AALDEF Signs Amicus Brief Urging Court to Prohibit Religious Restrictions on Government-Funded Trafficking Victims’ Program
The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, along with other anti-trafficking advocacy organizations, submitted an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs in ACLU of Massachusetts v. Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). USCCB, a subcontractor for the Department of Health and Human Services, infringes on the ability of human trafficking survivors to obtain essential medical assistance by imposing religious-based restrictions on access to reproductive health services. Human trafficking survivors often need a wide variety of services, especially medical assistance, including contraception and abortion services. USCCB’s limitation on health information and services conflicts with the legislative purpose of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the heart of anti-trafficking law in the United States. Furthermore, by endorsing USCCB’s religious beliefs, the Department of Health and Human Services violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.
Oral arguments for the appeal will take place today, December 5, before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.