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Black women denounce new HHS “office of discrimination,” under disguise of conscience protections

For Immediate Release
January 18, 2018
Contact: Alexa Mauzy-Lewis, Camino PR / 212-255-2575

Statement from In Our Own Voice
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Trump-Pence administration provided cover for those who would discriminate against women and transgender people seeking critical health care service. Marcela Howell, founder and executive director of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Agenda, issued the following statement in response:

“The Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights is playing politics with people’s health under the Trump-Pence Administration. This new office of “Conscience and Religious Freedom” will allow health care providers the right to ignore their medical oath and discriminate against women and LGBTQ people.

“Director Severino of the Office of Civil Rights under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is targeting women and trans people to deny them access to health care. He is using an office established to protect the civil rights of all people to violate our basic human rights.

“Black women – including Black trans women – already face barriers to health care due to systemic racism and sexism. With the Trump administration’s latest attack on reproductive health, Black women’s health and rights will be at even greater risk. This latest offensive in Trump’s war on civil and human rights puts lives at risk.

‘This action is not a surprise coming from an administration that is doing all it can to eliminate basic civil and human rights protections for people living in America, but we must resist these attempts.”

In Our Own Voice calls on members of Congress to take action to preserve access to health care for all people.


In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda is a national reproductive justice organization focused on lifting up the voices of Black women at the national and regional levels in our ongoing policy fight to secure reproductive justice for all women and girls.

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