the forefront since Catholic organizations were going to be forced to provide these services to their employees in direct violation of their religious beliefs.
"Victims of trafficking have significant health care needs. Based on these needs, our Office of Refugee Resettlement included an explicit preference for organizations that would ensure that victims had access to information and referrals for the full range of health care services in the funding announcement for these grants." the Health and Human Services said in a statement.
"The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops indicated it could not meet that standard."
The bishops believe the denial of the grant for their program is intentional because they are not offering those particular services as the Obama administration has deemed necessary. Never mind that their program helps thousands of victims - if those victims are not going to learn about contraception and abortion from the bishops' group then the group will be denied funding.
"This has never been a problem before," said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, spokeswoman for the Catholic bishops. "It was supposed to be a fair and competitive process," Walsh said. "In the competitive process, evaluated by an independent body, we came out second place," she added, "HHS has politicized the grant process, that's the problem."
Just one more shining example of how the Obama administration politicizes everything.