Networks Skip HHS Creating New Conscience and Religious Freedom Division

The Trump administration took a large step in defending religious freedom on Thursday when the Department of Health and Human Services unveiled its new Conscience and Religion Freedom Division. The new division, which was a part of its civil rights office, was tasked with ensuring “doctors, nurses and other health providers [the right] to opt-out of services that violate their moral or religious beliefs.” In spite of the good news, the three major network news outlets (ABC, CBS, NBC) and both Spanish-language networks (Univision and Telemundo) ignored the story during their evening broadcasts.

The HHS announcement came on the eve of the massive annual March for Life in Washington D.C., which was also predictably ignored by the networks. And instead of reporting the new HHS division, CBS Evening News actually ran a report on Prince William’s new haircut.

Where the networks failed, Fox News Channel’s Special Report didn’t. “The Trump administration must make it easier for medical professionals to avoid providing services that conflict with their moral or religious beliefs. As you can imagine, pro-choice forces are furious,” announced anchor Bret Baier as he introduced the report by correspondent Doug McKelway.

“The announcement comes as a backlash of several Obama-era regulations including the ObamaCare requirement that non-church employers had to provide contraceptive coverage or face fines,” McKelway reported. “An absurd demand, critics said, for organizations like the Little Sisters of the Poor. Though the Supreme Court ultimately overturned the contraceptive mandate, there were countless other alleged civil rights abuses.”

 

 

McKelway highlighted the account of midwife Sara Hellwege who wasn’t allowed to be hired for a position at a medical center because of her pro-life views. “I was then told that because of these convictions I would not be allowed to interview and proceed with the hiring process,” she told the crowd at the announcement.

Also at the announcement, HHS Office of Civil Rights Director Roger Severino talked about the importance and the need for the new division: “We see that health care is the next area with issues of conscience and the issues of life-and-death.”

“The new division of HHS will make it easier for doctors, nurses and other health providers to opt-out of services that violate their moral or religious beliefs. And it will ensure hospitals, clinics, and other centers accommodate religious beliefs,” McKelway added.

And to have his report be balanced, McKelway included an interview with Mara Keisling from the National Center for Transgender Equality who claimed:

What we all know is that they have set up a new agency to discriminate against LGBT people and women. This is about pediatricians refusing to treat children because they have gay parents. This is about transgender people being turned away from emergency rooms and doctor’s offices.

McKelway also noted the response from the radical National Abortion Rights Action League, who ridiculously claimed: “Science, ethics, and concern for the well-being of all Americans are non-existent.”

Transcript below:

 

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Fox News Channel
Special Report
January 18, 2018
6:09:33 PM Eastern [2 minutes 44 seconds]

BRET BAIER: The Trump administration must make it easier for medical professionals to avoid providing services that conflict with their moral or religious beliefs. As you can imagine, pro-choice forces are furious. Correspondent Doug McKelway has the story.

[Cuts to video]

DONALD TRUMP: We will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied, or silenced anymore.

DOUG MCKELWAY: More than eight months since President Trump signed an executive order instructing agencies to expand religious liberty under federal law, his administration today delivered some results. The Department of Health and Human Services announced the creation of the Conscience and Religion Freedom Division within its office of civil rights.

ROGER SEVERINO: We see that health care is the next area with issues of conscience and the issues of life-and-death.

MCKELWAY: The announcement comes as a backlash of several Obama era regulations including the ObamaCare requirement that non-church employers had to provide contraceptive coverage or face fines. An absurd demand, critics said, for organizations like the Little Sisters of the Poor. Though the Supreme Court ultimately overturned the contraceptive mandate, there were countless other alleged civil rights abuses. As with this midwife contends she was rejected for a job at a health care center because of our pro-life views.

SARA HELLWEGE: I was then told that because of these convictions I would not be allowed to interview and proceed with the hiring process.

MCKELWAY: The new division of HHS will make it easier for doctors, nurses and other health providers to opt-out of services that violate their moral or religious beliefs. And it will ensure hospitals, clinics, and other centers accommodate religious beliefs. That may be problematic in such a polarized country where one citizen's civil right is often seen as another's injustice.

MARA KEISLING: What we all know is that they have set up a new agency to discriminate against LGBT people and women. This is about pediatricians refusing to treat children because they have gay parents. This is about transgender people being turned away from emergency rooms and doctor’s offices.

MCKELWAY: Mirroring that view, the National Abortion Rights Action League, which today called the new HHS a place, quote, “science, ethics, and concern for the well-being of all Americans are non-existent.” But the decision may only energize Trump’s base, especially evangelicals. 63 percent of them approve of the job he's doing, down three percent from October.

[Cuts back to live]

MCKELWAY: The timing of today's announcement is not a coincidence coming on the eve of the annual March for Life. President Trump will speak to the crowd via satellite link. Speaker Ryan will address the markers in person.


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