The Department of Health and Human Services has unveiled a new division meant to defend the conscience rights of medical professionals who may hold moral or religious objections to things like abortions or gender reassignment surgery.
Known as the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, the entity will exist under HHS’ Office of Civil Rights and help to enforce conscience rights.
OCR Director Roger Severino said in a statement released Thursday morning that religious freedom laws 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,” stated Severino.
“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.”
Acting HHS Secretary Eric D. Hargan stated that the new division was part of the Trump administration’s overall effort to advance religious liberty protections.
“President Trump promised the American people that his administration would vigorously uphold the rights of conscience and religious freedom. That promise is being kept today,” stated Hargan in a statement released Thursday.
“The Founding Fathers knew that a nation that respects conscience rights is more diverse and more free, and OCR’s new division will help make that vision a reality.”
Since taking office, President Donald Trump has sought measures to broaden religious exemptions to HHS policies, like the Obama era contraception mandate.
Read more at Christian Post.