The ACLU, the ACLU of Northern California, and the ACLU of Southern California filed a lawsuit against the federal government for awarding millions of dollars annually to organizations that provide care, including access to medical care, to unaccompanied immigrant minors. The government authorizes some of these organizations to refuse on religious grounds to follow the law that requires them to provide these young people with access to contraception and abortion, even if the minor has been raped.
The suit claims that by authorizing government grantees to impose religiously based restrictions on young women’s access to reproductive health care – care that they are entitled to receive by law – the government has violated the constitutional guarantee of the separation of church and state. Groups like the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) have been awarded upwards of $10 million annually to care for these young people, despite their explicit refusal to allow these young women to access contraception and abortion. Placing restrictions on reproductive health care has devastating consequences for this population. A high number of unaccompanied immigrant minors have been raped in their home countries or during their journey to the United States, and therefore they have an acute need for critical reproductive health care.