Cole calls for investigation, end of funding to HealthCorps after troubling oversight report

U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) said on Tuesday that he was “outraged” over a Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) report found that a grant administered through the AmeriCorps Community HealthCorps program broke federal law.

The CNCS OIG report released on Tuesday found that AmeriCorps members received training to serve as “doulas” during abortion procedures and were instructed to assist with abortion-related procedures at three health centers in New York.

“I am outraged by the terrible misuse of taxpayer dollars under the direction of the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC),” Cole, the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, said. “While participating in the Community HealthCorps program, it is absolutely unacceptable that AmeriCorps members were wrongfully instructed and encouraged to assist in abortion-related procedures and services at community health centers. Such activity is expressly prohibited by federal law. Abortion-related procedures should never be funded by taxpayers. Given these disturbing developments, I believe this grantee should be immediately terminated from the HealthCorps program.” 

In a letter to Wendy Spencer, the CEO of CNCS, Cole said that the report’s findings indicated that there had been a violation of the Serve America Act.

“I am also extremely concerned about the actions taken by NACHC to actively discourage staff from reporting potential violations to CNCS and failing to follow CNCS general counsel guidance, and adhere to member agreements and the law,” Cole wrote.

Cole added that he expected a “thorough investigation” and an “exhaustive review” of CNCS’s internal controls for monitoring grants.

In a letter to Daniel Levinson, the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, Cole called for an investigation into how many health centers that receive funds under the Public Health Service Act provide abortion services, how many abortions have been performed, and whether or not federal funds were used to support the procedures.

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