Conscience and Religious Freedom Division

As a healthcare professional, you are a critical stakeholder in the healthcare system. Policy advocacy by healthcare professionals is often encouraged since they are the individuals who interact with the consumers (patients) the most. Your knowledge and perspective are vital to policymakers, as a voice for healthcare consumers and for providing validation and/or opposition to laws and policy.

In 2018, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services announced the “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division” of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The office’s stated goal is to “protect institutions and people who refuse to provide medical assistance based on religious objections.” As noted by HHS (2018), the office is intended to protect religious beliefs of care providers. As with most policies, there are opponents and proponents. In general, supporters advocate that the office will protect against religious discrimination while opponents believe the bill will allow for open discrimination against women and LGBTQ patients and consumers.

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Information about the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division can be found at the following source: https://www.hhs.gov/conscience/index.html

Review the background readings and conduct additional research on Conscience and Religious Freedom. For your Module 1 SLP assignment, you are to use reasoning (from a healthcare professional perspective) and ethical principles to compose a 2-page letter to your local Congressman/Congresswoman either in support of or opposition to the Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom. This should not be opinion (e.g., avoid “I think” in your paper), but a supported analysis. You must cite your sources. Your letter should address the following:

The potential impact of the new Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom to the patient population that you as a healthcare professional serve.
Rationale for your support/opposition. Be sure to discuss relevant ethical principles and support your rationale with reliable and scholarly resources.
Suggestions or recommendations, including how the rights of the provider can be balanced with the rights of the patient.
Please use these three questions to create headings to organize your letter.

Note: You are not graded on your support or opposition, but rather your critical-thinking skills in supporting your position, and application of ethical principles. Be sure to cite at least two peer-reviewed articles in your discussion, as well as any other reliable sources. Again, be sure to review the background readings.

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