Sending Office: Hayes, Jahana
National Women’s Law Center, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Center for Reproductive Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, Human Rights Campaign, Center for American Progress, ACLU, Americans United For Separation of Church and State, True Colors CT,
AIDS CT, PFLAG, Catholics for Choice, National Council of Jewish Women, Muslims for Progressive Values, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, Jewish Women International, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, Reconstructing Judaism, Reconstructionist Rabbinical
I write to ask for your support for the Eliminating the HHS Discrimination Division Act of 2020, which would abolish the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division under the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services.
All patients deserve access to vital health care. The affiliation of their provider should have no impact on their ability to obtain essential medical services.
I wear a cross around my neck every day as an acknowledgment of my faith. That does not mean that I do not believe in every person’s right to comprehensive health care, and it does not mean that I should be allowed to discriminate against others who do not
abide by my faith-based values. The Department of Health and Human Services should be no different. The Conscience and Religious Freedom Division is a clear effort by the Trump Administration to steer the Office of Civil Rights away from its intended purpose:
to protect patients. Even worse, they are using the guise of religious objection to do it.
By the Department’s own reports, there is no clear need for this Division. HHS reported
only 2% of complaints to OCR involved conscience or religious freedom issues relevant to the CRFD. In their Fiscal Year 2020 budget justification to Congress, the Department said that only 6% of these cases were closed,
and 5% didn’t require formal investigation. In the same budget justification, the Department reported a 48% increase in civil rights cases and an 18% increase in health information privacy cases.
Despite these increases in caseload, the Department requested just a $57,000 increase for the Civil Rights Division, a $2.5 million cut to the Health Information Privacy Division, and a $7.1 million cut to the OCR Operations and Resource Division.
Yet, they requested an increase of over $1 million for the CRFD to provide salaries for six
additional full-time employees.
The Department’s lawyers recently admitted in court that there were actually only
20 relevant complaints – about 10 a year – and that only
3 or 4 were worth investigating.
This Administration can not continue to divert taxpayer dollars from patients who need it most. The Conscience and Religious Freedom Division must be abolished.
I urge you to support this critical piece of legislation. To co-sponsor this bill, please contact Megan Handau at
Member of Congress
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0