Care Net Pregnancy Center of Windham County v. United States Department of Agriculture
The U.S. Department of Agriculture operates programs to provide loans to individuals and non-profit organizations in rural areas. Care Net Pregnancy Center of Windham County, Vt. applied for a loan through the USDA’s Rural Development Community Facilities program to renovate a new facility that provides pregnancy classes and emergency shelter for expectant women and new mothers. Even though Care Net met all the qualifications for the program, the USDA denied the loan based upon undisclosed “faith-based eligibility criteria” after it learned that the center would provide voluntary Bible studies in one of its proposed classrooms when the room is not being used for other purposes. The USDA’s own regulations say that such uses are permitted.