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POLITICS

FLASHBACK: President Obama cut funds for Catholic group helping victims of trafficking

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Charlie Spiering

At the Clinton Global Initiative summit today, President Obama vowed to work with faith based organizations to fight human trafficking, which he called “one of the great human rights causes of our time.”

"This coming year, my Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships will make the fight against human trafficking a focus of its work," he said. "They’re doing great work."

But just last year, Obama ended $19 million in federal grants to the U.S. Catholic bishops for a program dedicated to helping trafficking victims.

The USCCB’s Migration and Refugee Services program, which had been operating with federal Department of Health and Human Services grants since 2006, was forced to come to a halt, although it had helped over 2,700 victims.

The HHS insisted that the decision to cut grants for the organization had nothing to do with a political agenda, but rather through “a competitive grant process.” But the “competitive” grant application was quietly reshaped by the HHS, adding a “strong preference” for applicants who would refer victims to contraceptive and abortion services.

“There seems to be a new unwritten reg at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS),” said Sr. Mary Ann Walsh, director of media relations at the USCCB at the time. “It’s the ABC Rule, Anybody But Catholics.”

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