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Senators to HHS: Why Not Religious Organization?

UCCBLed by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Marco Rubio (R-FL), a total of 27 Senators co-signed a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius requesting an explanation for her department’s action to decline a grant to a religious organization.  Earlier this fall, the HHS Office of Refugee Resettlement decided not to continue funding a program coordinated by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to serve human trafficking victims.  USCCB had overseen the aid program since 2006.  While HHS did not elaborate on its decision to change course, HHS reportedly noted that it would prefer grantees willing to provide referrals for a “full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care.”  In their letter calling for a detailed explanation, the signing Senators declared, “The integrity and lawful administration of our federal grant process — particularly with respect to equal treatment of religious institutions — must not be compromised.” 

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