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Washington, DC— Yesterday, the Trump administration issued a final regulation under the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Civil Rights regarding interpretation and enforcement of the federal conscience protections. Jon O’Brien, President of Catholics for Choice, issued the following statement in response:
“With this rule, the Trump administration tips the scales of justice in favor of those who wish to impose their religious beliefs on others rather than truly protect conscience rights. Time and again, this administration has bent over backwards to accommodate an influential minority that wants the right to refuse care and access to services based on one narrow set of beliefs.
Catholics for Choice represents the vast majority of Catholics in the United States in rejecting those who distort the true meaning of religious freedom as a cynical pretext to impose their beliefs on others. As Catholics, we revere individual conscience and therefore support policies that respect one’s choice without violating another’s conscience—whether doctor or patient.
As we wrote in our public comment when this rule was proposed, ‘The personal beliefs of any provider should never impede the care the patient is able to receive or the services the beneficiary may access. This view is shared by the seven in 10 Catholics in the United States who believe that companies and other institutions should not be allowed to use religious beliefs as a reason to deny services to employees, customers or patients.’
This rule helps only those interested in ending access to abortion, contraception and other services to which they object. When this administration chooses to protect its powerful political allies—namely the Catholic bishops and other religious ultraconservatives—it is the most vulnerable in our communities who suffer first and worst: women and men of low-income, rural residents and people of color. It is these neighbors who lose when further obstacles and impositions block their access to critical healthcare services at the whim of an administration seeking to protect its political interests.”
###Catholics for Choice shapes and advances sexual and reproductive ethics that are based on justice, reflect a commitment to a person’s well-being and respect and affirm the capacity of all people to make moral decisions about their lives.