Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bishops Appeal Court's Decision on Trafficking Victims Grant

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced on Tuesday that it has filed a notice of appeal with the First Circuit Court of Appeals in  American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts v. Sebelius.  In the case, a Massachusetts federal district court held that the Department of Health and Human Services violated the Establishment Clause when, in selecting the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops to administer funds under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, it permitted USCCB to impose religious restrictions on use of grant funds. The Bishops prohibited grantee subcontractors from using grant funds to refer trafficking victims for abortion services or contraceptive materials. (See prior posting.) The Washington Times reports that Rep. Christopher H. Smith, the New Jersey Republican who authored the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, supports the bishops' appeal.