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Trump Creates New ‘Conscience and Religious Freedom Division’ at HHS to Support Discrimination by Health Care Professionals

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“No One Should Be Forced to Choose Between Helping Sick People and Living by One’s Deepest Moral or Religious Convictions” Division’s Chief Announces

The Office of Civil Rights at President Donald Trump’s Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) has a new division created to help ensure discrimination by medical professionals who chose to cite their religious or moral convictions when refusing to treat certain patients or when refusing to perform certain functions. The Conscience and Religious Freedom Division was officially announced in an HHS press release Thursday.

Transgender people, women seeking contraception or abortion services, gay, lesbian, bisexual people, people living with HIV/AIDS seem particularly at risk for further – and now federally-sanctioned – discrimination under the Trump administration.

No one should be forced to choose between helping sick people and living by one’s deepest moral or religious convictions,” said Roger Severino (photo), Director of the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Severino, whose resume includes positions at far right wing organizations, has a long history of publicly opposing transgender people.

In short, under the Trump administration’s new policy and new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, health care workers could, for example, refuse to treat a transgender patient, just because they are transgender. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual people all could be refused a doctor’s appointment or told at an emergency room they have to seek help elsewhere. Unmarried sexually-active women could be refused contraception, or forced to shop around for a doctor willing to perform a medically-necessary abortion. Same-sex couples seeking a pediatrician for a newborn child could also be refused.

NCRM first reported Wednesday that the complaint portal website for the Office for Civil Rights at HHS had already been updated to include greatly expanded language on Federal Conscience and Religious Freedom Laws.

Invited guests attending Thursday morning’s announcement include Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) who vigorously pushed her now-failed bill that would have banned the Pentagon from spending taxpayer funds to support medically-necessary treatment of transgender service members.

Also invited is Senator James Lankford (R-OK) who infamously said in 2012, “race and sexual preferences are two different things. One is a behavior-related and preference-related and one is something inherently — skin color, something obvious, that kind of stuff.”

Both GOP lawmakers have ties to the Family Research Council.

“Severino is a defender of the discredited practice of conversion therapy, argued transgender service members ‘dishonors’ the military, and insisted that anti-LGBTQ discrimination is ‘based not on any sort of hatred but, in fact, out of love,'” GLAAD noted in a statement Thursday.

“Any healthcare worker who has moral objections to providing medically necessary care to an entire vulnerable population is in the wrong line of work,” Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, said. “Denying a transgender person – or any person – life saving care if they walk into an emergency room is far from a moral act, it is unjust and dangerous. Trump, Pence, and Trump’s appointees have tried time and again to establish blatantly bigoted policies that harm transgender and gender non-conforming Americans, and history will neither forget nor forgive this Administration’s attacks on its own people.”

The Catholic Health Association says that “the Catholic health ministry is the largest group of nonprofit health care providers in the nation. Every day, one in six patients in the U.S. is cared for in a Catholic hospital.” The organization represents health care facility operators that employ nearly 750,000 health care workers. Due to a rash of mergers many hospitals that appear secular are actually controlled by religious organizations.

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OPINION

Donald Trump Jr. Bombs at CPAC – and Gets Scorched for Lying That ‘Radical’ Dems Have ‘Banned the Muppets’ From TV

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If Donald Trump, Jr. was hoping to get support for a political run he did not receive it at Friday’s Conservative Political Action Conference. The son of the former president was the last speaker of the day, but had to address a room with more empty chairs than he probably expected. There was no attempt to be “socially distant” at CPAC, and it was definitely not “standing room only.”

The conservative crowd did not seem terribly impressed or thrilled with Trump Jr.’s remarks. At one point, when he compared CNN’s chief media correspondent Brian Stelter (who he called Brian Slettler) to “Mr. Potato Head,” claiming that everyone makes that comparison (almost no one makes that comparison, except for this guy and a Fox News host), he got enough pushback that he had to try to defend his ugly attack.

Jr. also tried to pull off jokes like, “Liz Cheney is less popular than her father is at a quail hunt,” referring to the former vice president accidentally shooting an acquaintance in the face – in 2006, 15 years ago. There likely were attendees in the room who literally were too young to know what he was talking about. When some groaned he declared, “fact check: true.”

Trump Jr.’s speech was his usual mix of lies, half-truths, and self-victimization, accentuated with a big lie about something incredibly irrelevant: “The Muppets” (no offense meant to any Muppets.)

“This month, this month alone, they’ve banned The Muppets,” Trump Jr. lied, blaming “the radical left” for the cancellation that did not happen.

“Right. I mean, if there’s things that you thought were sort of above cancellation, you would be wrong. There is nothing, the radical left won’t cancel. ”

He was probably referring to Disney +, where almost every Muppet episode can now be seen. Entertainment Weekly reports that two episodes are missing, one because Disney could not secure the rights to the music in an episode, and one because the guest star of that episode is now a convicted sex offender and was “found guilty of possessing child pornography.”

BBC News adds that Disney has added a content warning to the beginning of some episodes over “negative stereotypes.”

That’s not cancelling The Muppets, although Trump’s father has made clear he doesn’t like warning labels on his content either.

Watch:

A few responses:

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THIS IS TODAY'S GOP

MAGA Crowd at CPAC Rewards Josh Hawley With a Standing Ovation for Voting to Overturn a Free and Fair Election

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Conservatives continue to reward Republicans who fought to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) was one of the most prominent proponents of the “Big Lie” that Donald Trump actually won the presidential election. Hawley refused to accept the outcome of the election even after the Electoral College voted to confirm Joe Biden’s victory in December.

Hawley continued his efforts to overturn the election even after the fatal January. 6th insurrection by supporters of Trump who believed Hawley’s misinformation.

While the senator has been harshly criticized in Missouri, he was cheered on Friday when he bragged about siding with the insurrectionists while speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando.

Many in the crowed even gave him a standing ovation.

Watch:

 

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LIES AND THE LYING LIARS THAT TELL THEM

GOP Lawmakers Lie to Skip House Votes – So They Can Attend Conservative Conference in Orlando

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Four of the Republican Party’s most extreme House lawmakers have submitted signed letters claiming they must vote by proxy due to the ongoing health crisis, the coronavirus pandemic. But as CNN’s Manu Raju reports, all four are in sunny Florida attending or even speaking at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference.

“Several Republicans in the House have skipped Friday’s votes and enlisted their colleagues to vote on their behalf, signing letters saying they couldn’t attend ‘due to the ongoing public health emergency.’ But those members are scheduled to be at CPAC,” Raju reports.

“The members include Rep. Matt Gaetz,” Raju adds, “as well as some of Trump’s staunchest defenders who are listed as speakers, like Reps. Paul Gosar of Arizona, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina and Ted Budd of North Carolina.”

Here’s Rep. Matt Gaetz on Thursday at CPAC, apparently unconcerned about the coronavirus as he walks maskless in the halls laughing with supporters:

Republicans were initially vehemently opposed to voting by proxy when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi approved it. But now they are abusing the procedure, and apparently lying to invoke it.

 

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