Biden’s Health and Human Services Department (HHS) is considering revoking authority provided to the former Trump administration delegated for the Office of Civil Rights (OCR).
This action by Trump helped prevent violations of religious liberty.
For example, the HHS is accused of trampling the rights of religious organizations like the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Groups like Little Sisters of the Poor were forced to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives against their religious convictions.
As the Biden admin revokes OCR’s authority to enforce RFRA within HHS, this is believed to be another step in dismantling safeguards within the federal government for people of faith.
HHS’ internal memo is expected to be rolled out this week, Fox News reports.
Biden is also looking to repeal Trump-era moves on gender and sexuality.
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HHS’ recent memo indicates that the new rule would also help reverse Trump-era protections related to gender and sexuality.
Under “Noteworthy Elements about Equity,” the memo reads: “While nothing in RFRA legally restricts an agency to work proactively to address a complainant’s (or ‘would be’ complainant’s) religious needs or rights, there is a serious concern that such an approach broadens the effect of RFRA in a way that may not be legally required and while causing significant detriment to civil rights and public health protections.”
It argues that “the prior Administration took an expansive view of the use of RFRA that resulted in negative impacts for underserved communities.”
The draft specifically calls out “broad-based exemptions from nondiscrimination requirements to child welfare agencies challenges the ability of children and youth to obtain safe and loving foster and adoptive homes.”
“It also clearly sent the signal to LGBTQ+ communities that the Department did not recognize their civil rights, including the right to marry,” the draft reads.
“While the Department will need to continue to comply with RFRA, removing this delegation demonstrates our belief that RFRA is meant to be a shield to protect the freedom of religion, not a sword to impose religious beliefs on others without regard for third party harms, including civil rights.”