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New HHS Division Created to Protect Health Workers who Reject Patients on Moral and Religious Grounds.A new civil rights division of the Department of Health and Human Services was announced Thursday by the Trump administration. This new office was initiated to protect healthcare providers who refuse to carry out procedures or healthcare services that are against their moral or religious beliefs.The new office has been saddled with the responsibility of handling complaints by nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers who are coerced by hospital administrators and employers to perform or assist with procedures that are contrary to their convictions. If such complaints are authenticated, funds will be withdrawn from the unit involved if they receive funding from the Federal Government.Several conservative groups have lauded the move describing it as a welcome development that would revive religious liberty advocates within the health care sector. However critics have condemned it saying that it could birth discrimination on the grounds of sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation.The HHS Acting Secretary, Eric Hargan, in announcing the new division at an event which had religious leaders and Republican lawmakers present, said that many of the clinics, hospitals, and hospices in the country are run by faith-based organizations which strongly oppose abortion, sterilization, and several other procedures. Hargan noted further that many of these hospitals and healthcare providers have long been discriminated against.The director of the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services, Roger Severino speaking at the event noted that the division will ensure adequate public education, training, and that appropriate polices are enacted, in addition to reviewing all complaints of violation of moral and religious beliefs by health care workers.Additionally, Severino added that there have been numerous laws that prohibit Government Institutions from compelling their medical staff to provide services that violate their moral or religious convictions.On the website of the Department of Health and Human Services Thursday, the types of procedures which are to be considered were outlined on a Conscious and Religious Freedom section. Examples of procedures covered were abortion, assisted suicide, and sterilization.Some legal experts have noted that this new development may affect treatment of transgender patients and those seeking for sexreassignment surgery. However, HHS has not clarified its stance on this issue.Deputy legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union, Louise Melling, in an interview said that this new office may restrict provision of health care services to certain groups of people should health workers lodge complaints about it.”There’s every reason to think that this administration is going to place religious objections over the health and lives and rights of individuals,” Melling said.Severino, when asked if the current administration will protect cases that fall under gender identity and sexual orientation, said the department had been barred from taking such action because of a 2016 federal court order out of Texas.The HHS announcement, which comes a day before the annual March for Life organized by opponents of abortion, is founded on two rules HHS issued in October which permitted employers and hospital administrators to claim moral or religious objection for contraception coverage. It also coincides with a Supreme Court ruling as a First Amendment case of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple on account of religious reservations.Speakers at the event on Thursday condemned the Obama administration for restricting such exemptions. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), in his comments said the Obama administration expected healthcare providers to carry out all procedures and provide all services regardless of their religious reservations. He went on to add “What a difference a year makes”Severino supported this remark, stated that “H

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