A report from a government watchdog group has revealed that six members of the government’s “service arm”, AmeriCorps, were permitted to escort young pregnant women to abortion clinics, which is in direct violation of government funding rules.
The Hill is reporting on the shocking revelations found in the report by an inspector general which detailed that the advocacy, which was done with permission from the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), encouraged and, in some cases, even facilitated, abortions. These violations took place at one of the 34 community health centers that works with AmeriCorps.
AmericCorps, created by President Bill Clinton in 1993, is the “pubic service” arm of the federal government which means it is not permitted to use the public funds it relies upon for abortion-related services.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), which is the federal agency that oversees AmeriCorps, expressed its deep disappointment that one of its partners, the NACHC, had violated federal law.
“Although the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) investigation concluded the misconduct occurred on an extremely limited scope, the grantee broke the law and violated the spirit of national service,” CNCS spokeswoman Samantha Jo Warfield wrote in a statement to The Hill.
Dave Taylor, chief operating officer of the NACHC, told The Hill that the group’s leadership “self-reported the issue to the proper authorities” immediately after learning about the potential violations.
“We take this matter seriously,” Taylor said, adding that his organization had cooperated with authorities throughout the investigation. “We moved immediately to cease the activity in question, and suspended the identified site’s AmeriCorps members for a period until they and their site supervisors were retrained and revised member service contracts were reviewed and signed.”
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time AmeriCorps has been caught advocating for the abortion industry. According to the Family Research Council (FRC), in 2011, the group’s workers were discovered at Planned Parenthood clinics where they were serving out nine-month terms as “volunteers.”
They have also been criticized for “mimicking the work of lobbyists and political organizers for agenda-driven community organizations.”
In spite of this questionable track record, Congress just gave AmeriCorps a big bump in funding, which is why many lawmakers are crying foul.
Representative Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who controls the purse for Congress’s health care spending bills, expressed outrage by what he calls “the terrible misuse of taxpayer dollars” to fund abortion-related services.
“Given these disturbing developments, I believe this grantee should be immediately terminated from the HealthCorps program,” Cole said.
Energy and Commerce Chairs Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) were equally upset. “Federal law demands that taxpayer dollars are never to be spent on abortion activities. Not one penny. Period… The law was violated and this shameful failure of trust will not be tolerated.”
AmericCorps behavior has also shed a bad light on the nation’s network of community health centers which many lawmakers are relying upon as a replacement for Planned Parenthood clinics.
“I have long highlighted the work of our nation’s community health centers as an alternative to the big-abortion business of Planned Parenthood and its related groups,” said Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) in a statement.
“I have long highlighted the work of our nation’s community health centers as an alternative to the big-abortion business of Planned Parenthood and its related groups. As a nurse, a mother, and a defender of life, I am heartbroken to now learn that the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) allowed AmeriCorps volunteers to promote abortion in violation of federal law.”
The NACHC didn’t just break the rules, Black said, they broke trust with the American people.
“My constituents expect that federal funding given to our community health centers will be used to protect and enhance people’s lives, not to be a willing partner in their destruction. Strict oversight is needed to determine whether NACHC’s support of abortion is indeed limited to the incidents described in the OIG report or if the problem is more pervasive.”
She is calling upon the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to reevaluate NACHC’s eligibility for HealthCorps grant funding.
“Our laws protecting the unborn today are tragically minimal, but they must mean something and when they are not followed, consequences must be enforced,” she said.
For now, the government’s community service office has imposed tough new reforms that will hold groups like the NACHC accountable. It has also required the group to hire an outside “oversight monitor” and has banned it from enrolling any new volunteers under its grant.
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