Trump defends health workers’ right to object to abortions

Trump defends health workers’ right to object to abortions

The Trump administration announced a new rule on religious conscience protections for the medical field on Thursday, aimed at protecting religious and moral objectors from participating in or paying for services such as abortion, sterilization and assisted suicide.

In other words, a healthcare provider is protected if they refuse services as long as they cite a religious objection or it offends their conscience.

"We think this is a very wise decision, a wise move and something that's a big benefit because there are instances in recent years where healthcare professionals have been forced to go against their conscience", Joseph Naumann, Archbishop for the KCK Archdiocese said.

"Finally, laws prohibiting government funded discrimination against conscience and religious freedom will be enforced like every other civil rights law", Roger Severino, director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights, which issued the rule, said in a statement.

"In the Obama administration, we were focused on expanding access to health care through the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the full and balanced enforcement of anti-discrimination and provider conscience laws", Samuels said today.

The rule stems from a 2017 executive order from President Donald Trump directing his administration "to vigorously enforce Federal law's robust protections for religious freedom".

He vowed to let faith-based adoption services operate without interference, said prisoners will receive faith-based under his criminal justice-reform bill and claimed stores are replacing generic holiday wishes with "Merry Christmas". "We've seen evil and hate-filled attacks on religious communities in the United States and all around the world", Trump said.

He made the comments to faith leaders at a White House dinner in honour of the National Day of Prayer, an event that takes place on Friday (NZ time).

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The National Day of Prayer was created in 1952 when President Harry Truman signed a joint resolution of Congress declaring it a day of observation when citizens can "turn to God in prayer and meditation". Under the rule, applicants for HHS funding must provide assurances and certifications that they are complying with its regulations.

Yet Democrats, the Human Rights Campaign and other progressive groups sounded the alarm. Transgender patients say they often face discrimination during check-ups.

Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women's Law Center, told NPR that the changes would allow receptionists and pharmacies to refuse providing care.

"Perhaps the most objectionable aspect of this rule is that it puts the personal beliefs of healthcare providers above their sworn duties to follow science, give all medically accurate information, and serve their patients", added Magda Houlberg, MD, Chief Clinical Officer at Howard Brown Health.

Pro-life groups vital to Mr. Trump's base were thrilled with the policy.

"As we unite on this day of prayer, we renew our resolve to protect communities of faith and to ensure that all people and all of our people can live and pray and worship in peace", said Trump, drawing applause from Christians, Jews, Muslims and others at the midday interfaith gathering on Thursday (May 2).

This will make it "so that people do not have to shed their religious beliefs to participate in health care", said Severino, adding that "certain medical professions such as OB-GYN should not be declared pro-life-free zones".

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