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Catholics, Health Services Clash over Trafficking Funding

The Department of Health and Human Services pushes abortion coverage at the expense of trafficking victims.

In ongoing disputes between national Catholic groups and the federal government, victims of sex trafficking might suffer the most damage.

The Washington Postreported this week on mounting friction between the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS decided in late September to end a contract underwriting the conference's service to trafficking victims. The $19 million contract, awarded to USCCB since 2006 under President Bush's faith-based funding initiative, helped provide housing and counseling to trafficking victims.

Following church teaching, USCCB had refused to refer victims to contraceptives or abortion services. HHS officials decided to award the grant to three other groups, despite some HHS staff's protests that the USCCB should continue to get funding based on its score from an independent review board. The Post reports the review board scored two of the competing groups significantly lower than USCCB.

Citing anti-Catholic ...

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