CMA Op-ed published December 7, 2011 in National Right to Life News Today
by Jonathan Imbody, Vice President for Government Relations, Christian Medical Association; Director, Freedom2Care
Question #1: Where does a performance rating of just 69 out of 100 merit an award of more than $2.5 million?
Answer: Only in Washington, D.C.
Question #2: When does a tiny organization without even a qualified financial officer receive a federal grant that will nearly triple its operating budget?
Answer: When the organization submits to the Obama administration’s political ideology and a more qualified grant applicant does not.
Question #3: According to the Obama administration, what one medical “service” trumps all others when caring for human trafficking victims?
A grueling December 1 hearing by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee revealed the disturbing answers to these questions, in the process infuriating Republican committee members and others concerned with aiding victims of human trafficking.
By the end of an over three-hour long grilling of U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials, one message had become clear about the Obama administration's criteria for receiving the $4.5 million in federal grants for trafficking victims services: Pro-life groups need not apply.
Withering questioning and comments by majority party committee members included expressions of disgust, dismay and even unusually salty language by a clearly frustrated committee chair, California Republican Darrell Issa. Yet HHS officials under fire stubbornly accepted no responsibility for bias or wrongdoing--either for stipulating that "strong preference" would be accorded to grant applicants willing to participate in abortion and other controversial "services" or for awarding the grants to applicants deemed by objective reviewers to be poorly qualified.
Political appointees "rigged" grant process to weed out pro-life groups
Internal HHS documents obtained by the committee revealed that two organizations awarded grants by HHS officials--Tapestri and the U.S. Committee on Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI)--had submitted applications that received significantly lower scores by independent review panelists than did the application submitted by the pro-life U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The Tapestri application earned a score of just 74 out of 100; USCRI's application garnered only 69; while the USCCB application received a score of 89.
The radically pro-abortion Obama administration had set up the weighted grant process by introducing new language to a grant program introduced in the Bush administration to aid victims of human trafficking, or modern-day slavery. The funding opportunity announcement for the "competitive" grant stipulated:
- "The Director of [the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement] will give strong preference to applicants that are willing to offer all of the services and referrals delineated under the Project Objectives. Applicants that are unwilling to provide the full range of the services and referrals under the Project Objectives must indicate this in their narrative ...."
- The stipulations added that "...preference will be given to grantees under this [funding opportunity announcement] that will offer all victims referral to medical providers who can provide or refer for provision of treatment for sexually transmitted infections, family planning services and the full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care..."
Continue reading full commentary.
To help stop discrimination against those who hold pro-life and faith-based convictions, use CMA's Freedom2Care Legislative Action Center easy-to-use, pre-written email forms to urge your legislators to support the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act:
- H.R. 361 cosponsors: Contact your rep re: Abortion Non-Discrimination Act
- S. 165 cosponsors: Contact your senators re: Abortion Non-Discrimination Act
Read Abortion Non-Discrimination Act text
Watch video of CMA briefing at U.S. Capitol on conscience rights and religious liberty
CMDA Resources on Human Trafficking