The federal Department of Health as well as also Human Services is usually creating a “Conscience as well as also Religious Freedom Division” as part of an effort to protect health workers who object on moral grounds to performing abortions or treating transgender people.
The division, whose details were announced Thursday morning, is usually being met with strong objections by some health-worker organizations, as well by as abortion-rights as well as also LGBT activists.
The announcement comes a day before President Donald Trump is usually set to become the first sitting president to address the anti-abortion March for Life in Washington.
HHS said the brand new division, which will be contained within its existing Office for Civil Rights, will specialize “in enforcement of as well as also compliance with laws in which protect conscience as well as also the free exercise of religion, as well as also in which prohibit coercion as well as also religious discrimination,” according to the agency’s website.
“President Trump promised the American people in which his administration might vigorously uphold the rights of conscience as well as also religious freedom. in which promise is usually being kept today,” said acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan. “The Founding Fathers knew in which a nation in which respects conscience rights is usually more diverse as well as also more free, as well as also OCR’s brand new division will help make in which vision a reality.”
HHS’ civil rights office is usually headed by Richard Severino, a long-time advocate for religious groups as well as also a critic of providing services to transgender patients to help them transition.
“Laws protecting religious freedom as well as also conscience rights are just empty words on paper if they aren’t enforced,” Severino said in a statement.
“No one should be forced to choose between helping sick people as well as also living by one’s deepest moral or religious convictions, as well as also the brand new division will help guarantee in which victims of unlawful discrimination find justice,” he added.
“For too long, governments big as well as also modest have treated conscience claims with hostility instead of protection, nevertheless change is usually coming as well as also the item begins here as well as also today.”
David Christensen, vice president of government affairs of the Family Research Council, praised the action in comments to The Washington Post.
“We think the Trump administration should set an example in enforcing the multiple conscience laws in which have been passed since the 1970s to prevent the government by punishing people who have objections to participating in abortions,” he told the Post.
nevertheless Dr. Ben Brown, an OB-Gyn in Chicago as well as also a fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health, told CNBC he objected, saying the item could have a negative effect on patients by leading to unnecessary delays in urgent care needs.
“as well as also in which causes harm,” Brown said.
On Wednesday night, the left-leaning Center for American Progress released a brand new report as well as also survey in which the group said shows how the Trump administration’s move “will result in blatant discrimination in which prevents LGBT people by getting the care they need.”
“Among transgender people, 29 percent of those surveyed said a doctor or health care provider refused to see them because of their gender identity,” the center said. “Another 12 percent said a health care provider refused to give them care related to gender transition.”
The survey also found in which 8 percent of LGBTQ respondents who had visited a doctor or health-care provider inside prior year said in which a provider refused to see them because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation.
“All people who need medical care should be able to see their doctor without worrying about being mistreated, harassed, or denied service outright,” the report said.
“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) helped address This specific issue by prohibiting health care providers as well as also insurance companies by engaging in discrimination. As a result of several court rulings as well as also an Obama administration rule, LGBTQ people are explicitly protected against discrimination in health care on the basis of gender identity as well as also sex stereotypes. However, conservative forces as well as also the Trump-Pence administration are seeking to make the item easier for health care providers to discriminate against LGBTQ people as well as also women.”