WASHINGTON (Christian Examiner) -- Faith-based organizations that receive federal funding to care for unaccompanied child refugees entering the U.S. will now be required to offer "emergency contraception," including abortion-inducing drugs, or risk losing their financial support.
In December the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) published an Interim Final Rule to standardize procedures that "prevent, detect, and respond to sexual abuse and sexual harassment involving unaccompanied children (UC) in ORR's care provider facilities," the Federal Register website states.
The IFR was open for public comment through Monday. Now organizations caring for these minors must comply with the rule by June 24, 2015 or lose their federal grants.
The regulation states "ORR is mindful that some potential and existing grantees and contractors may have religious or moral objections to providing certain kinds of services, including referrals (for example, for emergency contraception)," but expects faith-based care provider facilities to make referrals, partner with other organizations or contact the government in order to comply.
For example, the rule says "a UC requested emergency contraception but the grantee that housed the UC objected to providing such services on religious or moral grounds, the grantee need only provide notification to ORR in accordance with ORR policies and procedures that the UC requested such services..... Once notified, ORR would then have its Federal staff coordinate the provision of such services."
"Emergency contraception" approved by the Food and Drug Administration includes drugs known to prevent egg fertilization or the implantation of a fertilized egg, according to CNS News.
According to World Magazine, currently six of the nine resettlement organization's are faith-based entities.
Susan Yoshihara, senior vice president at the Center for Family and Human Rights (CFAM) told World Mag imposing the requirements on faith-based organizations violates their conscience rights and called the move "just the last round being fired at faith-based groups."
Yoshihara shared further insight on the regulation in an article she wrote for CFAM, where she noted the IFR was expedited and congressional review was not considered a necessary requirement to instate the regulation.
"The Obama administration is getting ready to issue new rules requiring charities to provide abortions to child refugees entering the US without their parents. Faith-based groups say this is a contravention of the rights of parents and a violation of the conscience rights of faith-based groups helping resettle the children."
Although the regulation does not specifically state it requires the faith-based organizations to provide access to "abortion," CNS News reported HHS officials directed the news organization to the IFR and provided a written statement.
"This rule is the first regulation to comprehensively address the issues of sexual abuse and sexual harassment in Office of Refugee Resettlement care provider facilities nationwide. The standards build upon and enhance existing state and local laws, regulations, and licensing standards."
Other objectionable standards imposed on faith based organizations is a requirement that all care providers receive sensitivity training for guidance on serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and intersex UC's.