HHS creates office to handle health workers' religious, moral complaints

President Trump Might Offer Protection To Doctors Who Don't Want To Perform Abortions Or Serve Transgender Patients

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced Thursday the creation of a new division in its existing Office of Civil Rights (OCR) that will investigate complaints filed by health care workers claiming that their employers have violated their religious rights.

The office of civil rights is a law enforcement agency within HHS that enforces federal laws protecting civil rights and conscience in health and human services, and the security and privacy of people's health information.

"We are not fooled: The new office announced this morning is meant to make it easier for people to discriminate, not to protect people of faith", Carey said.

Although the HHS civil rights office has traditionally received few complaints alleging conscience violations, HHS Acting Secretary Eric Hargan, painted a picture of clinicians under government coercion to violate the dictates of conscience.

The Conscience and Religious Freedom Division's website specifically notes abortion and assisted suicide as procedures for which health care professionals may need conscience protection.

The head of the civil rights division at HHS has spoken out in the past against giving treatment to transgender patients looking to transition. They maintain there is an abundance of providers who would step in.

HHS Acting Secretary Eric Hargan said during a media briefing that the new initiative simply follows an executive order issued past year by President Trump, who said that people of faith would no longer be bullied or silenced. "For too long healthcare practitioners s have been bullied or discriminated against due to their religious beliefs and moral convictions leading many of them to wonder if they have a future in our healthcare system", Eric Hargan, acting HHS secretary said.

"Americans United is already suing the Trump administration over its policies restricting women's access to birth control and banning Muslims from entering the country". CWA has been very vocal to both the White House and Congress regarding the need to protect Americans for whom abortion is in direct conflict with their religious beliefs. The provision also requires health care providers to "treat individuals consistent with their gender identity". "This direct targeting of an already vulnerable community from the White House is part of a clear and risky pattern including revoking protections for trans students, the proposed trans military ban, and reportedly seeking to censor the word "transgender" from the Center of Disease Control budget documents", GLAAD reports.

Rea Carey, executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force, said in a statement the new division is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

The Trump administration posits the move will allow for greater religious freedom but some providers are skeptical and anxious the move will block care services to certain populations. HHS did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' request for comment.

"The administration is doubling down on licensing discrimination against women and LGBT people, all in the name of religion". "Imagine going to the doctor and being denied service because of who is in your family or because you are living with HIV".

This is the latest in a series of pro-life moves made by the Trump administration.

The Trump administration's move follows a pattern of passing policies likely to be popular among certain religious conservatives.

"President Trump promised the American people that his administration would vigorously uphold the rights of conscience and religious freedom". Severino is an anti-LGBTQ activist who has long fought against equality for our community, ignoring science and reality to justify his crusade. "It's just part of our oath, and I think they would do the same for most anyone else".



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