No Funding for USCCB Anti-Trafficking Services

Steve Wagner, president of the Renewal Forum and former HHS official, and Kim Daniels, religious-liberty attorney and coordinator of Catholic Voices USA, submitted a well written op-ed to the New York Daily News on human trafficking. They write about how the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services no longer receives funding from the Obama administration because the program does not provide abortion-related services. I would like to share this op-ed with you.

Here is an excerpt from the op-ed:

For years, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ well-regarded office of Migration and Refugee Services has helped lead the charge against human trafficking. The global reach of the Catholic Church makes MRS well positioned to serve victims of this international affliction. Through its top-rated Anti-Trafficking Services Program, MRS has helped human-trafficking victims from some 64 countries, providing immediate assistance wherever they’re suffering.

Yet the administration placed abortion politics ahead of this important work. In May 2011, the federal Department of Health and Human Services decided its human trafficking grant-making process would prioritize those who would provide “family planning services and the full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care.”

Translation: Unless you offer abortion and contraception, you’re not welcome. Meaning the Catholic service provider — whose model program has received some $15 million in federal funds since 2006 — did not receive any of the $4.5 million in HHS funding for trafficking victims this year.

You can read the whole op-ed here.

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10 Responses to “No Funding for USCCB Anti-Trafficking Services”

  1. Henry Schwalbenberg says:

    Those interested might want to follow up Mr. Wagner and Ms. Daniels op ed piece with Mr. Wagner’s more detailed talk on youtube, “Steven Wagner: The Scourge of Sex Traffiking.”

    It still baffles me why one government agency, the US Agency for Internatonal Development, seems to be able to work quite well with Catholic agencies overseas, while another government agency, Health and Human Services, is unable.

  2. Rita says:

    The religious freedom provision of the US Constitution has two clauses: the establishment clause and the free exercise clause. The issue with grants to MRS is that they may violate the establishment clause because, on religious grounds, MRS does not make contraceptive services available. (My understanding is that the Hyde Amendment prohibits all federal funding for abortion so that should not be a concern in awarding grants.)

    From a common sense viewpoint, much as the bishops believe that Catholic institutions should not be forced to pay for something they consider immoral, government officials may find it improper to provide grants to organizations having policies based on religious concerns.

    MRS is in no way restricted from carrying on its good work if the Church or other private parties pay for it.

  3. MaryG says:

    50 million abortions since Roe v. Wade does not satisfy Caesar. The Government wants control of all things reproductive. Men “marrying” men is promoted. It is not reproductive. Free sterilization is utopian.

    And the Bishops want anti-trafficking services without reproductive controls? This is completely against the long-range policy of You-Know-Who. Has our Church openly repented its rebellion against Humanae Vitae? Are these not the consequences?

  4. Joshua says:

    2 Timothy 3:12 “And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution.”

  5. AndyP/Doria2 says:

    As many Catholics in the Church Militant already know, this administration and it’s allys in the Modernist church have declared war on the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church.

    It’s about time our leaders realized this and put on the armor of Christ.

  6. Gene Sullivan says:

    It is sadly clearer almost every day that the current administration in DC is trying to gain control of most aspects of life in the US. This case is but one example. I fervently hope that the Supreme Court will resoundly stop Obamacare this week. Perhaps the DC folks will get the message.

  7. Much of what inflicts the Catholic Church today is a result of the self inflicted wound which is described so eloquently in Saint Pius X’s encyclical of 1907. It’s not a long read and it can be found on under ‘On the Doctrines of The Modernists’.

    Catholic laymen and leaders have to have enough humility to re-examine those things we jettisoned morally, liturgically, culturally back in the 60’s. This is particularly true if we wish to attract more manly men into the active fold once again.

    The only place where the Church is not shrinking is where Catholic life is lived in stark contrast to the conciliar-ism of the post Vatican – II era. The Council itself was not some ‘super – dogma’ which redefined the Faith. In fact… it was not even a dogmatic council but only a pastoral council. Yet we are still feeling the effects of the ‘spirit of the council’ which in many ways represents a break with sacred tradition.

    Contrary to what many Catholic leaders would like to believe… we do not live in a crisis of culture… rather we live in a crisis of FAITH. This is especially true of our Catholic leaders. In the end… it all proves that the faithful Catholic writer in good standing in the person of Mr. Michael Davies was right about many, many things.

    Servus, Bob

  8. Nick says:

    I don’t understand the correlation between human trafficking and health care. Shouldn’t the government be freeing slaves, not supporting their slave holders with health services?

  9. Irene says:

    I don’t think the agencies should be defunded because they don’t offer family planning services.

    But I would also like to caution against any sense of entitlement to government grants. I have worked in non-profits my entire career, and spend more time than I would like trying to raise money. These applications can be very competitive and I’m not sure how helpful it is to aggressively gripe in the press when you don’t get the money. Sometimes you can attract more bees with honey, especially when the donor is not required to give you money and has a lot of other good groups to choose from.

  10. David Paggi says:

    This is one of many pointers to a chilling fact: the Obama Administration in general, and HHS in particular, have a goal and mission to drive our Church out of as many areas of society as it possibly can. We can speculate on what sort of thinking would motivate this action, but that it is occurring on a number of fronts should shock us from complacency into action.

    We no longer have the luxury of internal bickering over social, economic, immigration, defense, or other policy areas which have so long been a source of contention. If we want to exist as a Church that can say ANYTHING, we have to survive the current challenges and the worse to follow.

    Many who read this are lifelong Democrats or liberals who are invested in the current administration, or if not, may have serious misgivings or disagreement with the only available alternative. Nevertheless, if the ability to even have this conversation is to remain, we must survive with our Church and her definition of mission intact.

    Hold you nose if you must, but if you care about your freedom, your faith, your Church, its social ministries, and the contribution Catholic thought makes to our society, please, for the sake of the souls of generations to follow, vote for the (gasp) Republican nominee. Abstaining, like surrender, is not an option.