The Trump administration is considering a new “religious freedom” rule that would allow healthcare workers to refuse to treat LGBTQ patients. The move would also allow workers to deny care to a woman seeking an abortion or any other service they morally oppose, according to LGBTQ Nation.
Roger Severino, the head of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights, has actively opposed civil rights protections for minority communities. In his previous role as Director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society for the conservative Heritage Foundation, Severino spoke out against the regulations he is now tasked with upholding.
The proposed rule, which has been closely guarded at HHS according to Politico, is under review by the White House currently. The administration declared yesterday “National Religious Freedom Day.”
The rule would create a new division of the civil rights office that would be tasked with ensuring health care workers are given a license to discriminate. The division would also be responsible for outreach and technical support for religious right organizations that oppose LGBT equality and abortion.
The Obama administration overturned Bush-era rules that allowed health care professionals to cite their religious beliefs to deny care. The rules were used as justification for denying fertility treatment to lesbian couples and an ambulance driver’s refusal to take a transgender woman to the hospital. The woman died before being seen by a doctor.