Campaign for Accountability Releases Statement Regarding the Announcement of Title X Funding Award to Obria
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 29, 2019
Contact: Bryan Dewan, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the recipients of the Fiscal Year 2019 Title X Family Planning Service Grants. HHS awarded $1.7 million to the Obria Group in California.
Obria is a network of anti-abortion pregnancy clinics that does not offer comprehensive family planning services. Obria has characterized itself as an anti-abortion alternative to Planned Parenthood, but refuses to provide any contraception, including oral contraceptives, IUDs, or condoms. Instead, Obria offers only “fertility awareness,” a method to track ovulation to prevent pregnancy.
In response to this announcement, CfA Counsel Alice Huling issued the following statement:
Many qualified organizations applied for Title X funding to provide family planning services. Nevertheless, the Trump administration, which appears more interested in courting religious ideologues than in providing real healthcare to low income Americans, awarded funding to Obria, a religious ministry masquerading as healthcare group.
CfA has taken several steps to investigate the Trump administration’s relationship with Obria. On March 21, 2019, CfA sent a letter to officials at HHS calling on the agency to review the error-riddled Title X application submitted by Obria, in conjunction with the Heidi Group and other Texas-based crisis pregnancy centers.
Reportedly, the application drastically overstates the number of patients served by the Heidi Group, identifies a long-departed employee as the Heidi Group’s top quality assurance officer, and fails to disclose the Heidi Group’s terminated state contracts.
On March 6, 2019, CfA, represented by American Oversight, filed two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against HHS seeking information about Obria. The first lawsuit seeks communications between HHS officials and Obria’s employees.
The second lawsuit seeks Obria’s applications for federal funding. In December 2018, CfA asked HHS for copies of all applications submitted by Obria for the Title V Sexual Risk Avoidance Education Program, which provides federal funding for maternal and child healthcare. In 2018, Obria received a grant for $450,000 from HHS to provide abstinence-only education services.
In December 2018, CfA also requested copies of Obria’s 2018 application for Title X funding. In January 2019, CfA submitted a new request for Obria’s 2019 applications.
Ms. Huling continued, “Up until now Obria has flown under the radar. The Trump administration is using taxpayer dollars to fund fake healthcare, but real American women and families will suffer as a result. Congress should investigate to ensure money appropriated for healthcare is actually spent on healthcare.”
Campaign for Accountability is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.