HHS Will Require Caretakers of Unaccompanied Children to Provide Abortion-Inducing Drugs

By Penny Starr | February 20, 2015 | 6:49pm EST

Health and Human Service Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell (AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) is advancing federal regulations that require federally funded organizations caring for illegal alien minors who are in the United States without their parents (Unaccompanied Children or UC) and who may have been sexually abused access to “emergency contraception” services.

“Emergency contraception” includes abortion-inducing drugs.

These care providers currently include Catholic and other faith-based organizations that oppose abortion, according to the Center for Family and Human Rights or C-FAM, a Catholic advocacy group.

The Interim Final Rule was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 24, 2014, and was open to public comments until today, Feb. 23, 2015. Providers must comply with the rule by June 24, 2015, according to the Federal Register.

“This IFR proposes standards and procedures to prevent, detect, and respond to sexual abuse and sexual harassment involving unaccompanied children (UCs) in ORR’s care provider facilities,” it says.

The regulation says: “Care provider facilities must provide UC victims of sexual abuse timely, unimpeded access to emergency medical treatment, crisis intervention services, emergency contraception, and sexually transmitted infections prophylaxis, in accordance with professionally accepted standards of care, where appropriate under medical or mental health professional standards.”

According to an HHS Fact Sheet, emergency contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration include Plan B One-Step, Next Choice One Dose, My Way and Levonorgestrel Tablets and the IUD.

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The label of one such emergency contraceptive--Plan B One Step—says: "this product works mainly by preventing ovulation (egg release). It may also prevent fertilization of a released egg (joining of sperm and egg) or attachment of a fertilized egg to the uterus (implantation)."

According to Web MD the hormonal IUD “changes the lining of the uterus, so implantation of a fertilized egg cannot occur.”

The rule notes that the government is aware that some care providers may have religious and moral objections to providing what the government calls “emergency contraception” to unaccompanied illegal alien children, but then suggests some ways that such organizations can partner with others to do so.

“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),” says the regulation. “ORR is committed to providing resources and referrals for the full range of legally permissible services to UCs who need them, helping to facilitate access to these options, and doing so in a timely fashion and in a manner that respects the diverse religious and cultural backgrounds of UCs. At the same time, ORR is also committed to finding ways for organizations to partner with us, even if they object to providing specific services on religious grounds.”

The regulation goes on to say: “Again, as long as UCs [unaccompanied children] have timely access to all required services, different organizations could divide up the services provided.”

“In some circumstances,” the regulation says, “another way in which the grantee could ensure access to any program services would be for the grantee to notify the federal program office responsible for the grant if a UC, who has been informed of the available services, may qualify for or be entitled to any program services, including referrals, to which the organization has a religious objection. It would then be the federal agency’s responsibility to secure the provision of the needed services, or, if appropriate, transfer the case to another provider.”

On page 135 of the 143-page public inspection document it also states: “If pregnancy results from an instance of sexual abuse, care provider facility must ensure that the victim receives timely and comprehensive information about all lawful pregnancy-related medical services and timely access to all lawful pregnancy-related medical services.”

Nowhere in either this document or the regulation itself does it refer expressly to “abortion.”

When asked by CNSNews.com whether abortion is included as an emergency medical services minor children without their parents should have access to, an HHS official did not answer the question directly but instead sent the following statement:

“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released an interim final rule on standards to prevent, detect and respond to sexual abuse and sexual harassment involving minors in the Unaccompanied Alien Children program,” the statement said. “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.”

The statement, which HHS sent via email, was accompanied by text from the rule that is reported on in this story.

The rule also addresses the “diversity” of unaccompanied children and requires care providers to be trained to serve homosexuals.

“Further, section 411.31 requires all care provider facility staff who may have contact with UCs to receive training on, among other things, cultural sensitivity and effectively communicating with UCs who are LGBTQI” – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and intersex, the rule states.

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