HHS’s So-Called ‘Conscience’ Office Will Promote Discrimination Against Women and LGBTQ People in the Health Care System

HHS’s So-Called ‘Conscience’ Office Will Promote Discrimination Against Women and LGBTQ People in the Health Care System

New Initiative Launched in the Office for Civil Rights Is Part of Trump Administration’s Ongoing Efforts to Destroy Health Care

Washington – Ignoring the bedrock principle that one person’s “religious liberty” cannot be used to inflict harm on another person, the Trump administration announced today that it would create a new office with a mission to allow health care providers to cite their religious and moral beliefs in denying comprehensive health care to women and LGBTQ people.

National Health Law Program Executive Director Elizabeth G. Taylor blasted the Trump administration for putting politics over ensuring all people have access to quality health care.

“The creation of the so-called “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division” in the Office for Civil Rights is a perversion of that office’s mission,” Taylor said. “A federal office devoted to helping health care providers discriminate in whom they provide care to has no place within the Office for Civil Rights.”

NHeLP Director of Reproductive Health Susan Berke Fogel said the Trump administration is bent on harming the lives of women and other groups of people who have long been discriminated against in the health care system.

“The Office for Civil Rights was established as defender of health equity and justice, and empowered to dismantle discrimination against low income people, people of color, women, immigrants, and all marginalized groups,” Fogel said. “This move by the Trump administration is a perversion of that mission. The First Amendment and federal laws already provide strong protections for people to enjoy and express their religious beliefs. What these laws do not do is allow religious freedom to be used as a tool to discriminate against women, LGBTQ people, and all individuals trying to access health care.”

Indeed Fogel noted a Jan. 18 Center for American Progress report that includes a national survey revealing that LGBTQ people continue to face “discrimination and mistreatment at doctors’ offices.”

“Women and LGBTQ individuals continue to be the victims of pernicious discrimination in our health care system,” Fogel said. “The Trump administration’s HHS has it all wrong, and the creation of this office is an affront to our Constitution, and more importantly, a threat to the lives of millions of women and LGBTQ people.”

Please contact the NHeLP Communications Department at leaming@healthlaw.org or 202-552-5176 to speak with Taylor or Fogel about HHS efforts to promote discrimination in the health care system.

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