By Patricia Miller
You would think that the crisis over clerical abuse roiling the Catholic Church for the past few years would be an “all hands on deck” moment in terms of the resources and attention of the Catholic hierarchy. You would also think that given the revelations about predatory behavior reaching to the very highest levels of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the systemic misogyny of the church’s leadership, which last week prompted the entire staff of the Vatican women’s magazine to resign, the hierarchy might back down on its insistence that contraception and abortion were to blame for many of society’s ills and turn its attention inward.
You would be wrong.
Apparently the Catholic hierarchy still has time to find ways to attempt to undercut access to birth control and abortion. As the New York Times reported last Friday, the Trump administration is funneling $5.1 million in federal Title X family planning funding to a Southern California-based chain of faith-based anti-choice medical clinics called Obria. Obria is the more millennial-friendly name given to the former Birth Choice crisis pregnancy centers founded by Kathleen Eaton Bravo, a Catholic woman who pioneered the idea of creating a “medical model” corporate-sounding anti-abortion clinic to siphon money away from Planned Parenthood.
The Obria clinics keep the features of crisis pregnancy centers, including the lure of free or low-cost pregnancy testing and ultrasounds, which lure women with unintended pregnancy in the door to hear a pitch about the horrors and dangers of abortion, but add just enough primary care services—STD testing, prenatal care, and well-women visits—to qualify for Medicaid and some private insurance reimbursement, and now, with the aid of the Trump administration, actual Title X family planning funding.
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