Trump administration creating civil rights division to shield health workers with moral or religious objections
Washington Post-The Trump administration will create a new conscience and religious freedom division within the Health and Human Services Department to ease the way for doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to opt out of providing services that violate their moral or religious beliefs.
Details are scheduled to be announced today. But the new policy appears to be broad and aimed at protecting health-care workers who cite those reasons for refusing to take part in abortions, to treat transgender patients, or to participate in other types of care.
Conservative groups praised the move Wednesday as upholding providers’ right to religious liberty.
“We think the Trump administration should set an example in enforcing the multiple conscience laws that have been passed since the 1970s to prevent the government from punishing people who have objections to participating in abortion,” said David Christensen, vice president of government affairs at the Family Research Council.
A Philly juvenile lifer gets time served – and a chance at exoneration
Philly.com- Since 1994, Philadelphia prosecutors have worked hard to keep Johnny Berry behind bars for a crime he insists he had no part in: the robbery and murder of 72-year-old Leonard Jones in the city’s Parkside neighborhood.
First, they gave a deal to his codefendant to testify against him in exchange for a lesser sentence and a promise not to prosecute on a string of robberies he had committed. And more than a decade later, after the codefendant, Tauheed Lloyd, signed an affidavit admitting he’d lied, they warned Lloyd if he testified to that in court, he’d face not only perjury charges, but also a possible new trial on the original murder charge.
Now, for the first time, the office is giving Berry another look. Common Pleas Court Judge Barbara McDermott said Wednesday that the District Attorney’s Office and Berry’s lawyer have negotiated a new sentence of 23 years to life that will make Berry immediately eligible for parole. As for Berry’s claim of innocence, she said, “He can continue to fight it on the street instead of in prison.”
Philadelphia sues opioid drugmakers over role in ‘public health nightmare’
Philly.com- In an effort to help stop a “public health nightmare,” the City of Philadelphia on Wednesday sued several regional pharmaceutical companies, claiming that their marketing methods have been so misleading, they have fueled the city’s opioid crisis.
Numerous state and county governments have filed such suits recently, but Philadelphia has the highest overdose rate per capita of any big U.S. city, officials noted.
The 160-page suit, filed in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, both attacks marketing practices and seeks to recover the costs of treatment and other expenses incurred by the city connected with the epidemic.
“We need them to stop claiming these drugs are necessary for long-term chronic illness,” City Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante said of the pharmaceutical makers. “They clearly are not.”
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