The Trump administration is reportedly reviewing a new rule that aims to empower the Department of Health and Human Services’ civil rights office. The plan is to protect health workers who don’t want to perform abortions, treat transgender patients or provide any other service that they object to.
Roger Severino, the head of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights, actively opposes civil rights protections for minority communities.
The Obama administration retracted Bush-era rules that allowed health workers to deny care based on religious or moral justification. These rules led to an ambulance drivers refusal to take a transgender woman to the hospital. The women later died before being seen by a doctor.
Politico reports that the new rule could be released this week, though the Democratic National Committee branded the rule unethical.
This isn’t the first time in the Trump administration that HHS’s Office of Civil Rights have begun to protect people with moral or religious objections to some kinds of health care. In October, the agency allowed employers to refuse to pay for birth control coverage.
“No one should be forced to choose between helping sick people and living by people’s deepest moral or religious convictions, and the new division will help guarantee that victims of unlawful discrimination find justice” OCR Director Roger Severino stated at the announcement ceremony Thursday morning.
A new division will be set up, called the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division prepared to enforce regulations that “protect conscience and prohibit coercion” on issues including abortion according to OCR’s updated website. Health workers are now able to file a complaint if they feel they have experienced discrimination for refusing to participate in specific medical procedures.
The change represents a win for religious and anti-abortion groups and comes only one day before the March for Life in D.C For transgender people, it means that they can be turned away from clinics even if they are in need of urgent care. Transgender people may even become discouraged from accessing preventative care, knowing that they can be legally discriminated against. This is murder.