When President Donald Trump announced the creation of a new office to protect the conscience rights of pro-life medical workers, abortion advocates scoffed at the need for it.
However a new report indicates that more than 300 health workers have filed complaints with the Department of Health and Human Services at its new office saying that their religious or conscience rights have been violated by their employer. The pro-life doctors and nurses are being forced to perform or promote abortions or to refer women for abortions that violate their religious views or conscience.
That hundreds of healthcare workers have been pressured to be involved in abortion is no surprise as LifeNews has chronicled over the years many cases of pro-life doctors and nurses who have faced employment discrimination simply because they refuse to be involved in performing or referring for abortions. The same is true for pro-life pharmacists who don’t want to be involved and dispensing abortion drugs or referring women to pharmacies that dispense them.
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.
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 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.
“We’ve announced to the world that we’re open for business and the public is responding,” Roger Severino, the director of the Office of Civil Rights, said in a statement to The Hill.
OCR Director Roger Severino said, “Laws protecting religious freedom and conscience rights are just empty words on paper if they aren’t enforced. 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.”
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Naturally, Planned Parenthood opposes the policy and wants to force doctors and nurses to do abortions.
“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, vice president of government affairs for Planned Parenthood.
President George W Bush first issued conscience protections for pro-life doctors and other medical workers who did not want to participate in abortions. But President Barack Obama rescinded those protections and created a situation where pro-life medical workers and others who don’t want to be involved in abortions are pressured to do so.
Liberty Counsel attorney Mat Staver said, “The establishment of a Conscience and Religious Freedom Division by the Department of Health and Human Services within its Office for Civil Rights is an historic and positive step by the Trump administration to protect religious freedom and the rights of conscience. The Department of Health and Human Services under the Obama administration was hostile to conscience and religious freedom rights. Today’s announcement is refreshing and exciting”
“Religious freedom is our first freedom and I welcome the news that HHS is committed to protecting our precious freedom. The Trump administration is to be commended for making this 180-degree turn from the past administration which used the federal government to violate religious freedom and conscience rather than protecting them. This move sends a strong message that there must be a commitment to protecting religious freedom,” said Staver.