“Patients want doctors who match their values,” says Roger Severino (photo), the Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Severino, whose résumé includes positions at far right wing organizations, has a long history of publicly opposing transgender people.
The Trump administration on Thursday finalized the new regulation that allows medical professionals and organizations that receive federal funds to refuse service to anyone if they claim serving that person would violate their deeply-held religious beliefs.
Employers who receive complaints filed with the newly-created Conscience and Religious Freedom Division by employees could have their federal funding rescinded.
“Abortion rights and LGBT rights activists argue that the new rule will only make it harder for people seeking abortions and sex reassignment procedures to obtain that care, particularly in underserved, rural areas, where anti-abortion state laws already make accessing abortion services difficult,” Buzzfeed News reports.
“When asked what patients without many health care options were supposed to do if their hospital or health care provider refused to perform the procedures they were seeking, Severino repeatedly avoided the question, instead saying that the US had many health care options,” Buzzfeed adds.
Fenway Health, an organization that works to “enhance the wellbeing of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community,” makes clear that this new Trump regulation “will make it harder for LGBT people to access health care.”
The new HHS regulation “asserts that protections for health care providers who refuse to provide services based on religious or moral belief are needed because there is ‘an environment of discrimination toward, and attempted coercion of, those who object to certain health care procedures based on religious beliefs or moral convictions,’ and because the number of complaints related to such discrimination that have been filed with the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has increased since November 2016,” Fenway notes, citing the Trump administration’s new rule.
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Virginia School Districts Furious After Youngkin Flip Flops on Promise to Allow Local Boards to Decide Mask Mandates
For months Virginia’s incoming Republican governor has been promising he would neither mandate masks in schools nor ban school districts from requiring them.
“Virginia Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin (R) will not outlaw local COVID-19 mandates when he takes office in January,” reported the far right wing website Daily Wire back in November.
Local ABC affiliate 8 News, also in November reported, “Youngkin won’t try to block local mask, vaccine mandates like other Republican governors.”
Glenn Youngkin was sworn into office on Saturday, January 15, 2022.
Business Insider reports that on Saturday, after Youngkin was sworn into office, he “signed an executive action that banned schools from requiring that students wear masks to stem the spread of COVID-19, instead allowing parents to decide when their children wear masks during the school day.”
Youngkin’s first act as governor was to sign eleven executive orders. Among them: effectively banning any mask mandates in schools across the state, by allowing parents to opt-out for any reason or no reason.
In other words: flip-flopping on his promise.
Youngkin is using his Lt. Governor to threaten angry school districts. Fox News’ John Roberts:
Virginia Lt. Gov. @WinsomeSears says @GlennYoungkin may withold state education money from school districts that defy his Executive Order making masking optional. So far, Fairfax, Arlington and Richmond have said their mask mandates will stay in place.
— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) January 17, 2022
Pundit and political analyst Bill Scher:
For all people saying Youngkin is just doing what he said he would do by banning local school mask mandates … nope!
— Bill Scher (@billscher) January 17, 2022
Youngkin made a big deal over the weekend claiming schools have to “listen to parents” and if they oppose his mask ban they aren’t listening to parents.
Exclusive: Governor Youngkin on Arlington school system saying it will require masks, despite Youngkin’s order stating that schools can’t do that. He threatened to use state resources to force schools to comply – but we still don’t know what that means exactly. @WTOP https://t.co/5Lijz9kbgd pic.twitter.com/SnC4dcCIar
— Nick Iannelli (@NickWTOP) January 16, 2022
Gov. Youngkin is the one not listening.
Top Democrats Renew Call to End Anti-Gay Blood Ban as Red Cross Announces First-Ever National Shortage Crisis
Last week the Red Cross issued its first-ever warning of a blood shortage so dire it is calling it a “national crisis.” In response 22 top Democratic Senators signed a letter urging the FDA to once and for all end the ban on men who have sex with men donating blood.
The nearly four-decade old ban was instituted during the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis. In 2015 the FDA reduced the complete and total ban to one where gay and bisexual men and men who have sex with men could donate blood if they had abstained from sexual activity for one year. In 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic raged, threatening blood shortages, the FDA moved to a three-month prohibition.
“If the nation’s blood supply does not stabilize soon, life-saving blood may not be available for some patients when it is needed,” warns the Red Cross, citing a 34 percent drop in supply, CBS News reports.
“Any policy that continues to categorically single out the LGBTQ+ community is discriminatory and wrong,” the group of 22 top Democrats, led by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), say in their letter. “Given advances in blood screening and safety technology, a time-based policy for gay and bisexual men is not scientifically sound, continues to effectively exclude an entire group of people, and does not meet the urgent demands of the moment.”
Watch: Fox News’ Peter Doocy Admits There Are Republicans ‘That Don’t Agree With Voting Rights’
“As you talked about a year ago and working with Republicans, now [President Biden] is talking about Republicans that don’t agree with voting rights,” Doocy complained, “he’s describing them as George Wallace, Bull Connor, and Jefferson Davis. What happened to the guy who, when he was elected said: ‘To make progress me must stop treating our opponents as our enemy’?”
Doocy was referring to President Joe Biden’s widely praised speech in support of voting rights earlier this week, referencing civil rights icons and their infamous white supremacist and segregationist opponents.
“Do you want to be on the side of Dr. King or George Wallace?” Biden asked, to the anger of many conservatives. “Do you want to be on the side of John Lewis or Bull Connor? Do you want to be on the side of Abraham Lincoln or Jefferson Davis? This is the moment to decide to defend our elections, to defend our democracy.”
Psaki as usual was prepared to respond – suggesting Doocy was not “speaking on the level.”
“I think everybody listening to that speech, who’s speaking on the level, as my mother would say, would note that he was not comparing them as humans. He was comparing the choice to those figures in history and where they’re going to position themselves, if they as it – as they determine whether they’re going to support the fundamental right to vote or not.”
Fox News’ Peter Doocy admits there are “Republicans that don’t agree with voting rights.”pic.twitter.com/Bmhr5zZvuh
— David Badash (@davidbadash) January 14, 2022
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