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Washington, DC—Today the Trump administration is opening a “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division” within the HHS Office of Civil Rights to support healthcare providers with moral objections to abortion care and care for LGBT individuals. Sara Hutchinson Ratcliffe, Vice President of Catholics for Choice, issued the following statement in response:
“As a Catholic who supports women’s right to choose, I am disappointed that this action puts women last again. This decision— not so coincidentally timed around the March for Life— is a cheap attempt by President Trump to pander to ultraconservative special interests that got him into power. Time and time again, we have seen this administration radically redefine religious freedom to impose one set of ultraconservative beliefs on all Americans.
As Catholics we believe everyone has a God-given right to follow their conscience when making decisions about when and whether to have children. Granting conscience protection to institutions perverts conscience. Institutions cannot have a conscience— allowing them to object to providing care leaves women and other marginalized groups holding the short-end of the stick. We must balance the consciences of providers with the consciences of patients and their right to compassionate care, especially those patients with fewer resources and care options.
This action has nothing to do with religious freedom and everything to do with providing a political win to those in town for the March for Life and the ultraconservative right that elected President Trump. This continues the Trump administration’s redefinition of religious freedom. We stand for true religious freedom, which guarantees freedom of religion and freedom from religion for all, no matter their beliefs.”Catholics for Choice shapes and advances sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to women's well-being and respect and affirm the capacity of women and men to make moral decisions about their lives.