Is this one of the most cognitive-dissonance-inducing headlines you’ve seen in a while?

Catholic charity helped teen get abortion

RICHMOND, Va. – Authorities are investigating whether a Catholic charity violated state and federal law by helping a 16-year-old illegal immigrant who was in the organization’s care get an abortion.

This organization, Commonwealth Catholic Charities, subcontracts for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which receives

federal funds to place unaccompanied illegal immigrant children in foster care until they’re reunited with relatives, sponsored, or returned to their homeland.

The issues are exactly what you’d expect:

Federal law bans the use of federal money to pay for abortions with exceptions for rape, incest or threats to the life of the mother. Virginia law requires parental consent for an abortion for a girl under 18.

What a nauseating reminder of who’s near (or at) the bottom of the proverbial pile in this country. I have a LOT of questions.

I can’t help wondering how a 16-year old immigrant winds up pregnant. Are we sure she wasn’t raped, in which case the federal law wouldn’t apply? Did she even leave Guatemala voluntarily? Guatemala is connected with human trafficking, including selling teen girls into U.S. brothels, i.e. into rape slavery.

According to the article, Commonwealth signed the abortion consent form for the Guatemalan teen and helped her to travel to and from her appointment. The article is thin on details but it doesn’t sound like there’s evidence (yet) that they helped pay for the abortion. Maybe whatever transportation costs were associated with helping her can be traced back to their budget?

As for the state law, I wonder how someone in her situation is supposed to obtain parental consent. Trafficked or not, we are talking about a teenager who would leave her family and country and emigrate to the U.S., a situation that does not seem conducive to obtaining parental consent for a very time-sensitive procedure. Furthermore, can an illegal immigrant expect to go before a judge and ask to have the consent waived? Why can’t an organization that was essentially this girl’s caretaker be allowed to sign the consent form for this?

Personally I’m glad this organization chose to help her get an abortion. An immigrant teenager all alone in this country might feel that carrying a pregnancy to term is not in her best interest. Especially if she is hoping to be placed in foster care, as per the organization’s mission. What a sad story.

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