Image: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / Getty Images

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the formation of a Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, which will serve to protect health professionals who choose not to provide medical care to patients for religious or moral reasons.

Why it matters: The new office, established one day before the annual March for Life in Washington, will investigate complaints against health workers who object to abortions, sex-change operations, fertility treatments for same-sex couples or other medical services at odds with their beliefs.

Critics say the Trump administration is giving medical professionals a "license to discriminate," reports the NY Times, opening the doors to women and LGBT individuals potentially being denied life-saving emergency care.

Supporters, meanwhile, claim that Trump is enforcing the "religious liberty" executive order he signed last year, which stated his administration "will not allow people of faith to be targeted, bullied or silenced anymore."

Go deeper

Supreme Court rejects GOP push to cut absentee ballot deadline in N.C.

Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an attempt by conservatives to shorten North Carolina's deadline for mail-in ballots from nine to three days.

The big picture: This is the latest of a series of decisions over mail-in ballot deadlines in various states.

Hurricane Zeta makes landfall on Louisiana coast as Category 2 storm

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta made landfall along the southeastern coast of Louisiana as a Category 2 storm on Wednesday, bringing with it "life-threatening storm surge and strong winds," per the National Hurricane Center.

What's happening: The hurricane was producing maximum sustained winds of nearly 110 mph and stronger gusts.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Biden ahead in Wisconsin, Michigan as cases surge in the Midwest.
  2. Health: Surge "is real" and not just caused by more tests, Trump's testing czar saysMask mandates help control rise in hospitalizations Some coronavirus survivors have "autoantibodies."
  3. Business: Surge is sinking consumer confidence Testing is a windfall.
  4. World: Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" coronavirus wave France imposes lockdown as Macron warns of overwhelming second COVID wave Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  5. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed as COVID-19 surges MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.

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