AmeriCorps is a federally funded, government program who’s goal is “to meet critical community needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment.” Between 2013 and 2015, six Americorps members helped a few pregnant women meet their “critical need” of an abortion by “supporting them during the abortion procedure” while at a New York City Health Center. Following OIG’s public release of their investigation’s findings yesterday, the FRC (Family Research Council) issued a press release taking umbrage with a federally funded program being used to “help women obtain abortions,” then receiving only a slap on the wrist. Consequent to the reprimand from the Office of Inspector General, FRC is calling for a Congressional investigation into CNCS (Corporation for National and Community Service), the oversight agency of AmeriCorps.
“We are deeply concerned that the federal government is funding abortion escorts through CNCS and AmeriCorps in clear violation of federal law. For years the Obama administration has claimed that the Affordable Care Act and federally-funded health centers do not subsidize abortion, and the President finally signed additional provisions, passed last year by Congress, to ensure that community health centers do not use federal funds to support abortion. Now we learn that CNCS is violating the law by helping women obtain abortions. This blatant violation of federal law by CNCS and AmeriCorps demands that Congress investigate government-funded community health centers. It’s time for this administration to stop foisting its radical abortion agenda on the American people and using their tax dollars to do so.”
The Office of Inspector General investigated the allegation and found that the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), a major grantee of AmeriCorps, chose to ignore the law and deduced that top officials at NACHC were, at best, not discouraging the misconduct.
“Investigators discovered that NACHC had disregarded the direction of CNCS’s General Counsel in 2010 to include in its training materials and member agreements the abortion prohibition precisely as stated in the Serve America Act…The grantee continued to deviate from the prescribed language even after a 2011 Congressional hearing following CNCS’s disclosure that two other grantees had committed abortion‐related prohibited activities.”
“Investigators concluded that the tone at the top of NACHC, a key feature of the control environment, discouraged transparency and the reporting of negative information. The investigative findings reflect a lack of institutional control, oversight and good faith dealing in NACHC’s administration.
OIG Directs CNCS to Investigate who, in turn Directs CNCS/OIG to Investigate
“Upon learning from NACHC’s current National Director of members’ participation in abortion services, CNCS immediately requested that CNCS‐OIG investigate.”
“We are deeply disappointed that the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) authorized national service participants to perform prohibited activities. Although the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) investigation concluded the misconduct occurred on an extremely limited scope, the grantee broke the law and violated the spirit of national service.”
“CNCS worked closely with the OIG to ensure the prohibited activities stopped immediately and were fully investigated. The OIG investigation determined that the prohibited activity was limited in scope, involving only one of the 34 community health networks and only six of the nearly 1,600 members who served with NACHC during its current grant cycle.”