The Trump administration’s Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) is facing two separate lawsuits just filed by the ACLU and by Planned Parenthood. The filings seek to strike down a new policy that would give people of faith special religious rights to discriminate, especially against LGBT people and women.
The new policy, slated to go into effect July 22, would provide “conscience protections” to health care workers and professionals. Those protections would allow, say, a doctor to not perform an abortion, even to save the life of a mother. They would allow, for example, a physician or nurse practitioner to reject a gay man on the grounds his very being violates their religious beliefs.
Courthouse News’ Adam Klasfeld posted a portion of the lawsuit which says the Refusal of Care Rule would “allow almost any health care provider – including hospitals or individual workers in the health care setting … to refuse to provide, assist with, or refer for virtually any health service, based solely on a personal objection.”
The rule would also make it legal to withhold information from patients, and without telling them.
New: @PPFA and the @ACLU filed separate lawsuits in SDNY suing @HHSGov for issuing a rule that “would allow almost any health care provider” to deny “virtually any health service” — or withhold info on health care options — based on personal objections alone. @CourthouseNews pic.twitter.com/xVrTAjy1oy
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) June 11, 2019
The new HHS rule is merely the extension of a Trump administration plan to decimate the rights of women and minorities, under the guise of religious freedom. It is being enacted by Roger Severino (photo), a far right wing religious extremist who now heads HHS’s Office for Civil Rights.
News about the new rule first leaked in April.
“Patients want doctors who match their values,” Severino said, defending the proposed rule weeks later.
Severino once served as the CEO and counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a far right wing religious legal organization. He also worked for The Heritage Foundation, and for the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society. The Human Rights Campaign has called him a “radical anti-LGBTQ activist.”
In early 2018 Severino created the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division in HHS’s Office of Civil Rights, in order to prioritize supposed cases of anti-religious discrimination among medical professionals.
“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 said in a statement at the time.
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‘Greatly Representative of Our Nation’: Trump Says the RNC Will ‘Probably’ Use White House for His Convention Speech
President Donald Trump on Wednesday confirmed that the RNC is considering holding a portion of its August convention on the White House grounds, an unprecedented break with acceptable norms and ethics.
Calling the White House “greatly representative of our nation,” Trump says he will “probably” accept the GOP nomination from the South Lawn and deliver his acceptance speech there.
“I’ll probably do mine live from the White House,” Trump said on “Fox & Friends,” NBC News reports. He claimed one of the reasons to do it at the White House is to save the taxpayers money.
“It would be the easiest from the standpoint of security,” he said. “It’s a very expensive operation militarily, and law enforcement-wise the Secret Service is fantastic. But, you know, it’s a big deal, and we’re thinking about doing it from the White House because there’s no movement, it’s easy and I think it’s a beautiful setting.”
Trump’s speech is scheduled for Thursday, August 27, just three weeks from tomorrow.
Experts say anyone in the administration participating, aside from Trump and the Vice President, would be in violation of the Hatch Act.
Here’s the president discussing his convention plans:
Defending plans to accept the Republican nomination at the White House, Trump says he likes DC: “I spend a lot of time here and I like it. And I think it’s a great place, and greatly representative of our nation.” pic.twitter.com/C3V4LN9UYr
— Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) August 5, 2020
Trump May Deliver Convention Speech and Accept GOP Nomination From the South Lawn of the White House
President Donald Trump may make yet another move to obliterate longstanding norms and the separation of politics from matters of state by accepting the GOP nomination for president and delivering his convention speech, all televised across the nation, live, from the vaunted South Lawn of the White House.
“Republican National Convention planners are considering the White House South Lawn,” The Washington Post reports.
It is yet another unprecedented move, one that fits in well with Trump’s usurpation of the power and trappings of the Oval Office for personal and political gain, and his equating of the Office of the Presidency with himself.
“Every White House staff member who participates in this violates the Hatch Act,” law professor and former chief White House ethics lawyer Richard Painter says.
The Hatch Act “does not apply to ‘rooms in the White House or in the residence of the Vice President, which are part of the residence area or which are not regularly used solely in the discharge of official duties,'” the Post notes.
The New York Times reported Monday the interior of the White House is also being considered by the RNC.
Local Police Unions Are Colluding With Trump’s Secret Police Force — and Not Telling Elected City Officials
Local police unions appear to be going around the elected officials who oversee their departments to work with federal agents to crack down on protesters in some cities.
Leaders in Chicago and Portland have publicly disavowed federal law enforcement policing demonstrations in their cities, the president of Portland’s police union met with Homeland Security acting secretary Chad Wolf last week to discuss Customs and Border Protection agents, reported The Daily Beast.
That meeting apparently came without the knowledge of the city’s police chief, and the president of Chicago’s police union reached out to President Donald Trump for federal intervention against protesters in that city.
The administration is sending 150 federal agents with Homeland Security Investigations to Chicago, and protesters there have said local police and federal agents are obviously working together.
Trump has threatened to send federal agents into other cities, including New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore and Oakland as a show of force against protests that have continued for just about two months following the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd.
Daryl Turner, the president of Portland’s police union, met with Trump’s DHS acting secretary after the Portland Police Association passed a vote of no confidence against the city’s elected officials, and the police chief seemed confused about whether officers had met with Wolf.
Portland police are bound by a judge’s injunction forbidding tear gas and other less-lethal tactics, but federal agents are not — and activists believe local officers are using those unbadged and camouflaged agents as cover.
“They stand right next to each other and shoot us at the same time,” said local activist Greg McElvey. “That’s usually the telltale. They disperse crowds at the same time, we see them talk to each other. Other than throwing people into vans, this is all stuff the Portland Police were already doing.”
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