President Trump presided over the creation of a new Health and Human Services office geared towards protecting pro-life medical workers from the demands of their employers last year. The office went into effect in January and, according to a new report, has already fielded more than 300 complaints from workers all over the country who say they have been forced to participate in abortion-related procedures despite their religious objections.
“More than 300 health workers have complained to the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department over the last month, saying that their religious or conscience rights have been violated by their employer,” reported The Hill. “The complaints follow the creation of a new division within HHS that focuses on enforcing those rights and investigating complaints from employees who say their rights have been violated.
“For example, a nurse could file a complaint against their employer if they are coerced into participating in an abortion or disciplined for refusing to do so,” the report continued. “The new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division is located within the HHS Office of Civil Rights, and has received more than 300 complaints since launching Jan. 18. That compares to the 34 complaints HHS received from November 2016, before President Trump won the election and before the division opened.”
In a statement to The Hill, Roger Severino of the Office of Civil Rights said, “We’ve announced to the world that we’re open for business and the public is responding.”
In reference to the mission of the office, Severino said that the response to the opening shows that there was a clear need for Trump’s initiative.
“Laws protecting religious freedom and conscience rights are just empty words on paper if they aren’t enforced,” he said. “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. For too long, governments big and small have treated conscience claims with hostility instead of protection, but change is coming and it begins here and now.”
You may not be surprised to learn that there are some in our culture who feel that Trump’s move represents a dangerous step backwards for the health industry.
“This will impose a broad religious refusal policy that will allow individuals and institutions to deny basic care for women and transgender people. We know from experience that denial of care compromises care,” said Dana Singiser, a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood.
Yes, well, Planned Parenthood has made it very clear what they consider to fall under the umbrella of “basic care for women.” Put another way: If they’re against it, we’re for it. That’s our rule of thumb from here on out. May it never steer us wrong.