ABC News reports:
The Trump administration announced on Thursday a new division within the Department of Health and Human Services devoted to “conscience and religious freedom.” Social conservatives and religious liberty leaders have anticipated conscience and religious freedom protections to come out of HHS, and the work of the new division, which will fall under the purview of the Office of Civil Rights, will likely pave the way for health care workers to refuse specific types of care, like birth control or abortion, based on their religious or conscience objections. Critics say the move could hurt civil rights protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people, and hurt patient care.
OCR (Office for Civil Rights) Director Roger Severino (pictured above) said, “Laws protecting religious freedom and conscience rights are just empty words on paper if they aren’t enforced. 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. For too long, governments big and small have treated conscience claims with hostility instead of protection, but change is coming and it begins here and now.”
Severino is a longtime anti-LGBT activist who has worked for the anti-lgbt hate groups Heritage Foundation and the Becket Fund. In 2006 he was the lead attorney in the case that banned same-sex marriage in Maryland.