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First, Joe Biden’s administration dropped a lawsuit defending a Vermont nurse who said she was tricked into helping abort an unborn baby in violation of her rights.
Now, it appears the administration wants to limit the powers of a federal office tasked with enforcing religious freedom in other cases like the pro-life nurse’s.
Newsmax reports an internal memo from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services calls for limiting the powers of the HHS Office of Civil Rights.
The memo, which was first reported about at Fox News this week, claims the Trump administration over-expanded the office’s power to enforce religious freedom laws, such as conscience protections for pro-life medical workers.
Office director Lisa Pino wrote the memo to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, a radical pro-abortion Democrat who has fought against religious freedom for nuns and others, according to the report.
Roger Severino, who led the Office of Civil Rights under the Trump administration, expressed concerns about the memo in a statement to Fox News.
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Under the Trump administration, “HHS centralized authority over religious freedom claims because the laws weren’t being enforced and because that’s how we enforce every other civil right,” Severino said. “Without dedicated staff responsible for investigating religious freedom complaints, HHS will return to trampling people’s rights as before — just ask the Little Sisters of the Poor.”
He also pointed out Becerra’s dismal record on religious freedom matters, saying the HHS secretary “was twice found to have violated conscience protection laws.”Here’s more from Newsmax: The memo targets two actions related to the First Amendment from earlier this year, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prohibits federal infringements on the free exercise of religion, Fox News said. Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in 2017 provided executive agencies with guidelines on RFRA, free exercise claims, contraception in insurance plans, and other issues as the Trump administration attempted to strengthen religious liberty protections. HHS then granted OCR the authority to conduct RFRA compliance reviews and “initiate such other actions as may be necessary […]
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