New office will help medical providers deny treatment on religious grounds

21 January, 2018, 01:21 | Author: Dustin Murphy
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This office will be a new division of the Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights, which enforces anti-discrimination and privacy laws, the Associated Press reported.

The new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division of the OCR will receive, investigate, and try to resolve claims by healthcare employees who believe they have been discriminated against or are being coerced to provide certain treatments that conflict with their religious or moral beliefs. President Bush had some conscience protections for health care workers, but the Obama administration reversed them, noting that they were being used to justify various forms of discrimination.

The Trump administration is set to allow health workers to reject transgender patients. The director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights said it will "help guarantee that victims of unlawful discrimination find justice".

"The founders knew that a nation that respects conscious rights is a more diverse nation", Severino said. In October, Trump also amended the Affordable Care Act's regulations that mandated contraception coverage, according to ABC News. Unfortunately, not all have recognized the importance of religious freedom, whether by threatening tax consequences for particular forms of religious speech or forcing people to comply with laws that violate their core religious beliefs without sufficient justification.

Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, also applauded the move.

Although the new Health and Human Services division has been created, it's unclear exactly how it will approach its mission.

"Under President Obama, the federal government failed to enforce federal laws in place to ensure hard working Americans aren't unfairly punished by the government for simply seeking to live their lives according to their beliefs", Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a statement, adding that "Americans should not be forced to choose between their faith and their desire to help patients".

Hospitals, doctors and other health care workers could get support in their opposition to performing abortions, euthanasia or procedures on transgender people through a new federal office on "Conscience and Religious Freedom".

The Trump administration just made it easier for doctors to deny care to women and LGBT people.

HHS Acting Secretary Eric Hargan said during a media briefing that the new initiative simply follows an executive order issued a year ago by President Trump, who said that people of faith would no longer be bullied or silenced.

The number of these types of conscience complaints to HHS has increased dramatically since President Donald Trump's election. It could allow health care workers to refuse to perform abortions or provide treatment to members of the LGBTQ community if they say they object on religious or moral grounds.

Louise Melling, deputy legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement Wednesday the organization would take legal action against HHS over the policy.

For individuals who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or queer, the survey found eight percent said a doctor or other health care provider refused to see them due to their sexual orientation.

"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".


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