The Trump administration’s Health and Human Services Department issued a final rule promising protection of conscience rights for health care workers and adoption providers who hold religious objections to things like abortion and homosexuality.
HHS’ Office for Civil Rights released the final rule on Thursday, corresponding with the annual National Day of Prayer observance and builds off a May 2017 executive order signed by President Donald Trump on religious liberty.
“Finally, laws prohibiting government funded discrimination against conscience and religious freedom will be enforced like every other civil rights law,” said OCR Director Roger Severino in a statement released Thursday.
“This rule ensures that health care entities and professionals won’t be bullied out of the health care field because they decline to participate in actions that violate their conscience, including the taking of human life.”
Organizations and persons covered by the final rule include hospitals, nursing care facilities, doctors, dentists, insurance carriers, and family planning centers.
The final rule also applies to social services groups, including elderly care, suicide prevention organizations, and foster care and adoption agencies.
The inclusion of adoption agencies comes days after Bethany Christian Services of Grand Rapids, Michigan, announced they would start placing children with LGBT families after being sued for previously refusing to do so for religious reasons.
“Bethany will continue operations in Michigan, in compliance with our legal contract requirements. The mission and beliefs of Bethany Christian Services have not changed,” said Bethany in a statement last month, as reported by WGVU.
“We are focused on demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ by serving children in need, and we intend to continue doing so in Michigan.”
St. Vincent Catholic Charities along with a former foster child and an adoptive mother filed a lawsuit against Michigan arguing that their new rules for adoption violated their First Amendment rights to free exercise of religion and free speech and their 14th Amendment rights to equal protection.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Gryboski