AmeriCorps, a federally funded government program, allowed several on-duty members to escort women to three abortion clinics in New York City in violation of federal law, according to an Inspector General report.
The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), an AmeriCorps grantee that received more than $30 million in federal funds from 2010-2015, allowed several members to provide emotional care for women while undergoing an abortion.
The same federal law authorizing the AmeriCorps program expressly prohibits federal funds from being used on abortion services or referrals.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the government agency that oversees AmeriCorps, found that NACHC leaders discouraged transparency and tried to bury negative information instead of reporting it. Several NACHC staff members told investigators they had seen instances of waste, fraud, and abuse, but were told by senior management keep quiet about it and not tell federal authorities.
Although NACHC has denied wrongdoing, they agreed to implement a series of immediate reforms while the investigation was underway, which included firing the staff members who participated in illegal activity and retraining remaining employees about prohibited activities.
After the investigation was concluded, CNCS stipulated that NACHC conduct its own investigation into the matter and rewrite policy to increase transparency, among other things.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which recently threatened states with legal action if they defunded Planned Parenthood, also funds NACHC and is aware of the investigation.