Sunday, March 29, 2015

Objections to Abortions for Child Refugees

In recent months, the Obama Administration has issued a new rule to takes effect June 24 that would force pro-life Christian organizations to provide abortions to child refugees entering the US without their parents. If the organizations fail to perform the abortion or notify the government to make the arrangements themselves, then the group is no longer eligible for federal aid.

The groups whom are pro life have avidly fought this rule and claim that they will not take these measures as supporting abortions would be a fundamental undermining their faith. By refusing to comply, many of the organizations will loose their funding and subsequently “diminish their potential to serve vulnerable, innocent children who come to this country with great needs” ( Six out of nine refugee resettlement organizations are faith based and thus they claim that the majority of these organizations will loose their funding as they refuse to refer the abortions.  Before these rules were enacted, if a child who came to them was pregnant they would provide health care access but in a manner that was “consistent with their religious beliefs”.

The Obama administration claims that they have in fact attempted to accommodate faith based groups as they allow the faith-based organizations whom are opposed to abortions to partner with other organizations or simply refer the child to the federal government. Thus, the organizations do not actually participate in the abortions but simply outsource the child to a third party.

The faith based organizations claim that this violates the Religious Freedom Restorations Act of 1993 which states that US federal law can not “substantially burden” a person’s free exercise of religion. Is the Obama administration denying funding to faith-based groups and to favor groups that coincide with their own ideology?

In my opinion, the Obama Administration is not substantially burdening the organizations free exercise of religion. Groups that provide care for refugees should do so regardless of whether they have to relay someone to a third party or not, even if it is against their religious belief. They do not have to provide the abortion themselves, and to claim that it will “diminish their potential to serve vulnerable, innocent children” shows that these organizations are not devoted to their mission of helping the children. I would think that their religion would tell them to continue helping the children regardless of whether they had to be referred to have an abortion or not.

Another point that I found interesting that the pro-life organizations failed to bring up was about what the children wanted. Although they are typically under aged individuals, people who are victims of sexual assault have the right to choose for themself whether they would like an abortion or not regardless if their parents are no longer with them. Often, as refugees, these organizations are the only option that the children have. To not allow them even the option to have an abortion because of the organization’s religious views does not seem right to me. Instead, if the child thinks that they should have an abortion it is in their every right to have one.

A last contentious part of the rules was that the organization’s also had to begin to recognize people on the gender of their choosing and to train their staff in the complexity of LGBTQI.  This subscribes to the belief that gender is not a physical or biological trait and instead an emotional one that it chosen by each individual.  The organizations again are claiming that these rules do not protect the organizations moral objections.

This is a practice is one that is completely understandable for the Obama Administration to support. Determining gender by the rules of LGBTQI has become accepted by society and now should be accepted by the organizations regardless of their religious objections. Again, some of these organizations are the only option for child refugees, and to not identify them in the manner that they deem acceptable would be a violation of that individual’s fundamental rights.  

(Photos taken from Catholic Relief Services- an organization providing help to child refugees)


Nina N. said...

I agree with everything Morgan said. It would be a different situation if the rule was that these faith-based organizations had to perform abortions themselves, but because they "outsource," it does not burden their religious views. They can disagree with abortion all they want, but as Morgan pointed out, this decision affects many more people than just those in the organization. It's in the state's interest to allow people this choice because it's better for the welfare of the state. Although some may disagree with this, allowing these organizations to use their religious beliefs to make it difficult for refugees to get abortions would make it harder for the refugees to survive. This would put an even greater burden on the state and all its occupants and resources.

Molly H. said...

I don't think it is right for Obama to force these organizations to perform abortions, but I do think that they should be forced to notify the government to make the arrangements through another organization. As Morgan stated, many child refugees do not have the choice of which organization they use to come to our country, therefore they should not be forced to follow the practices of said organization. If the organizations are dedicated in aiding these children, that means they need to provide aid in all aspects of these childrens' health and well-being, not just those that are acknowledged under their religion. These refugees have the right to choose how to care for their own bodies, what gender they identify with, and what they would choose to do if they were to enter our country pregnant. Just because they seek aid from religious organizations does not mean their own personal rights should be striped.

Courtney W. said...

I think it is a violation of Free Exercise to force religious organizations to perform abortions. Abortions go against the beliefs of many Christian organizations and by asking them to perform them it is inhibiting their beliefs. However, I do think it is acceptable for the faith based organizations to refer the refugee to the federal government, as long as they do not have to perform the abortion themselves.

Peter M said...

I disagree with the author and believe that the Obama Administration's new rule is a violation of the Free Exercise Clause. This organization is being compelled to act in a way that violates their religion. While the organization does not have to accept federal money, the fact that organization can lose federal aid because of their beliefs means that the government is not treating faith based groups neutrally with secular groups. I take issue with the statement, "I would think that their religion would tell them to continue helping the children regardless of whether they had to be referred to have an abortion or not." I think it is wrong to assume what someone's religion should compel them to do. Also, it seems like the argument being put forth is that since these people will act kindly to children no matter what, the government can infringe on their free exercise rights all they want.