New HHS rule puts trans health at risk

Donald Trump and First Lady Melania host National Day Of Prayer dinner at the White House

The rule also applies to sterilization, assisted suicide and advance directives.

The Trump administration on Thursday moved to protect the rights of clinicians who object to participating in abortions and other medical procedures with a regulation meant to safeguard those with religious and moral objections.

Herrera said San Francisco could lose almost $1 billion in federal funding for health care programs such as Medicaid and Medicare.

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Asserting that previous administrations have not done enough to protect conscience rights in the medical field, HHS under Trump created a new division to investigate such complaints within its Office for Civil Rights, which Severino heads.

NPR points out that until last week, the OCR's mission, according to its website, was to "improve the health and well-being of people across the nation" and make sure people have equal access to HHS services. The rule, which will be implemented by the Office of Civil Rights will bar regulators from discriminating against the religious beliefs of doctors and nurses. But the impact of the health care alterations will be more sweeping and largely unforeseen, Mary Alice Carter, the Executive Director at reproductive rights watchdog Equity Forward, told Newsweek. The summary section at the top of the document states that the new rules are meant to step up the enforcement efforts of laws already passed by Congress to "ensure vigorous enforcement of Federal conscience and anti‐discrimination laws applicable to the Department, its programs, and recipients of HHS funds". The rule will also help protect individuals who object to administering certain vaccines. "Abortion is not health care and no health care professional should ever be forced to participate in the destruction of human life". "Unfortunately, the previous administration refused to enforce them and looked the other way when violated", said Carol Tobias, the president of the National Right to Life.

Religious conservatives contend such protections are needed in the face of increasing state and federal mandates.

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Trump used the prayer service to speak out against "evil and hate-filled" attacks that have targeted religious communities around the world in recent months, from New Zealand to Sri Lanka, to Pittsburgh.

Letting personal religious beliefs get in the way of care is "outrageous, immoral, and unsafe", said Kris Hayashi, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, in a statement. "OCR received over 242,000 public comments, and analyzed and carefully considered all comments submitted from the public on the proposed conscience regulation before finalizing it". "People with the least resources will be most harmed by these rules if such a broad range of providers and other entities are allowed to deny access to comprehensive quality care based on their personal religious beliefs". It applies to skilled nursing facilities, continuing care retirement communities, residential intellectual and developmental disability facilities and other residential care facilities, such as group homes, among other types of entities, the agency said.

"With this final rule, the Department seeks to educate protected entities and covered entities as to their legal rights and obligations; to encourage individuals and organizations with religious beliefs or moral convictions to enter, or remain in, the health care industry; and to prevent others from being dissuaded from filing complaints due to prior OCR complaint resolutions or sub‐regulatory guidance that no longer reflect the views of the Department", the final rule, as presented by HHS OCR, states.

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"These new regulations go even further to put teeth back in the law after years of nonenforcement by the Obama administration", she said.

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