WASHINGTON, D.C., September 7, 2011 ( – U.S. Health officials are prioritizing abortion-friendly clinics over pro-life and religious facilities in handing out grants to help sex trafficking victims.

Bob Laird, a fellow of HLI America and former Executive Director of the Catholic non-profit Divine Mercy Care, reported on new language used in a recent request for grant proposals issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in a column for the Washington Times on Thursday.

The document on the HHS website tells grant petitioners: “Taking into consideration the particular health risks posed to victims of trafficking, preference will be given to grantees … that will offer all victims referral to medical providers who can provide or refer for … family planning services and the full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care.”

While applicants whose values make them “unwilling to provide all of the services and referrals” referenced are still eligible, notes HHS, the Administration for Children and Families will give “strong preference” to applicants willing to refer for all the services, including family planning.

“This is government-speak that means this: If you do not provide or refer for abortion or contraception, you will receive no money,” wrote Laird.

“This language in federal grants essentially excludes those physicians and religious organizations who historically have been on the front lines in helping the victims of sex trafficking but whose beliefs prohibit the performance of, or referral for, abortion and contraception.”

Planned Parenthood clinics, which will likely benefit significantly from the grant prioritization, have been found by undercover sting operations to actually aid investigators posing as sex traffickers of young foreign girls.

Several tapes showing clinic workers encouraging the undercover investigators, including offering advice for STD testing and cheap abortions for the girls, were recorded in five clinics in New Jersey and Virginia.

Former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson confirmed that such abetting occurs in the organization “all the time.”

“Planned Parenthood has created this idea of tolerance,” she explained. “They want to tolerate all these lifestyles, and all these different walks of life for their clients; they forget to protect their clients.”

In his Times column, Laird considered the family planning priority as another demonstration of a tight relationship between “reproductive health” advocates such as Planned Parenthood and the Obama administration, and antagonism towards institutions such as the Catholic Church.

Only weeks ago, Planned Parenthood won from the HHS the massive contraceptive coverage mandate it had lobbied for months to secure, and which the U.S. bishops had strenuously fought as a major breach of conscience rights for faith-based organizations.

In light of that fight, “this latest boon for the administration’s pro-abortion allies looks more like part of a trend than an independent, fact-based policy decision,” wrote Laird.


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