Joe Biden is ramping up his attack on religious rights – including those protected by the First Amendment – with a new plan to cancel any "conscience" protections for any health-care workers at any time – which would force unwilling physicians to perform abortions and mutilating transgender surgeries on children – on demand.
It is Politico that reported Biden is preparing to destroy a Trump-era rule allowing medical workers to decline to violate their faith by doing those surgeries.
"A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed that the policy change is underway, saying: 'HHS has made clear through the unified regulatory agenda that we are in the rulemaking process,'" Politico reported.
A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood, which has gained millions of dollars in income through changes Biden already has proposed or made in his pro-abortion agenda, said it's not right that "state politicians" are stripping "people of their sexual and reproductive rights and freedoms."
Jacqueline Ayers claimed doctor's religious rights to decline to perform operations which violate their consciences is amounts to a "discriminatory" practice.
The rule was proposed during the Trump administration and finalized in 2019 but later was blocked by federal courts without being implemented.
The concept wasn't complicated: It recognized the constitutional protections for religious rights – even of physicians – and would have allowed them to decline to perform unborn baby-killing or body mutilation procedures that violated their faith.
Politico explained killing the rule "is seen by progressive advocates as a key part of dismantling the Trump administration’s legacy on reproductive rights, which Democrats promised to do once they took control of Washington."
Biden already has been busy promoting abortion through the nation's Title X family planning program and foreign aid.
The rule now is under review at the Office of Management and Budget.
The Washington Examiner reported the American Civil Liberties Union was fully supportive of requirements that would violate individuals' religious rights.
"Everyone is entitled to their religious beliefs, but religious beliefs do not include a license to discriminate, to deny essential care, or to cause harm to others," the organization claimed when the original judge halted Trump's regulation.
The rule, however, may not be the final word on the dispute, which is part of the larger fight that was created when the Supreme Court several years ago created, in a ruling that Chief Justice John Roberts said was unrelated to the Constitution, the status of same-sex marriage.
Since then LGBT promoters have been pursuing a campaign to punish anyone who, because of their faith, does not support advocacy for the alternative sexual lifestyle choices.
Included have been attacks on bakers who declined to promote homosexuality with their artistry – a case that was resolved in favor of Denver baker Jack Phillips at the Supreme Court. But that decision was made on the narrow grounds of Colorado's official state "hostility" to Christianity, and not the more comprehensive religious rights issue.
Recently, however, the Supreme Court agreed to hear another Colorado case, this one involving Lorie Smith and her 303 Creative firm which is under assault again by Colorado because she declines to violate her faith by promoting same-sex weddings.
The question in the case accepted by the Supreme Court is whether a state can, through its so-called "non-discrimination" laws, order a person to violate his or her Christian faith.
The result is expected to clarify exactly what authority a government has to impose demands that are in contradiction to an individual's religious beliefs.
The substance of the dispute is that LGBT promoters believe the court's creation of same-sex marriages overrides all constitutional protections for religion and religious faith.
The 3030 Creative case is typical of the fights. The state of Colorado demands she "design and publish websites promoting messages that violate her religious beliefs."
And she's even banned from explaining her faith-based objections, because to do so would involve "discriminating" against people who are participating in events and campaigns that the Bible teaches are sinful.
"The government shouldn’t weaponize the law to force a web designer to speak messages that violate her beliefs. This case involves quintessential free speech and artistic freedom, which the 10th Circuit dangerously cast aside," said Kristen Waggoner, an ADF lawyer working on the case..
"Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips has been harassed for years, and now Lorie Smith is being told that she must speak views she opposes and can’t post about her beliefs on her own business website. The 10th Circuit’s reasoning turns free-speech protections on their head by saying that the more ‘unique’ speech is, the more the government can compel it. That kind of dangerous, unconstitutional reasoning is why we have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to take Lorie’s case."
Colorado, in the last 10 or 15 years or so, has turned into a haven for leftist extremism. Its extreme antagonism to issues of faith was exemplified in the Phillips case, in which the U.S. Supreme Court scolded Colorado for its "hostility" to Christianity.
Key to that case was evidence that while the state demanded punishment for Phillips, who declined to violate his faith by promoting in his baked goods artistry a message of homosexuality that violated his faith, the state took the opposite stance when a Christian message was involved.
The state insisted on punishing – and even indoctrinating – Phillips and his employees, but when evidence in that case revealed that homosexual and LGBT-supporting bakers refused to create cakes with Christian messages, the state defended and protected them.
The issue is the regulation of speech, and the U.S. Supreme Court already has ruled that pro-life centers in California cannot be forced to promote a message that includes a pro-abortion slant.
It was the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, located in the leftist city of Denver, that ruled against the Christian website, demanding that the state's "Anti-Discrimination Act" can force the creator to create websites even when their message violates her faith.
According to the ADF, "In a lengthy dissent, 10th Circuit Chief Judge Timothy Tymkovich disagreed: '[T]he majority uses the very quality that gives the art value—its expressive and singular nature—to cheapen it. In essence, the majority holds that the more unique a product, the more aggressively the government may regulate access to it—and thus the less First Amendment protection it has.'"
He pointed out that state's actions, and the 10th Circuit's ruling, "subvert our core understandings of the First Amendment."
In both Minnesota and Arizona, courts have ruled exactly the opposite in similar cases.
The charges are that the state law violates the First Amendment's Free Speech and Free Exercise clauses.
Under his direction, the Health and Human Services Department and Department of Justice voluntarily dropped a conscience rights case against a Vermont hospital that forced a nurse to participate in an abortion even though she had opted out of those procedures, and there was no real reason for her to be ordered to do it.
The American Center for Law and Justice, which had been fighting on behalf of a Christian nurse, Rachel, in the years-long case, posted online a challenge to the Biden administration decision for being contrary to law and precedent both.
The "court decisions" that were cited in the reversal were described as having "no precedential value whatsoever," by the ACLJ, which said, "It takes a fair dose of chutzpah for [the Office of Civil Rights] to suggest that 'the legal issues surrounding the standard applied in the [Notice of Violation] are serious enough to warrant a withdrawal of the NOV,' where the government itself has (1) sought and obtained a stay of the appeals involving those very issues, and (2) voluntarily dismissed the only case ever brought by the government against an entity for violating the Church Amendments where those issues could have been resolved."
The ACLJ explained that the federal agency, "having pulled the rug out from under itself, then comes to us and says, 'Sorry, somebody pulled the rug out from under us, so we have to dismiss your case!' We aren't fooled by this thinly veiled sleight of hand, and we're calling them out for it."
The issue earlier was elevated to the level of the U.S. Senate, where senators accused Human Services chief Xavier Becerra of violating federal laws by dropping a Department of Justice lawsuit against a hospital that forced the Christian nurse to help with an abortion – even though she was supposed to be exempt from that duty.
The Daily Caller News Foundation obtained a copy of the letter and posted it online.
The letter pointed out the hospital, the University of Vermont Medical Center, faced claims it "knowingly, willfully, and repeatedly" violated federal conscience-protection laws.
The nurse cited in the lawsuit, and others, were protected by the Church Amendments, which were passed unanimously by Congress and have been part of federal protections since 1973, the letter said.
They prohibit HHS grant recipients from discriminating against healthcare personnel who "refused to perform or assist in … an abortion."
The government "rightfully" sued the hospital in 2020 but then under Biden's leadership, the DOJ dismissed the lawsuit.
"You withdraw this lawsuit knowing that there are no additional legal remedies for victims of discrimination in this case," the Republican senators wrote.
"Your handling of this case is a profound miscarriage of justice and a rejection of your commitment to enforce federal conscience laws for Americans of all religious beliefs and creeds – and especially for doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who object to abortion. Your actions signal to employers all around the country that they don't need to comply with the law because your agencies will not enforce it," they wrote.
The ACLJ reported, at the time, "The Biden administration is so beholden to its extreme 'abortion-is-awesome!' wing that they can’t even bring themselves to recognize that conscience rights exist when it comes to abortion."
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