Beginning on Friday, the Trump administration showed once again (and then again on Saturday) what a difference it makes to have a pro-lifer in the White House.
As you would have anticipated, there were plenty of pro-abortion machinations, efforts by hook or by crook, to use money from the $2 trillion dollar stimulus bill to pay for abortion on demand. But when President Trump signed the CARES Act, the Hyde Amendment provisions were applied across the board. Moreover, the CARES Act ensures that Planned Parenthood—the largest abortion provider —will not have access to forgivable loan money meant for small businesses.
NRLC wrote, “We praise the President and pro-life members of Congress for working to ensure that federal laws are followed and funds will not be used to prop up the abortion industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Last week, NRLC President Carol Tobias joined more than 50 pro-life leaders in submitting a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar urging “public officials to use their broad emergency authority to safeguard against the extreme abortion agenda.”
At the top of the list was “Ensuring that emergency response funds are not diverted to the abortion industry.”
Then, on Saturday, the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proactively responded to newspaper accounts and the recommendations of so-called “bioethicists.” Explicitly sometimes, implicitly on other occasions, they had raised the possibility of rationing care based on the age and ability of those affected by COVID-19. Others raised the possibility of instituting mandatory “do not resuscitate” (DNR) orders for COVID-19 patients, even if doing so overrode a patient’s advanced directive or the family’s wishes!
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The OCR Bulletin responded by directing covered entities to follow the law to ensure that civil rights are not violated in the treatment of those diagnosed with COVID-19.
“Our civil rights laws protect the equal dignity of every human life from ruthless utilitarianism,” OCR Director Roger Severino said. “HHS is committed to leaving no one behind during an emergency and helping health care providers meet that goal. Persons with disabilities, with limited English skills, and older persons should not be put at the end of the line for health care during emergencies.”
The accompanying press release explained, “OCR is particularly focused on ensuring that covered entities do not unlawfully discriminate against people with disabilities when making decisions about their treatment during the COVID-19 health care emergency.”
It’s important to know that early last week, National Right to Life had sent a letter to President Trump, HHS Secretary Azar, and OCR Director Severino sounding the alarm about the danger of planned discrimination and the need to protect persons with disabilities, the elderly, and individuals with chronic conditions. (You can read the letter here: https://www.nrlc.org/wp-content/uploads/Covid-19-Rationing-letter-3.19.2020-1.pdf)
“We praise OCR Director Severino and the Office of Civil Rights for issuing the bulletin and for directing that covered entities ensure that people are treated equally under the law,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “No one should face discrimination in their health care when dealing with a diagnosis of COVID-19.”
Jennifer Popik, J.D., legislative director for National Right to Life, added, “It is vital that during this crisis, Americans can trust that they will receive the care they need without regard to their age, health, or ability.”