In an attempt to, apparently, send the United States back to the 1950s, President Donald Trump's administration will form a new "religious freedom" division within the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department that allows medical professionals to deny services if they violate their religious beliefs.
Essentially, what this new "Conscience and Religious Freedom Division" department is designed to do is protect a doctor's, nurse's or any professional in the medical sphere's "right" to deny an individual services if performing said services goes against either their religious or moral beliefs.
Trump administration announces new division within HHS devoted to "conscience and religious freedom." Critics say the move could hurt civil rights protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people, and hurt patient care. https://t.co/PfEoeUQAg9 pic.twitter.com/cDswjuuO3W— ABC News (@ABC) January 18, 2018
While specific details have not yet been released, this new policy is very clearly aimed at allowing doctors the option of turning away women or LGBTQ individuals who are searching for abortions, contraception, or reassignment surgery.
Unsurprisingly, the new department has been praised by out-of-touch Conservative groups who view it as upholding a medical provider's right to "religious liberty".
"We think the Trump administration should set an example in enforcing the multiple conscience laws that have been passed since the 1970s to prevent the government from punishing people who have objections to participating in abortions," said David Christensen, VP of government affairs at the Family Research Council.
To remove the rights of hundreds of thousands of Americans of having access to fair medical treatment simply because you disapprove of who they are is not only regressive and disgusting, it is a flat-out hindrance of civil rights.
And while some will provide the counter argument that even though some doctors will deny a woman or trans person medical assistance, there will be one doctor who won't, that point is quite simply irrelevant.
It does not erase the fact that some doctors will be able to say no trans people allowed or birth control is morally wrong during a time when discrimination has absolutely zero place in society.
Multiple women's and LGBTQ rights groups have already stepped forward to express their outrage and have vowed to reverse it, citing that the new policy would add further discrimination against a population that is already extremely vulnerable.
The Trump administration announced a new division that will prioritize religious objections over the health and civil rights of women, transgender people, and others.— ACLU (@ACLU) January 18, 2018
Medical standards, not religious belief, should guide medical care.https://t.co/XjQMNj40FR
Today, HHS created the “Conscience & Religious Freedom Division.” Despite the name, this division isn’t *actually* here to enforce religious freedom - it's designed to protect providers who discriminate against women & LGBTQ people. https://t.co/Q92EeLbPVQ #PutPatientsFirst— NARAL (@NARAL) January 18, 2018
If these deeply disturbing reports are true, this HHS action will harm women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and their Constitutional rights. Permitting providers to discriminate against patients in need of care for ideological reasons is simply wrong. https://t.co/gk62gH02lF— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) January 17, 2018
.@HHSOCR, let’s be clear – you’re not ending discrimination, you’re trying to UPHOLD discrimination against women, LGBTQ people, and other marginalized people that have systematically been denied care. #PutPatientsFirst #RxforDiscrimination pic.twitter.com/2wuE4jvftP— NWLC (@nwlc) January 18, 2018
"This will impose a broad religious refusal policy that will allow individuals and institutions to deny basic care for women and transgender people," said Dana Singiser, VP of government affairs for Planned Parenthood. "We know from experience that denial of care compromises care."
Furthering his blatantly obvious goal of removing any trace of President Barack Obama's administration, this decision by Trump reverses policies that were enacted under Obama to shrink "conscience protections" that were introduced by President George W. Bush's administration.
In addition to women's and LGBTQ rights groups, many medical groups have also stepped forward to decry the new HHS division.
"The vast majority of the medical community is against any form of license to discriminate. That the administration is rushing out such momentous rule in secret, hiding behind a vague description and potentially circumventing normal procedures, just underscores how far they have been straying from established law in this area," said Harper Jean Tobin, the National Center for Transgender Equality's director of policy.
From his vice president, Mike Pence, who openly discriminates against the LGBTQ community, to Jeff Sessions, who's mentality regarding POC, women, and the LGBTQ community hovers somewhere between the 1800s and 1950, Trump's political "friends" are quite frankly vile and delusional and this decision shows that his views align with theirs.
In short, the Trump administration's latest decision does nothing to promote itself as one of freedom, acceptance, or American ideals, if anything, it solidifies it as an administration many feared it would be; one of malice and discrimination.
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