HHS Announces New Conscience and Religious Freedom Division

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the formation of the new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division in the HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR). The new division was created to protect doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals who refuse to take part in certain medical procedures, such as abortion services, or treat certain individuals on the grounds of moral or religious objections.

The creation of the division is a reversal of an Obama-era policy that banned health care professionals from refusing treatment to transgender individuals or people who have had or are seeking abortion services. Legal action challenging the creation of the HHS division is expected to be filed in the coming weeks and months.