The Nov. 9 editorial “ ‘Flatly untrue’ ” took issue with the way the Department of Health and Human Services cited a significant rise in conscience-related complaints in a recent rulemaking.

Under President Trump’s leadership, HHS has committed to enforcing the many conscience-protection laws that were left neglected or under-enforced during the Obama administration. In May, we finalized a rule for 25 statutory provisions protecting conscience in health-care covering abortion, sterilization, assisted suicide and, in some circumstances, vaccination, among other topics. We cited the sharp rise in complaints as one of many reasons for the rule, because the rule would help inform the public of their rights and provide a clearer enforcement process for handling and resolving complaints.

Many of the new complaints were submitted by people who cannot afford lawyers and turned to the Office for Civil Rights for help. The office has a duty to take these complaints seriously and go wherever the facts and the law lead. In fact, the Office for Civil Rights has already taken more enforcement actions and has issued more violation findings than ever because of one simple reason: We are finally taking our conscience laws seriously.

Roger Severino, Washington

The writer is director of the Office for Civil Rights at Health and Human Services.