The Trump administration, in tandem with the HHS, announced a decision to institute new religious and moral protections for healthcare workers in the United States yesterday. These changes include the creation of a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division under the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) for the HHS. Once created, the new CRFD will enforce healthcare worker’s rights to refuse involvement with contentious procedures like abortion and assisted suicide.
• The CRFD will focus explicitly on HHS-funded or conducted programs. Such a change will likely have a ripple-effect impact on the entire healthcare industry, especially in faith-based programs or hospitals.
Traditionally, the OCR enforced patient safety and privacy. The new CRFD represents a significant expansion of the OCR’s power and mission.
• OCR Director Roger Severino summed up the changes at an announcement ceremony, stating that the CRFD would protect “moral conventions” for workers. “No one should be forced to choose between helping sick people and living by one’s deepest moral or religious convictions, and the new division will help guarantee that victims of unlawful discrimination find justice.”
• Severino also suggested that the move was a response to an increase in complaints under the Trump administration. In total, workers have lodged approximately 30 complaints since Trump took office. Complaints include coercion to participate in procedures that violate religious or moral values.
• The administration’s announcement is fortuitously timed — coming right before the yearly D.C. March for Life against abortion. The yearly march attracts anti-abortion groups from all across the country, who continue to lobby to change the legal status of abortion outside of medical necessity.
• Not everyone is pleased with the changes; some leaders believe they essentially give facilities and professionals a free pass to discriminate. Naysayers include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) , who plans to launch a civil suit against the administration. “Choosing your patients based on their gender or gender expression is not freedom. Should the administration choose to move forward to implement a discriminatory policy, we will see them in court.”
SPECIAL: Military Patriot? This is perfect…
Do you think this violates the rights of homosexuals or transgender individuals, or is forcing a healthcare worker to act against their own morals and religious beliefs a violation of their rights?