(Lepanto Institute) — Covenant House was established in 1972 by Father Bruce Ritter as a Catholic shelter for homeless and runaway youth. In 1984, Ritter was hailed by President Ronald Regan as a “hero” as Covenant House grew as one of the most prominent Catholic charitable organizations in the country. However, in 1987 Covenant House Toronto was discovered to be handing out condoms and was accused of referring girls for abortions. A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Toronto said that the condoms were being dispensed with the Archbishop’s approval.
Regarding the abortions, the same spokeswoman said:
If a 15-year-old kid decides to have an abortion, we make a strong pro-life statement, but we don’t get involved. We tell her we can’t support what she is planning to do. But she makes her own choice. If she goes ahead and has an abortion, we expel her from the residence.
In 1989 Ritter was accused by a 20-year-old male prostitute of carrying on a sexual relationship with him, leading to accusations from several other former clients. By 1990, Covenant House was under investigation for “questionable financial transactions,” leading to Ritter’s resignation.
In one instance, he was even accused of giving the male prostitute the identity of a deceased 10-year-old boy without the parent’s knowledge or consent.
Ritter denied the allegations of sexual misconduct all the way to his death in 1999.
Following Ritter’s resignation, the organization turned to Sister Mary Rose McGeady as its next leader, who worked hard to rehabilitate the organization’s reputation and dwindling donations. By the time she retired in 2003, she took what had sunk to a $42 million operation to a $130 million juggernaut.
These allegations have haunted Covenant House since then, as it continues to maintain its Catholic identity. However, as will soon be made clear, Covenant House is steeped in scandalous activity even to this day, promoting and dispensing all manner of contraception (including abortifacients), promoting homosexual and transgender ideologies, and facilitating abortions for its clients.
In September of 2019, Church Militant reported that Covenant House Michigan had taken a young girl to an abortion mill in Detroit.
At least four pro-life sidewalk counselors witnessed a Covenant House van pull up to the abortion mill where they were advocating for the lives of preborn babies, as a “very young and very, very lethargic” girl made her way to the entrance. The driver of the van reportedly told the counselors that he was “just doing [his] job,” while the young girl said she was just going in for a “follow-up.” However, the counselors noted that the only reason to take a girl to an abortion mill is to obtain an abortion. Whatever services she required could have been handled by any medical institution.
In December of 2022, just two months prior to the publication of this report, The Alaska Watchman reported that Covenant House was discovered to be helping young girls procure abortions in August of that year.
According to the report, “longtime pro-life sidewalk counselor, Wendy Perkins, was praying outside the Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Anchorage,” when she “she saw a Covenant House vehicle pull up and deliver a young woman to the abortion clinic.”
The Watchman also reported that “Perkins said the [Covenant House] staff person told her that Covenant House now routinely takes young women to Planned Parenthood for abortions.”
The Watchman also reported that in July of 2021, Covenant House Headquarters issued a “Youth Inclusion Policy” to be implemented by all Covenant House sites.
The policy not only affirms transgender identities and expressions but requires staff to permit the use of hormones for “transitions.” The policy requires, among other things, the following:
- “Covenant House will accept gender identity and gender expression as defined by Youth.”
- “Individuals who identify as female and who want to be housed with females rather than with males are to be housed with females and use the female bathrooms.”
- “Covenant House will treat hormones that belong to transgender Youth as any other medication and will not consider them a prohibited substance nor confiscate them.”
- “Covenant House will treat chest binding and packers belonging to transgender Youth as extensions of that person’s body and will not consider them prohibited items nor confiscate them.”
- “Transgender Youths should comply with the dress code associated with their gender identity; gender nonconforming Youth should be allowed to choose the dress code with which they feel most comfortable.”
These disturbing reports show a clear, long-term pattern of rebellion against the Church’s teachings on abortion and human sexuality, so the Lepanto Institute inspected Covenant House’s various organizational websites. What we discovered was proof that in addition to what was already reported, Covenant House promotes and distributes contraception and at least one CEO is solidly pro-abortion.
In 2019, Covenant House hired Angela Jones Hackley as the Chief Executive Officer of Covenant House Washington, D.C. A blog entry on Covenant House’s website from 2021 profiled Hackley, describing her path to becoming its latest CEO, including her work for Planned Parenthood. It said:
With a brand new degree in policy and an immense desire to become immersed in a community that had been underserved, Angela accepted a position at Planned Parenthood teaching reproductive health and supporting the public affairs department. [Emphasis added]
Upon examining Hackley’s social media activity, it is clear that her positive support for abortion has carried through her leadership at Covenant House.
On June 24, 2022, the day Roe v. Wade was overturned by the Supreme Court, Hackley compared the overturning of Roe to the beginning of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
The same day, Hackley stated “the fight is not over” while posting a statement from her sorority which says, “Now that Roe has fallen, the fight to protect abortion rights will move to many different fronts.”
On July 3, 2022, Hackley posted a picture of a shirt worn by her brother. Hackley wrote, “My brother’s shirt says all that needs to be said.” The message on the t-shirt reads, “I’m with HER. Her body, her choice, her RIGHTS.”
Another connection between Covenant House and Planned Parenthood was discovered in their Texas branch. In 2018, the Covenant House of Texas published in their annual report (page 28) that it is a “Community Partner” with Planned Parenthood.
Given that Covenant House openly hired a pro-abortion former employee of Planned Parenthood without any concern, and that the Texas branch of Covenant House is actually partnered with Planned Parenthood, the charges that Covenant House has referred or taken young girls for abortion in three different locations (Alaska, Minnesota, and Toronto) is far more plausible. And its blatant disregard for the physical, spiritual and mental health of young people suffering gender dysphoria is beyond disgraceful. But in addition to all of this, we have been able to confirm that Covenant House is promoting and distributing all forms of contraception, including abortifacients.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Population Affairs (OPA), both Covenant House in Pennsylvania and Covenant House in New Orleans are recipients of Title X Family Planning funds, which strongly implies contraception and condoms.
With this as a strong lead, we began investigating Covenant House in Pennsylvania and quickly learned that it was identified on the Office of Population Affairs website as providing both male and female condoms. We also cross-corroborated the address and confirmed that the address provided by OPA is the same as what Covenant House PA provides on its own website.
The Covenant House in New Orleans webpage for “Health and Wellness” indicates that they have a partnership with the Tulane School of Medicine, saying:
This past year, 2,078 residents and community youth benefited from on-site adolescent healthcare, provided in partnership with Tulane Medical School.
On a website called “Bedsider,” which is dedicated to listing clinics that provide birth control, the Tulane doctors identify Covenant House as the location of its drop-in clinic. The listing shows that they are providing both injectable pill forms of contraception and indicates that the clinic “provides Title X services to residents of Covenant House ONLY.” [Emphasis original]
The Covenant House Alaska website shows that its clinic provides “birth control and reproductive services.”
Lower on the page, Covenant House Alaska provides a link to Bedsider as a “helpful resource” to “explore birth control options.”
And clicking through the link shows a crass display of all manner of contraception ranging from condoms to withdrawal to IUDs, injectable contraception, and birth control pills.
According to the government project “Get Screened Oakland,” the Covenant House in Oakland and its project called “DreamCatcher” are locations where young people can obtain condoms, free of charge. The address provided for Covenant House by the Get Screened program is the same as provided by Covenant House in Oakland.
We could have provided dozens of examples of Covenant House’s promotion of homosexual and transgender ideologies, which appears to be its most prominent endeavor of late. But given what we found, it is 100 percent clear that Covenant House is not a Catholic organization, it doesn’t even come close to adhering to Catholic moral teaching, and it is absolutely not a safe organization to support with Catholic funds.
What we provide is that Covenant House has a history of taking girls to abortion clinics, it has a universal policy forcing staff to address children by their “preferred pronouns” and allowing them to dress in whatever manner is most comfortable to them, and it is providing and promoting all forms of contraception.
Reprinted with permission from the Lepanto Institute.