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Published: Sun, January 21, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

The Trump Administration Creates New Division to Protect Doctors' Religious Freedoms

The Trump Administration Creates New Division to Protect Doctors' Religious Freedoms

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its Office of Civil Rights announced that they would be enhancing the legal protections for healthcare workers with religious or moral objections to certain procedures or treatments.

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. "All people deserve access to care, including transgender people, those seeking assisted suicide, and those seeking reproductive health services such as an abortion or sterilization".

But civil rights groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and others say they're ready to fight HHS.

"At least in my circles and experience, this isn't a need that healthcare providers have felt like they had".

The Trump administration seems to define religious freedom as the ability to freely discriminate against LGBTQ people and women.

The announcement follows an executive order signed by President Donald Trump last May, dictating the executive branch will "vigorously enforce federal law's robust protections for religious freedoms".

"For too long, too many health care practitioners have been bullied and discriminated against due to their religious beliefs and moral convictions, leading many of them to wonder what future they have in our medical system", Hargan told the audience. He is the ranking Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over many health care issues.

"19% of respondents reported being refused care became of their gender identity, and 28% were subjected to harassment in medical settings".

OCR is already tasked with enforcing several nondiscrimination and conscience protection statutes, including the Church, Coats-Snowe, and Weldon amendments. The new division will inflict penalties on organizations that force their employees to perform said practices, regardless of their personal convictions, Politico reports.

The Trump administration has indicated it will change the never-enforced regulation.

In his speech, McCarthy also thanked the administration and HHS and spoke of the new direction they're moving in. "Imagine going to the doctor and being denied service because of who is in your family or because you are living with HIV".

"Denying patients health care is not liberty", Melling said.

It's a major victory for the pro-life movement, especially given Trump's past comments about his support for abortion. "We will see them in court".

"This announcement marks the Trump administration's latest step toward turning the Department of Health and Human Services into a place where backwards ideology rules, and science, ethics and concern for the well-being of all Americans are non-existent", Hogue said. "It is a more free nation and it is a more just nation". "Personnel is policy, and the lack of LGBTQ perspectives and voices in this administration inevitably leads to policies that target and harm our community".

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. Mr. Perkins also said it should be an encouragement to healthcare providers with religious or moral objections.

But LGBT groups decried the establishment of the Conscience & Religious Freedom Division on the basis that it would enable religious objectors to refuse to treat transgender people or provide abortion-related services.

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