FAITH UNDER FIRE
'Imposing beliefs on vulnerable population they are supposed to serve'
The American Civil Liberties Union has launched a lawsuit against the federal government to force Catholic groups that take taxpayer dollars to provide birth control and abortions for illegal immigrants.
“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, Fox News reported.
The suit seeks access to public records related to health care provided from unaccompanied illegal children who were served by Catholic-tied groups. Depending on the content of those documents, the ACLU said it could take further legal action.
Fox News reported about 60,000 minor-aged illegals crossed into America from Mexico in 2014, about a third of whom were girls. Amiri said 80 percent or so were sexually assaulted.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops contracts with the federal government to assist these children, and has taken in $73 million for that purpose, Fox News reported. But the ACLU says the groups working with the USCCB refuse to provide abortions to the girls who’ve been impregnated by rape – and that’s wrong, its attorneys say.
“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, Fox News reported.
The bishops, meanwhile, say they’ve served the illegal immigrant population for years without threat of lawsuit, and the ACLU is infringing on their religious freedom rights.
“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,”said Kevin Appleby, director of the USCCB’s Office of Migration Policy and Public Affairs.