President Trump’s reported decision to upend Health and Human Services (HHS) rules could create a dangerous license to discriminate, and while LGBTQ people and our families along with anyone seeking reproductive health services are no doubt the targets of this overhaul, any person or family could be at risk of discrimination as a result.
“It’s painfully ironic that this decision comes on the heels of a national training we held this week for our state-based equality organizations on how to work with hospitals to improve their nondiscrimination policies,” said Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director of Equality Federation. “Imagine going to the doctor and being denied service because of who is in your family or because you are living with HIV. It’s unconscionable that anyone should be afraid that when they are sick or in need of urgent medical care they could be turned away. Freedom of religion is important to all of us, but it should not equate to a license to discriminate against those in need.”
Roger Severino, one of many anti-LGBTQ extremists appointed by Trump, is now the head of the HHS Office for Civil Rights, and has led the charge to change the rules and create a new “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division” (CRFD) tasked to ensure providers are aware of their license to discriminate. Today he compared the state of religious freedom in the United States to the holocaust.
This decision is yet another betrayal of America’s promise of fairness and freedom for all.