Catholic volag helps immigrant girl get an abortion

This shocking story was reported in the Washington Times earlier this week:

Federal authorities are investigating the actions of a Catholic charity in Richmond which helped a 16-year-old Guatemalan girl to receive an abortion in January, in possible violation of Virginia law.

Officials have called the matter to the attention of US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) headquarters in Washington, urging it to prevent any repetition of the incident.

Four employees of Commonwealth Catholic Charities Richmond, (CCR) have been fired and one supervisor with the bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services agency has been suspended, according to federal sources and a secret April 29 letter written by three bishops to 350 bishops nationwide. 

The USCCB is one of the top 10 volags in the US receiving federal money to resettle refugees and also apparently to care for minors who are in this country illegally but without their parents.  

The girl, whose parents are missing, was a ward of the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

HHS provides $7.6 million a year in contracts with the USCCB for foster care of immigrant children. The bishops group subcontracts services through agencies like Commonwealth Catholic Charities.

“These federal funds are awarded with the clear purpose of caring for unaccompanied minors here from other countries,” said HHS spokesman Kenneth Wolfe. “To that end, we were surprised and disappointed to learn of a chapter of Catholic Charities using this funding to facilitate a minor procuring an abortion.”


In a three-page letter dated April 23, David Siegel, acting director of the HHS Refugee Resettlement Office, criticized the Catholic bishops group.

“USCCB’s inability to direct the actions of its sub-grantee was a failure of management, oversight and monitoring,” he said in the letter to Johnny Young, executive director of the USCCB Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) agency.

This case further demonstrates why we need to have increased scrutiny of the volags (supposedly voluntary but actually well-paid agencies) that are contracted by the federal government to take care of minor immigrants and refugees.     These agencies have long been immune from scrutiny because the public assumes they are doing good work.