Trump administration gives health workers who oppose abortion new protections

As expected, the Trump administration announced an action today that will protect doctors and other healthcare workers who have moral or religious objections to performing abortions, treating transgender patients or providing other services.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced the creation of a new “conscience and religious freedom division” in the HHS Office for Civil Rights. The new division “has been established to restore federal enforcement of our nation’s laws that protect the fundamental and unalienable rights of conscience and religious freedom,” HHS said in an announcement.

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That action will no doubt be controversial, winning support from groups in favor of protecting healthcare workers’ moral and religious convictions and those who say it allows discrimination against patients. The American Civil Liberties Union has already said it will fight the action in court.

Representative Vicky Hartzler, R-Mo., told The New York Times at an event announcing the new office, “No nurse or doctor should lose her job, her livelihood or her profession because of her faith.”