“No One Should Be Forced to Choose Between Helping Sick People and Living by Oneâ€™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. TheÂ 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 â€“ and now federally-sanctioned â€“ discrimination under the Trump administration.
“No one should be forced to choose between helping sick people and living by oneâ€™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 ofÂ publicly opposing transgender people.
In short, under the Trump administration’s new policy and newÂ Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, health care workersÂ 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 performÂ aÂ medically-necessaryÂ abortion. Same-sexÂ couples seeking a pediatrician for a newborn child could also be refused.
NCRM first reported Wednesday that the complaint portal website for theÂ 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 ThursdayÂ morning’sÂ 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 â€” skin color, something obvious, that kind of stuff.”
Both GOP lawmakers have ties to the Family Research Council.
“Severino is aÂ defenderÂ of the discredited practice of conversion therapy,Â arguedÂ transgender service members ‘dishonors’ the military, andÂ insistedÂ that anti-LGBTQ discrimination is ‘based not on any sort of hatred but, in fact, out of love,'” GLAAD noted in a statement Thursday.
â€œAny healthcare worker who has moral objections to providing medically necessary care to an entire vulnerable population is in the wrong line of work,â€ Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, said. â€œDenying a transgender person â€“ or any person â€“ life saving care if they walk into an emergency room is far from a moral act, it is unjust and dangerous. Trump, Pence, and Trumpâ€™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 Administrationâ€™s attacks on its own people.â€
The Catholic Health AssociationÂ 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 operatorsÂ that employ nearly 750,000 healthÂ care workers. Due to a rash of mergers many hospitals that appear secular are actually controlled by religious organizations.
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J6 Committee Announces Plan for Final Report
The U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack is wrapping up its 17-month long investigation and has announced its plan for its final report.
Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) Wednesday evening told reporters the committee will issue a final report in two weeks, on December 21. A “formal presentation” will accompany the final report, Axios’ Andrew Solender reports.
What form the presentation will take is unclear. Presumably it will not be a primetime televised hearing.
Chairman Thompson told reporters, “there will be some form of public presentation. We haven’t decided exactly what that would be,” Grayer says.
NBC reporters say that date is “a bit later than the committee was hoping and it forced some members and staff to change holiday plans.”
“In addition to considering a referral involving former President Donald Trump,” NBC News reports, “the committee could offer contempt of Congress referrals for fellow members who have ignored its subpoenas, for witnesses it believes lied to its investigators and for individuals it believes attempted to intimidate witnesses in the probe.”
“The report will be a massive compilation of the work the committee has done for the last year and a half, outlining its findings and offering up recommendations and possible legislation to prevent something like the Jan. 6 attack from happening again. Thompson has said the document could be up to eight chapters.”
Florida ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Author Indicted on Federal Fraud Charges: DOJ
Florida Republican state lawmaker Joe Harding, the author of the highly-criticized and some say unconstitutional “Don’t Say Gay” law, has been indicted by a U.S. Dept. of Justice grand jury on federal fraud charges.
“A federal grand jury has returned a six-count indictment against Joseph Harding, 35, of Williston, Florida,” the Justice Dept. said in a press release, detailing an alleged scheme, which included obtaining “fraudulently created bank statements,” to defraud the U.S. Government’s Small Business Administration of $150,000.
The felony charges include wire fraud, money laundering, and making false statements.
The DOJ indictment also alleges, “Harding committed two acts of wire fraud by participating in a scheme to defraud the Small Business Administration (SBA) and for obtaining coronavirus-related small business loans by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, and for the purpose of executing such scheme, caused wire communications to be transmitted in interstate commerce.”
Trial is scheduled for next month. DOJ says Harding could be subject to as many as 35 years in prison should he be found guilty on all charges.
Harding’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis not only signed into law but used, via his then-press secretary to further attacks on the LGBTQ community, doubled-down on one of his key components: outing LGBTQ children to their parents.
The legislation, technically named the “Parental Rights in Education” Act, prohibits “classroom instruction” on sexual orientation or gender identity in certain school grades, but as expected, has been seen as “confusing” and a total ban on any discussion of LGBTQ issues.
Making clear the legislation’s intent, Florida GOP lawmakers voted down an proposed by a Democrat that would require schools create a safe environment for LGBTQ children.
“Those are serious allegations of corruption,” Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith told Florida Politics, which first reported the news. “The courts will sort through that sordid mess but we know he’s made many false statements about the LGBTQ community. Florida parents are forced to navigate schools that are less safe for their children because Joe Harding’s political ambitions know no bounds.”
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change.
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‘Plot Thickens’: Trump Ally Claimed He No Longer Had Storage Facility Where Classified Docs Were Found – NYT Reporter
People close to Donald Trump appear to have been misleading reporters as The Washington Post, The New York Times, and CNN all broke news regarding the stunning revelation more classified documents were found among items Trump had shipped from federal government offices to Florida – this time, to a storage facility in West Palm Beach.
The Washington Post broke the news that the Trump legal time had hired a third party to search for classified documents, after the Dept. of Justice remained unconvinced all classified documents Trump had removed from the White House had been retrieved or returned.
As it turned out, this latest batch, which The Post now reports were only two classified documents, had been shipped not from the White House but from a federal office building in Virginia Trump and his team had been using after he left the White House.
The Post in its initial story had reported its sources said no classified documents had been found. It later updated that report, including the title of the article which now reads: “Items with classified markings found at Trump storage unit in Florida.”
“Trump’s lawyers have told the Justice Department that the outside team did not turn up any new classified information during their search of Bedminster and Trump Tower, according to people familiar with the process, and have said they utilized a firm that had expertise in searching for documents,” The Post added.
Outside of her reporting with Alan Feuer at The New York Times, Maggie Haberman noted the deception or lack of information her sources presented.
“People close to the former president had insisted earlier Wednesday that no classified material had been found at any of the facilities,” Haberman tweeted, which turned out to be false.
“One person close to Trump previously insisted he didn’t have the storage facility anymore,” which was also false.
“The plot thickens,” observed constitutional law expert and retired Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe, “as more criminally mishandled classified documents turn up at yet another venue. Trump’s skeletons seem to be buried in an ever-expanding array of places.”
Attorney Teri Kanefield suggested there’s more to this story.
“The thing to remember about this rapidly shifting more-classified-documents story is that the information seems to be coming entirely from Team Trump,” she tweeted. “Something is going on . . . but we don’t know what.”
“If I recall correctly, the 11th Circuit’s mandate in the MAL [Mar-a-Lago] docs case issues tomorrow. Trump has to not only appeal but also get an emergency stay before that or the Special Master process is officially dead.”
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