WASHINGTON—The Heritage Foundation last night submitted two formal comments on a proposed rule from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights that would eliminate vital conscience and religious freedom protections in health care.
Roger Severino, vice president of domestic policy at Heritage and former director of HHS Office for Civil Rights, made the following statement on Heritage’s submission of comments and opposition to the proposed rule:
“The Biden administration’s massive resistance to the Dobbs decision continues with this latest attack on people of faith who cannot in good conscience assist or pay for other people’s abortions. No doctor or nurse should be forced to choose between helping needy patients and their convictions against violating the integrity of the human person. Yet, this proposed rule would eviscerate regulatory safeguards that gave victims of conscience and religious freedom violations the same enforcement tools as every other civil right.
“This rule, coupled with the elimination of OCR’s Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, completes the Biden Administration’s wholesale abandonment of religious liberty enforcement. Despite having received a record 3,500 conscience complaints in 2022, HHS has announced no new enforcement actions and instead withdrew existing violation findings against Xavier Becerra, who conveniently runs HHS.
“For people wondering what President Biden’s and Secretary Becerra’s ‘equity’ agenda means, the answer is that people of faith and conviction will be illegally coerced and hounded out of their jobs by woke activists. They shouldn’t expect any help from the agency responsible for vindicating their rights.”