These notices create a new “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division” of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) civil rights office. The division would ensure that employees of healthcare providers can opt out of procedures when they have religious or moral objections and “punish” organizations that don’t give employees exemptions. Essentially, this will transform HHS’s Office for Civil Rights, which has always enforced nondiscrimination protections, into an office that sanctions discrimination.
Religious freedom is fundamental, but so is the right of patients to access the healthcare they need. The government should never allow the religious beliefs of a healthcare provider to come before what is best for the patient.
Notice Status Released January 18, 2018