New Rule Would Reorganize HHSÂ Office for Civil Rights and Allow Federal Government Outreach to Groups Working to Enable Discrimination
The Trump administration is preparing new policy to enable health care workers claiming religious or moral objections to discriminate against transgender patients, or to refuse to perform or assist in performing abortion services. According to Politico the new rule could be announced in time for Friday’s March for Life, an annual anti-choice rally held in Washington, D.C., organized in part by the religious right to drive support for overturning Roe v. Wade.
Roger Severino, Trump’s highly controversial Director of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR)Â at the Department of Health and Human Services, reportedly is spearheading a reorganization ofÂ the division to enforce compliance and dole out punishments to organizations that might violate the new protections.Â
Not only would this new office “punish organizations that donâ€™t allow” health care workers “to express their moral objections,” but it would “also conduct outreach and technical support to help others who are seeking to strengthen protections for these workers,” Politico reports.
In other words, a taxpayer-funded arm ofÂ the federal government might actively partner with, for example, the Family Research Council to help undermine the civil rights of transgender patients or women seeking abortion services. It could be like OSHA but instead of ensuring safe working conditions it would ensure health care workers are allowed to discriminate against transgender people and women seeking abortions.Â
Just days agoÂ the complaint portal website for theÂ Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services was updated to include greatly expanded language on Federal Conscience and Religious Freedom Laws.
Here’s a screenshot of the page on January 13:
Here’s a screenshot of the page today:
The updated page includes an entirely new category of complaint:Â Violation of Conscience or Religious Freedom.
Severino has a history of anti-transgender positions, notably when he was the Director of the DeVos family’s Center for Religion and Civil Society, Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity at The Heritage Foundation. He also served asÂ legal counsel for the right wing Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
Politico adds that Severino “has repeatedly stressed that strengthening conscience protections for health care workers is a top priority for his office.”
His appointment was condemned by LGBT civil rights groups last year.
“Severino has called the efforts of agencies such as OCR to protect transgender people from discriminationÂ an ‘abuse of power‘ wielded ‘to coerce everyoneâ€¦into pledging allegiance to a radical new gender ideology,'” a joint statement signed by eight progressive and LGBT civil rights groups charged.
The DNC is blasting the Trump administration over this move:
“Once again, women and the LGBTQ community are under attack from the Trump-Pence administration. Days before the anniversary of the Womenâ€™s March, Republicans are giving health workers a license to discriminate against women and members of the LGBTQ community,” DNC Director of Womenâ€™s Media Elizabeth Renda and Director of LGBTQ Media Lucas Acosta tell NCRM in an email statement.Â
“It wasnâ€™t enough to try to strip transgender Americans of their right to serve, roll back access to birth control, and attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. Now Trump, Pence, and their Republican cronies want to allow health care workers to discriminate and rip away access to medical care. This rule is unethical and dangerously undermines public health.”Â
â€œThis proposal is further proof that Republicans continue to push forward an agenda completely out of step with the American people and American ideals. Democrats will continue to focus on how to improve access to health care for all Americans regardless of gender, orientation, or income.â€
To comment on this article and other NCRM content, visit our Facebook page.
If you find NCRM valuable, would you please consider making a donation to support our independent journalism?
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.
NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.
Mike Pence Quietly Took a Huge Christmas Ski Vacation as Coronavirus Cases Soared – Costing Taxpayers Over $750,000
More details continue to emerge about the Trump-Pence administration.
The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) said new documents show then-VP Mike Pence showed “bad judgment” during the coronavirus pandemic.
“While coronavirus cases surged to record levels late last December, Vice President Mike Pence went on a ski vacation in Vail, Colorado. The trip came with a massive bill to taxpayers, with Secret Service protection alone costing $757,527.85, according to documents obtained by CREW. At the time of his holiday travel, Pence was the head of the White House coronavirus task force, which put out dire warnings after Thanksgiving as the CDC recommended that Americans stay home over the holidays in order to limit the spread of the virus. Clearly, Pence did not follow the government’s advice, and in the process put dozens of Secret Service agents at heightened risk of infection,” the group said on Thursday.
“Pence’s trip extended from December 23rd to January 1st, and reportedly included a Secret Service entourage of at least 48 agents, contributing to both the high cost and the risk of infection.The agents stayed at several different hotels in the Vail area and rented 77 cars for the trip. The charges included more than $270,000 at the Marriott Vail Mountain and more than $80,000 at the Ritz Carlton,” the group reported.
“This also is not the first time Mike Pence stuck taxpayers with huge bills for his travel. Back in 2019, he traveled to Ireland for government business in Dublin, but stayed overnight at Donald Trump’s resort on the other side of the country in Doonbeg. Travel costs for that were more than half a million dollars, and also resulted in the Secret Service spending more than $15,000 at Trump’s resort,” the group noted. “While Pence’s December trip to Vail was less nakedly corrupt than his trip to Doonbeg, it showed another kind of bad judgment, by putting many government workers tasked with keeping him safe at risk in the midst of a raging pandemic. We would hope that the head of the coronavirus task force would know better.”
NEW: Then-VP Mike Pence went on a ski trip in late December, when COVID rates were surging and the CDC recommended people stay home for the holidays. Documents obtained by @CREWcrew show the trip cost taxpayers more than $750,000 in Secret Service costs.https://t.co/pYm6bX3GCB
— Noah Bookbinder (@NoahBookbinder) April 22, 2021
Image: Official White House photo by Myles D. Cullen via Flickr
Andrew Yang Tried to Get an LGBTQ Group’s Endorsement So He Talked About Wanting to Visit a Lesbian Bar: NYT
Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, who was a surprising breakout success but suffered criticisms about “tone,” and continues to, is running to become New York City’s next mayor. He’s currently the frontrunner in the very early race but once again, as The New York Times reports, his inability to build support among minority groups is hurting him.
Yang spoke to the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, a top LGBTQ organization, on Wednesday.
“It did not go particularly well,” the Times reports.
Yang’s approach and the way he treated LGBTQ people was seen as “outdated,” according to Stonewall’s president, Rose Christ.
“Yang cited gay members of his staff as apparent evidence of his openness to the club’s concerns, and expressed enthusiasm about the prospect of visiting Cubbyhole, a storied New York lesbian bar, participants said,” the Times reveals.
“He proactively talked about resurrecting the city’s Pride March, but failed to pay sufficient heed to more substantive issues they were actually concerned about, including homelessness and affordable housing, they said.”
“When I see a candidate come in just with Michael Scott levels of cringe and insensitivity, it either tells me Andrew Yang is in over his head or is not listening to his staff,” said Alejandra Caraballo, a member of the organization, referring to the character played by Steve Carell on “The Office.” “Those are both radioactive flashing signs that say he is not prepared to be mayor of New York.”
Yang also repeatedly referred to LGBTQ people as a “community,” telling members of the Stonewall Democratic Club how much he cares about “your community.”
“I genuinely do love you and your community,” Yang told members. “You’re so human and beautiful. You make New York City special. I have no idea how we ever lose to the Republicans given that you all are frankly in, like, leadership roles all over the Democratic Party.”
Filmmaker and Stonewall member Harris Doran said Yang “kept calling us ‘Your community,’ like we were aliens.”
“We have, like, this incredible secret weapon,” Yang also said. “It’s not even secret. It’s like, we should win everything because we have you all.”
“Gay, gay, gay. Wow,” one person wrote in the chat accompanying the forum, which was later shared with The New York Times. “More to us than just that.”
Trump Loving Lawmaker Schooled for Claim Founders Oppose DC Statehood: They ‘Never Intended’ for GOP to ‘Commit Sedition’ Either
Just before the U.S. House of Representatives voted 216-208 on Thursday to make Washington, D.C. a state, Ohio Republican state representative Mike Loychik posted a tweet insisting the “founders never intended for Washington DC to become a state.”
He’s not wrong, technically, but – as many corrected him – given that the founders never intended for many things, including for women and Black people to be allowed to vote, for people who did not own property to vote, and, as some noted, for Republicans to “commit sedition,” what difference does it make?
The founders also did not originally intend for Washington, D.C. to be the seat of government. First it was New York City, then Philadelphia.
Rep. Loychik, who just filed a bill to make Ohio taxpayers spend $300,000 to rename Mosquito Lake State Park in Donald Trump’s honor, did not respond to any of the people educating him, but hours later he posted a tweet attacking Democrats:
The founders are looking down on America and they’re DISGUSTED by what the Democrat party is trying to do to this country.
— Representative Mike Loychik (@MikeLoychik) April 22, 2021
Loychik is clearly ignoring the fact that “the Republican Party has historically taken far more effective advantage of the addition of new states,” as The Atlantic reported in 2019.
In 1889 and 1890, Congress added North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho, and Wyoming—the largest admission of states since the original 13. This addition of 12 new senators and 18 new electors to the Electoral College was a deliberate strategy of late-19th-century Republicans to stay in power after their swing toward Big Business cost them a popular majority. The strategy paid dividends deep into the future; indeed, the admission of so many rural states back then helps to explain GOP control of the Senate today, 130 years later.
Washington, D.C. could become the 51st state, if Democrats in the Senate can convince six of their Democratic colleagues currently opposed to the measure, and another ten Senate Republicans to support it, or kill the filibuster, which would allow passage with 50 Senate votes plus Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie.
Here’s how some are schooling the Ohio Republican lawmaker:
You're only 3/5 right.
— Ed Bott (@edbott) April 22, 2021
The founders never intended for women to vote or people of color to be considered more than 3/5 of a human being. The founders never intended for @HouseGOP and @SenateGOP to commit sedition and overturn a free and fair election. Based on your logic, there should only be 13 states
— James (@JamesSNYC) April 22, 2021
The founders owned people like cattle.
— Review & Resist (@ReviewResist) April 22, 2021
The founders never intended for one of two political parties to flirt with fascist autocracy while attempting to implement minority rule either. But here we are. https://t.co/2DPIm5AfCK
— Brandon Friedman (@BFriedmanDC) April 22, 2021
They never intended to extend voting rights to anyone other than property-owning white men, but here we are.
— Steve M. (@nomoremister) April 22, 2021
The Founders also believed that African-Americans were only 3/5ths of a person.
— Andrew C Laufer, Esq (@lauferlaw) April 22, 2021
They didn’t intend persons of color to vote, women to vote, or anyone who wasn’t a white guy with land for that matter.
DC has more people living there than WY or VT. It has more residents than 77 congressional districts.
So, no. You don’t get to deny DC their rights.
— lawhawk #maskingforafriend (@lawhawk) April 22, 2021
Founders never planned to ride a train either, hoss
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) April 22, 2021
The founders never intended 2a to mean every moron can own an AR-15, either.
No one lived in DC then, they do now. Taxation without representation is illegal.
— 𝕸𝖆𝖗𝖎𝖕𝖔𝖔𝖕𝖔𝖔𝖕𝖔𝖔 (@maripoopoopoo) April 22, 2021
That’s inaccurate. Article IV Section 3 of our US Constitution laid out the pathway to statehood. Article I Section 8 lays out the purpose of our nation’s capital which is not to be a state.
— Rep. Ron Ferguson (@ronfergusonohio) April 22, 2021
Remind me which of the original 13 states Ohio was again? https://t.co/K8zZyycF5e
— emptywheel (@emptywheel) April 22, 2021
Founders never intended for there to be a standing army.
Founders never intended for popular election of Senators. https://t.co/hTatnAW3eY
— Mesopelagic Mike (@nyambol) April 22, 2021
They never intended a not well regulated militia with AK’s either.
— Patricia Arquette (@PattyArquette) April 22, 2021
The founders intended Ohio to be part of Connecticut & Virginia, but here we are (also they did not intend blacks or women to vote, but we evolved).
— David Rothschild (@DavMicRot) April 22, 2021
I think we can safely stop using “the founders never intended” for a lot of ideas. It’s been almost 250 years. A few things have changed.
— Anthony (@anthonytx42) April 22, 2021
Yup. And HR-51 does this specially. pic.twitter.com/GEF3Z77Mx2
— sunni ♥︎ (@sunnivaskeleton) April 22, 2021
A Strict Constructionist reading (or any reading for that matter) of Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution does not exclude ANY area that is not already part of a State, @MikeLoychik.
Read the WHOLE Constitution, Mike, not just the 2nd Amendment. https://t.co/XilZo4NtKU
— Sgt Joker (@TheSGTJoker) April 22, 2021
The Founders thought bloodletting cured fevers. Go play.
— BettyFastCat (@BettyFastCat1) April 22, 2021
The founders never intended for the Air Force to become a military branch but here we are.
— National Security Counselors (@NatlSecCnslrs) April 22, 2021
I dare say they would start a revolution to fight against taxation without representation.
— Nick Done 🇺🇸 (@NickDone8) April 22, 2021
Image: screenshot via Facebook
- WHY?3 days ago
‘Riding Bikes While Black’: New Jersey Cops Under Fire for Confiscating Bike and Arresting Teen
- OPINION20 hours ago
Sonia Sotomayor Rips Brett Kavanaugh With Warning New Justices Are ‘Willing to Overrule Precedent’
- News2 days ago
Columbus Police Shoot and Kill 15 Year Old Black Girl Who Called for Help, Family Says: Reports
- RACISM RACISM RACISM2 days ago
Arizona Lawmaker Uses Racist Slur and Calls for Black Representative to ‘Be Sat Down’ and Not ‘Be Allowed to Speak’
- RIGHT WING HYPOCRISY3 days ago
McEnany Lectures Biden: ‘It’s the Role of the President of the United States to Stay Back, to Not Inflame’
- 'GUILTY CONSCIENCE'2 days ago
‘A Hit Dog Will Holler’: Congresswoman Slammed for Claiming Biden and Harris ‘Say We’re All Racists’
- News3 days ago
Ted Nugent Tests Positive for Coronavirus He Called Fake: ‘I Thought I Was Dying’
- 'SERIOUS CONSTITUTIONAL CONCERNS'2 days ago
Louis DeJoy’s Postal Inspectors Are Secretly Monitoring Social Media Accounts via a ‘Covert’ Program: Report