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It’s code red in the media as Trump establishes civil rights division to protect federal workers’ freedom of conscience

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The Trump administration announced the creation of a new division within the Health and Human Services Department that will provide protections for health care workers who have moral objections to providing certain services such as abortions.

The new conscience and religious freedom division falls under the Office of Civil Rights and will investigate complaints by employees that their religious rights have been violated, thus protecting those who do not want to take part in treating transgender patients or in performing abortions and other services they find objectionable.

“No one should be forced to choose between helping sick people and living by one’s deepest moral or religious convictions, and the new division will help guarantee that victims of unlawful discrimination find justice,” Roger Severino, the Trump-appointed director of the Office of Civil Rights said Thursday, The Hill reported. “We are saying, with the launch of this division, you do not need to shed your religious identity, you do not need to shed your moral convictions to be a part of the public square.”

Protections for employees that were in place under former President George W. Bush were rolled back by the Obama administration, a move highly criticized by President Trump. Conservative groups applauded the move by the Trump administration to uphold the religious liberty of health care providers.

“We think the Trump administration should set an example in enforcing the multiple conscience laws that have been passed since the 1970s to prevent the government from punishing people who have objections to participating in abortion,” David Christensen, vice president of government affairs at the Family Research Council, said according to the Denver Post.

Cue the hysteria and whining from the left, as groups who claim to be all about protecting some part of the population reacted to the news. From LGBTQ and women’s groups to lawmakers and more, the reactions erupted on Twitter.

But for many Americans, especially federal workers directly affected by laws that force them to choose between their jobs and their consciences, the change is a relief.

“This is a welcome change from the Obama administration’s stubborn refusal to enforce federal laws that prohibit discrimination against health care entities,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, said, according to The Hill.

“For too long too many of these health care practitioners have been bullied and discriminated against because of their religious beliefs and moral conviction,” acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan said Thursday.

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Frieda Powers

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