Religious Restrictions on Reproductive Health Services for Victims of Human Trafficking: Analyzing the Policy and Funding Landscape in Light of ACLU V. Kathleen Sebelius and USCCB
Anne E. Fehrenbacher, University of California, Los Angeles
Susie Baldwin, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
Brigitte Amiri, American Civil Liberties Union
A legal battle between the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) highlights growing tensions about the role of faith-based organizations in the delivery of reproductive health services for victims of human trafficking. Since the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) in 2000, the Catholic Church has received an estimated $15 million in federal funding to assist trafficking victims. In 2009, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the federal government for allowing the USCCB to use public funds for programs that prohibited access to contraception, abortion, and sterilization for trafficked women. In October 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services declined renewal of USCCB's contract, prompting Catholics to label the decision a violation of religious conscience laws. With the reauthorization of the TVPA still pending, funding for trafficking victims' assistance remains an area of concern on all sides.
Session 130: U.S. Reproductive Health Policy