For the first time in decades an official from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services spoke at the National Right to Life convention. Roger Severino, director of the Office for Civil Rights said at Thursday's convention that his organization is "just getting started."
“Our president is fearless when it comes to life and conscience,” Severino said. “We’re just getting started."
Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, told the Wichita Eagle News that his speech was significant.
“The leadership at HHS is very committed to protecting unborn children,” Tobias said. “Their willingness to send a representative to talk about conscience protection and to reassure pro-life people that they’re going to work to protect the babies, it was just a nice, very uplifting, very encouraging good message from the administration.”
Severino comments come on the heels of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announcing his retirement. President Donald Trump will now have to appoint a new justice. This has created a backlash and concern from abortion opponents who fear that Roe Vs. Wade, a Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy could be reversed.
Julie Burkhart, founder and CEO of Trust Women, called Severino's strong stance disappointing.
“I can tell you it’s disappointing that you would have a government official going to address an anti-choice gathering like this,” Burkhart said. “It’s rather chilling to hear a government official say ‘We’re just getting started’ when the actions and stated coming actions and projects from the White House are the ones of repressing people in this country when it comes to their civil rights.”