The Trump-Pence Administrations have created a Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom at the Department of Health and Human Services, which could enable discrimination against LGBTQ people, women, and others.
HHS Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Roger Severino justified creation of the office based on a small number of complaints last year and over the past decade. The HHS announcement lacked any details about funding for the new division, including where existing programs will be cut to fund it.
Clearly the division is a violation of the separation of church of state and has led to organizations like the HRC to speak out. “LGBTQ people need the Department of Health and Human Services to enforce non-discrimination protections in federal health programs. The creation of an unnecessary new division that is likely to promote a license to discriminate diverts needed enforcement resources and encourages discrimination against LGBTQ people. Every American deserves access to quality health care, and that should not be determined by the personal opinions of individual medical providers or administrative staff.”
The Human Rights Campaign has always fought for the inclusion and affirmation of LGBTQ people in health care spaces and will continue to ensure bigotry has no place where the most vulnerable in our society seek help.