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“Conscience and Religious Freedom Division” of HHS Threatens the Health of LGBT People, says Catholic Advocacy Organization

Boston, January 18, 2018. DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics committed to justice, equality and full inclusion of LGBTQI people in the Church and society, vehemently objected to the Trump Administration’s creation of a “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division” within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today. The office was established to support health care workers who refuse to treat certain kinds of people or perform certain procedures they believe violate their religious or moral beliefs.

“This action puts the lives and health of LGBTQI people at risk,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA’s Executive Director. “It means some Americans will now face additional barriers in accessing health care because of who they are or whom they love. That is wrong, and the consequences could literally be deadly.”

Duddy-Burke continued, “Once again, we are seeing discrimination being justified under the mantle of ‘religious freedom.’ This is a perversion of the true meaning of religious freedom, a fundamental national principle that seeks to ensure that no belief is privileged over any other. The Trump Administration is privileging the beliefs of radical religious conservatives over the very lives of women, LGBTQI people, and others whom some health care providers may see as morally objectionable.  We believe that all people should have the same access to respectful, appropriate medical care.”

Duddy-Burke said that DignityUSA strongly objects to the goals of the new office, and will take every action within its power to protect the lives and health of LGBTQI people.