Capitol Correspondence - 02.16.21

Trump-Era Request for Information on Disability Discrimination Available but No Longer Featured on HHS Website

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We flag the reporting below by Politico Pro for our members seeking to participate in or monitor a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) request for information on disability discrimination issued at the end of the December.

“The HHS Office for Civil Rights has scrubbed its website of several references to Trump-era initiatives emphasizing religious liberty and the previous administration’s opposition to abortion rights, a POLITICO review has found. […]

Several items from an archived Jan. 22 version of OCR’s website no longer appear on its homepage. The removed sections include a video forum with former OCR head Roger Severino on protecting religious liberty during the pandemic, sections related to a proposed rule on care for infants born alive after an attempted abortion and a solicitation for information on discrimination against people with disabilities that the Trump administration issued during its final week.

An aggressive Trump-era OCR: The removals largely target some of the Trump administration’s most controversial health initiatives, including prioritizing religious liberty — often, critics charged, at the cost of reproductive rights or anti-discrimination policy protecting LGBTQ patients. […]

What it means: It’s typical for new administrations to remake agency websites to match their priorities. The Trump administration, for instance, scrubbed HHS websites of positive mentions of the Affordable Care Act.

Severino in a statement said he was “most troubled” by the removal of information on disability rights, which he said the office had issued in partnership with advocates. The request for information is still available online but no longer featured on OCR’s website.

HHS did not provide comment after multiple requests.


The Biden administration has not yet named a permanent head of OCR.”