Why Trump is targeting health workers’ religious objections

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey

The Trump administration announced Thursday a new division responsible for handling complaints from health-care workers who do not want to perform a medical procedure like an abortion or assisted death because it violates their religious or moral beliefs, a move that seemed to renew past culture war battles over “conscience protections.”

The new office, called the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, is seen by many as a win for conservative religious groups that complained President Barack Obama’s administration did not prioritize religious freedom concerns. Critics, however, worry that the language is broad and could lead to discrimination.

Health and Human Services did not introduce any rules, but the new office will focus on reviewing complaints from medical professionals under existing laws.

The new enforcement initiative represents the administration’s latest effort to elevate religious liberty claims when such personal beliefs come into conflict with priorities like access to medical care. Conservative groups, particularly those opposed to abortion, welcomed the move, while critics warned it could lead to discrimination on the basis of sex as well as gender identity and sexual orientation.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. @OP – The Trump administration announced Thursday
    a new division responsible for handling complaints from health-care workers
    who do not want to perform a medical procedure
    like an abortion or assisted death because it violates their religious or moral beliefs,

    This would appear to completely in accordance of the Trump (non-)administration policy, of giving important jobs which require the taking of responsibility, following professional codes, and applying competence, to perverse people who can’t or won’t do them!

  2. Meanwhile there is a new angle on this in Australia:-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-42868461

    Catholic bishops have raised concerns that new laws in Australia could force Church members to register as agents of a foreign power.

    Last month, Australia unveiled legislation designed to limit foreign interference in political activity.

    The government said the changes, still to be formally debated, will protect transparency and Australia’s interests.

    But Catholic officials have said the laws are too broad and could prevent churchgoers’ advocacy and charity work.

    “Catholics are followers of Jesus Christ – we are not agents of a foreign government,” said Bishop Robert McGuckin, from Toowoomba in Queensland.

    Well actually those who profess loyalty to canon Law and Vatican pronouncements over civil and constitutional law, ARE acting as agents of a foreign (Vatican) state – (regardless of if it is a state when it suits it, and a religion when it does not)!

    The wide-ranging restrictions would ban foreign political donations and force lobbyists to disclose overseas links on a public register. Failure to do so would be a crime.

    It would also broaden the definition of espionage to include people who receive classified information without permission, rather than simply those who share it.

    Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in December that the crackdown was not aimed at any country – although he noted recent “disturbing reports” of Chinese influence.

    Bishop McGuckin said it could result in Catholic churchgoers being classified as agents of the Vatican.

    Which is an attempted distraction from the reality of Catholic bishops and politicians, being “agents of the Vatican”!

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