is reporting that the hearing, entitled, "HHS and the Catholic Church: Examining the Politicization of Grants" will scrutinize a decision by the HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) to deny the Church a grant for its human trafficking programs. The decision was made in spite of findings by an independent review board that gave the program higher marks than any other program under consideration.
"The Church was denied the grant because it refuses to offer abortion referrals," explains Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League.
However, the issue of abortion referral isn't the only reason. "The real issue is something more sinister: the pro-abortion community, which is supporting the Obama administration’s push to mandate that private healthcare plans provide coverage for sterilization and contraceptive services, has its real sights set on mandated abortion coverage," he said.
This is why there has been an explosion of editorials and op-eds published in recent weeks calling for the president to stand up to the bishops, he says.
"Everyone knows that even minimum-wage earners can afford contraceptives, so this issue hardly explains the heated rhetoric," Donohue writes. "What mandated contraceptive services accomplish is that it greases the slide towards abortion coverage."
The bias was so blatant that employees of the HHS complained to their inspector general that the process of approving the grants had been politicized. An anonymous HHS official told the Washington Post that HHS political appointees reshaped the request for proposal guidelines in order to add a “strong preference” for agencies offering referrals for family planning and the “full range” of gynecological and obstetric care.
“It was so clear and blatantly trying to come up with a certain outcome. That’s very distasteful to people,” the official told the Post.
"Many Catholics, including the Catholic League, believe that the politicized nature of the decision to defund the program demands a hearing," Donohue said.
"And on Thursday we will get it."
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