White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki refused to say on Tuesday if President Joe Biden would keep an office within the Department of Health and Human Services dedicated to religious freedom.
The Conscience and Religious Freedom Division was established by the Office of Civil Rights in 2018 under ex-President Donald Trump.
Before the office was launched, there has never been a federal office for civil rights that established a different division geared towards “ensuring compliance with and enforcement of laws that protect conscience and free exercise of religion in healthcare and human services,” states a Jan. 24, 2020 statement from the Department of Health and Human Services.
Owen Jensen, a journalist for Eternal World Television Network questioned Psaki regarding the implications of the Equality Act and if the office would remain intact to receive conscientious oppositions to the legislation.
“Pro-life groups right now are very concerned about the phrase ‘pregnancy discrimination,’ in the Equality Act,” which “would force doctors to perform abortions even if it violates their conscience,” Jensen stated.
“There are also concerns that the bill would force doctors to perform gender transition surgeries and sterilizations again even if it violates their conscience, what does president Biden say about those concerns?”
Psaki reminded Jensen that President Biden has “long been a supporter of Roe v Wade.”
Psaki won’t say whether Biden will keep the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division at HHS. The Trump administration created the office in 2018. pic.twitter.com/vrq8meJ6sV
— Mary Margaret Olohan (@MaryMargOlohan) March 2, 2021
Jensen continued with a follow-up question for Psaki on whether or not Biden will keep the division to “receive conscience complaints from these doctors.”
Psaki refused to address this question, saying, “You will have to talk to the future secretary Becerra once he is confirmed.”