Quietly on Christmas Eve, the Obama administration changed the rules on handling refugee children who enter the country without their parents and report being victims of sexual assault. All refugee aid groups, including Catholic and other Christian groups, will now be required to refer those girls to facilities that provide abortions.
Religious groups that work with refugees are concerned that the new rules may require them to give up federal funding.
Dr. Susan Yoshihara of the New York and Washington DC-based Center for Family & Human Rights (C-Fam) first reported the change last week: “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.”
Yoshihara reported that the new rule was “fast-tracked” and that the administration says it would be “contrary to the public interest to wait until a public notice and comment process is complete.” She reports that the administration rejects the necessity for Congressional comment or approval.
Specifically, the new rules “require faith-based providers to make referrals for emergency contraception, partner with groups that provide for abortion, or notify the federal government that would make arrangement for the abortion.”