The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing the federal government to obtain records related to reproductive healthcare policy for unaccompanied immigrant children provided by federally-funded Catholic agencies to determine if they are refusing to offer abortion and contraceptive care to these children.
Fox News is reporting on what could become a new front in the persecution of the faithful in America as the ACLU decides to sue for records they could use to pressure the Church into providing services which violate Catholic teaching.
“We have heard reports that Catholic bishops are prohibiting Catholic charities from allowing teens in their care to access critical services like contraception and abortion- even if the teenager has been raped on her journey to the United States or in a detention facility,” said ACLU staff attorney Brigitte Amiri.
“The Catholic Bishops are taking millions of dollars in federal grants- and then imposing their beliefs on this vulnerable population who they are supposed to serve… and that raises serious concerns under the separation of church and state provision in our Constitution,” said Amiri.
Last year, 60,000 unaccompanied minors illegally crossed the border from Mexico. Nearly a third were young girls of which 80 percent were victims of sexual assault.
As Fox reports, the government is currently contracting with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to care for these children until they can be reunited with a relative or attend an immigration hearing, and has thus far received $73 million from the government to provide this care.
The bishops have responded to the threats from the ACLU by maintaining that they are within their rights to exercise religious freedom while caring for these minors.
“For decades, we have provided exemplary services to this vulnerable population without facilitating abortions, and despite ACLU’s extreme assertions to the contrary, the law not only permits our doing so, but protects it,” said Kevin Appleby, Director of the USCCB’s Office of Migration Policy and Public Affairs.
He goes on to say that instances of a child asking for a service contrary to the beliefs of the Church are rare and says the USCCB informs the government of a girl desiring reproductive healthcare if the government has legal custody of the child.
“Let’s be clear about the ACLU’s purpose here: ending the productive and successful partnership between the Catholic Church and the federal government on the care and shelter of vulnerable populations. Denying us the freedom to serve betrays the very children the ACLU is purportedly attempting to help,” he told Fox News.
Currently, six out of nine national refugee resettlement agencies in the United States are faith-based organizations, including the USCCB, which is the largest in terms of persons served, and World Relief, which mobilizes the resources of the evangelical community. Together, these organizations resettle the majority of refugees entering the United States each year.
Thus far, the ACLU is only suing for records and will consider further legal action depending on what those documents reveal.
© All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace® http://www.womenofgrace.com