Friday, March 24, 2017

Betsy's Boy: Heritage Foundation Alum Critical of Transgender Rights to Lead HHS Civil Rights Office - ProPublica

Heritage Foundation Alum Critical of Transgender Rights to Lead HHS Civil Rights Office - ProPublica:

Heritage Foundation Alum Critical of Transgender Rights to Lead HHS Civil Rights Office
Roger Severino, the new head of the Office for Civil Rights within Health and Human Services, has opposed transgender patients’ rights, same-sex marriage and Planned Parenthood.


The Trump administration has quietly appointed a Heritage Foundation staffer who has railed against civil rights protections for transgender patients as director of the federal agency charged with protecting the civil rights of all patients.
Though the administration did not issue a formal announcement, Roger Severino is now listed on the website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as director of the Office for Civil Rights. His prior position was as director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation, where he focused on “religious liberty, marriage and life issues.” (The DeVos Center is named for the in-laws of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.)
The civil rights office is in charge of enforcing patient privacy protections and ensuring that patients’ civil rights are protected, that they are free from discrimination and that they have access to services such as interpreters.
Asked for comment, HHS forwarded a link to Severino’s title and biography. In a statement, Heritage spokeswoman Marguerite Bowling said, “Roger Severino has a distinguished record of fighting for the civil rights and freedoms of all Americans. We have no doubt that Roger in his new role at HHS will protect the civil rights of all Americans.”
Severino’s position does not require Senate confirmation.
Based on his prior writings, Severino will likely take the agency in a different direction than it had under the Obama administration. Last year, the agency issued rules banning discrimination against transgender patients, carrying out provisions of the Affordable Care Act. (A federal judge put those rules on hold on Dec. 31, siding with a Catholic hospital system, other religious health providers and five states that challenged them. The Trump administration has not sought to overturn the injunction.)
When those rules were proposed, Severino and a Heritage colleague wrote a scathing critique, saying they jeopardized the religious liberty and freedom of conscience of health care providers.
“By prohibiting differential treatment on the basis of ‘gender identity’ in health services, these regulations propose to penalize medical professionals and health care Heritage Foundation Alum Critical of Transgender Rights to Lead HHS Civil Rights Office - ProPublica:

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