Biden's HHS revokes certain faith-based exemptions, rolls back religious liberty enforcement

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has revoked certain faith-based exemptions for child welfare agencies as part of a broader move to roll back Trump-era protections on religious liberty.

Last week, Fox News reported on HHS’ interest in rescinding the Office of Civil Rights’ (OCR) authority to enforce the First Amendment and Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a landmark statute utilized in the former administration’s policies on sexuality and gender. An internal memo showed OCR Director Lisa Pino arguing that the delegation of authority led to improper decisions on those issues.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra answers questions at a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing to discuss reopening schools during the Covid-19 pandemic on Capitol Hill Sept. 30, 2021. (Greg Nash- Pool/Getty Images)

As of Wednesday, that revocation was noted in the Federal Register, and HHS had removed several waivers for faith-based organizations such as foster care agencies that refuse to work with same-sex couples.  HHS said in a press release that the waivers, issued to South Carolina, Texas and Michigan, were overly broad and “inappropriate.” 


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