Trump Official Defends New Anti-LGBT ‘Religious Freedom’ Regulation – Says ‘Patients Want Doctors Who Match Their Values’

 
 
 
The Trump administration's top official behind a new regulation offering special religious rights to medical providers while harming LGBT people is defending the policy.

"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filed with the newly-created Conscience and Religious Freedom Division by employees could have their federal funding rescinded.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.

President Trump announced the new policy Thursday during a White House event for the National Day of Prayer.

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