Tuesday, January 13, 2009

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Victimized By Sex Slaves

Photo by MonkeyMyshkin

How deranged do you have to be to make helping victims of human trafficking all about *your* beliefs and dignity as opposed to, you know, the lives and dignity of the victims?

BOSTON – A federal lawsuit filed Monday claims Roman Catholic bishops are wrongly imposing their religious beliefs on victims of human trafficking by prohibiting grant money to be used for emergency contraception, condoms and abortion care.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the complaint in federal court in Boston against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The suit claims the agency, which distributes money to help trafficking victims, has allowed the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to limit the services its subcontractors provide. The ACLU claims the bishops' conference is misusing taxpayer money and attempting to impose its religious beliefs on trafficking victims.


The bishops' conference, which promotes Catholic activities and does charitable and social welfare work, began administering the funds under the trafficking law in 2006, using social service organizations as subcontractors to provide the services. In its lawsuit, the ACLU said the agreements between the conference and the subcontractors explicitly prohibit them from using the funds to provide "referral for abortion services or contraceptive materials."

"We will continue to provide those services in the contract that are consistent with our belief in the life and dignity of the human person," said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the bishops' conference, which was not named as a defendant in the complaint.

Also, why exactly do we need the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops as an intermediary between the money people (us, the taxpayers, via the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) and the people who actually do the work (the subcontractors)?

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