CHICAGO - The United States Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that its Office for Civil Rights will open a division devoted to protecting rights of conscience and religious freedom.
Chicago's Thomas More Society attorneys are now assisting pro-life health workers and pregnancy help centers to take advantage of this new opportunity. This process of filing rights of conscience and religious freedom complaints will safeguard federal protections on behalf of those who believe they have been discriminated against. The national public interest law firm is offering this service pro-bono.
“We applaud this HHS decision,” said Thomas Olp, Vice President and Senior Counsel for the Thomas More Society, after it was announced by HHS Acting Secretary Eric Hargan and Roger Severino, director of the department’s Office for Civil Rights.
Doctors, counselors and other health workers can easily receive pro bono help from the Thomas More Society by:
- Deciding if they have been discriminated against on the job because of pro-life or religious convictions. This could include having been fired, not promoted, or harassed because of refusal to refer for an abortion, prescribe abortifacients, or perform procedures, because of deeply held religious beliefs.
- Documenting the facts of specific incidences of discrimination and any scenarios that support claims of discrimination. Write down names, dates, places and exactly what happened.
- Taking action. If the matter is urgent, call the Thomas More Society at 312.782.1680. For less time sensitive situations, firstname.lastname@example.org or submit information at https://www.thomasmoresociety.org/legal-help/.
“We realize that pro-life pregnancy centers and doctors are focused on patient care, not paperwork, and that is why we are offering this opportunity to advocate on their behalf,” explained Olp.
As attorneys with the Thomas More Society defend pro-life doctors, nurses and pregnancy centers from a wave of state laws aimed at forcing them to make abortion referrals, the Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights’ new dedicated division will aid the process of filing right of conscience and religious liberty discrimination complaints.
“There are federal laws that protect the conscience rights of physicians and other healthcare providers, and pro-life speech is protected by the First Amendment,” added Olp. “Any individual or organization can file a federal civil rights discrimination complaint in this matter. Now there is a dedicated federal division to address these cases. We invite any pregnancy help center or pro-life medical professional who believes that their right of conscience has been violated to reach out to us for help navigating the process.”