President Donald Trump has pledged to defend and protect doctors and medical professionals who decline to take part in medical procedures that they feel violate their religious conscience.
And now the health care system’s estimated cost to set up that endeavor has been revealed: $300 million, a figure that is based on a government estimate. Meanwhile, U.S. government, alone, will pay an estimated $900,000 per year to keep it running.
As Faithwire previously reported, the Trump administration’s creation of the Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom, a new agency under the Department of Health and Human Services, is aimed at protecting doctors and medical professionals who decline to take part in medical procedures that they feel violate their religious conscience.
Since its announcement, there has been worry and consternation in some circles over whether these protections will lead to discrimination against those in the LGBTQ community, as The Associated Press reported.
The Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom will focus on helping doctors and medical staff who refuse to take part in doctor-assisted suicide, abortion or other such procedures that they personally object to. Some critics, though, believe it simply isn’t necessary and is akin to looking for a problem that doesn’t exist.
“This is looking for a problem,” Susan Berke Fogel, an attorney who works with the National Health Law Program, a nonprofit, told the AP.
The Trump administration, though, is defending its decision to launch the effort, with Roger Severino, director of HHS’s civil rights office, arguing that it meets a felt need.
“For too long, conscience and religious freedom were treated as second-class rights,” Severino said. “They’re getting the proper focus they deserve.”
Read more about the ongoing debate over the agency as well as claims that it will spark discrimination here.