The Department of Health and Human Services’ top civil rights official criticized the former Obama administration on Tuesday for the way it treated Christian organizations who objected to Obamacare’s contraception mandate.
Roger Severino, the director of the HHS Office of Civil Rights, spoke “among friends” at a lunch event Tuesday hosted by the social conservative-libertarian think tank American Principles Project Foundation in which he declared that the APP mission statement calling for “public policy with human dignity at its heart” should be the mission statement of his department.
“HHS, after all, is dedicated to the health and well-being of every American,” Severino explained. “We are everywhere. We are the largest federal agency. If we were to separate our budget as a country, we would be among the top-10 biggest countries in the world.”
“With such incredible power, we can do a lot of good to respect human dignity,” he added. “You may note that in our recent mission statement for HHS’ strategic plan, we said that all Americans from conception until natural death deserver our protections. That was a change.”
Severino, who previously served as the director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at conservative think tank Heritage Foundation and is at the forefront of Trump’s attempt to promote religious freedom at HHS, warned that there are times that big federal agencies “forget those foundational principles.”
“The most striking example is with the Little Sisters of the Poor,” Severino said, referring to the legal battle the order of Catholic nuns had against the U.S. government beginning under Obama administration as it faced crippling fines for refusing to abide by an Obamacare birth control mandate.
The Little Sisters of the Poor was among many religious organizations, colleges, associations and institutions that sued the HHS over the mandate that they provide health care coverage of contraception to employees.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith