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David Hyams

Senior Enforcement Advisor, Office For Civil Rights

Prior to joining the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), David Hyams practiced law in Denver, representing religious organizations, businesses and creditors in bankruptcy proceedings. Hyams launched his own firm, SDG Law, in 2015, where he built a practice representing religious institutions and filing amicus briefs with the Colorado Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ rights groups. He also led a Law Vocation Group at the Denver Institute for Faith & Work.

HOW THEIR ROLE AFFECTS ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is charged with enforcing anti-discrimination laws, health privacy laws, and conscience laws. The Washington Post reported that the Office for Civil Rights during Hyam’s tenure “has been greatly strengthening and expanding protections for health care providers who have religious- or conscience-based objections to procedures such as abortion.” It went on to say that “the makeover appears radical, one that critics worry will jeopardize the care of pregnant women and transgender individuals, as well as others who could be denied certain procedures.”

PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT OF NOTE

Associate, Lewis, Roca Rothgerber, 2013 – 2015

Of Counsel, Simms Showers LLP, 2017

Partner, SDG Law Group, 2016 – 2018

TIES TO OTHER ANTI-CHOICE EXTREMISTS

Alliance Defending Freedom:

David Hyams submitted an amicus brief in favor of anti-abortion legal group Alliance Defending Freedom’s plaintiff, Jane E. Norton, in her case against the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Norton was briefly a Trump HHS appointee, and oral arguments in the case were heard while she was still part of the administration.

HIGHLIGHTS

On A Panel About How To Bring Faith Into Your Work, Hyams Called Non-Religious People “Secular Drones” And Said There Will Be Times Religious People Will Have To “Push Back Against The State”:

“There are laws as citizens….that come to play whenever you are trying to live out your faith, you don’t want to be some secular drone going about the laws of the state, all the while compartmentalizing your faith….there will be times when you have to push back against the state.” [Colorado Christian Business Alliance, 10/17/14, :035]

THE WHOLE STORY

Prior To Joining HHS, David Hyams Put His Law Degree To Work Fighting Against Reproductive And LGBTQ Rights In The Courts

Hyams Filed Multiple Amicus Briefs In An Attempt To Limit Funding For Reproductive Health Clinics And Discriminate Against LGBTQ Couples

Hyams Filed An Amicus Brief On Behalf Of Four Anti-Abortion Organizations In An Anti-Planned Parenthood Lawsuit, Arguing That Planned Parenthood Was “Subsidizing Abortions” With State Funds By Subsidizing Rent For A Related Company. “The United States and Colorado have historically protected their citizens’ fundamental right to freedom of conscience. In the abortion context, this has taken the form of conscience clauses and funding restrictions. Article V, Section 50 of the Colorado Constitution (the ‘Amendment’) is an instance of the latter. The district court and court of appeals opinions render the Amendment meaningless, as they effectively sanction the funding of the performance of induced abortions by allowing the Governor, the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, and/or the Department of Public Health and Environment (the ‘State Defendants’), in defiance of a directive issued by Petitioner (the ‘CDPHE Directive’), to direct taxpayer dollars to Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood, Inc. (‘PP’) (the 3 ‘Funding’), who in turn utilizes that money to subsidize the abortion activities of its alter ego, Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains Services Corporation (‘PP Services’). Forcing Amici to indirectly or directly fund the termination of preborn human beings violates their consciences, as they are deeply opposed to abortion.” [Colorado Supreme Court, Jane E. Norton v. Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood et al., case # 2016-SC-112, Brief of Amici Curiae filed 12/28/16]

  • The Lawsuit Was Dismissed As The Plaintiff “Failed To Show That Tax Dollars Were Spent On Abortion Services.” “Norton v. Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood, Inc. was dismissed on summary judgment. A Colorado appellate court affirmed the dismissal saying Norton failed to show that tax dollars were spent on abortion services. The appeal ruling said the state had provided proof that that it made payments to Planned Parenthood only for nonabortion services, such as cancer screenings, office visits, copies of medical records, birth control, and testing for infections. “ [Denver Patch, 1/29/18]

Hyams Filed An Amicus Brief On Behalf Of Anti Same-Sex Marriage Activists, Claiming That “Because Those Who Do Hold Such Sincere Religious Beliefs Are Inclined To Follow God’s Law Not Man’s Law.” “The tension between creative professionals whose religious beliefs inform their work and public accommodation laws has increased in recent years. Prominent cases have been brought against various artists, such as cake artists, photographers, and florists. Because those who do hold such sincere religious beliefs are inclined to follow God’s law not man’s law, the conflict is not likely to dissipate as the number of same-sex weddings increases throughout the country.” [U.S. Supreme Court, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, case # 16-111, Brief of Amici Curiae filed 9/7/17]

Hyams Helped Form A Church Group That Deceives And Uses Fear To Bully Children Into Accepting Jesus And Rejecting Abortion

Hyams Formed Five Branches of Potter's House Fellowship Churches in Colorado Between 2015 and 2017...

Hyams Formed Five Branches Of Potter’s House Christian Fellowship In Colorado Between 2015 And 2017. Hyams formed the first branch, Potter’s House Christian Fellowship Church of Aurora, LLC, on October 2, 2015 and formed subsequent branches in Fountain (10/9/15), Cortez (10/23/15), Denver (11/2/15) and Durango (8/12/17). The designated sole member of all five branches is Prescott Church Planting, LLC, an Arizona church focused on evangelism, conversion, discipleship and church planting. [Colorado Secretary of State, accessed 10/29/18]

… Potter’s House Churches Are Known For Hosting So-Called “Hell Houses,” Deceptively Promoting The Events To Unwitting Participants Who Are Confronted With Graphic, Violent And Highly Offensive Scenes Meant To Coerce Teens Into Accepting Jesus…

Some Chapters Of Potters House Church Have Been Known To Host “Hell House” Events That Appear As Haunted Houses But Instead Depict Graphic Scenes About “Going To Hell If They Didn’t Accept Jesus As Their Savior.” “A local church is using a haunted house to get what it says is an important message across. A local mother says her children not only heard the message, but they saw it as well—and she is not happy about it. Linda Ybarra says she bought tickets to Hell House in Pasadena for her family this weekend. She didn’t expect that her son would see graphic scenes about going to Hell if they didn’t accept Jesus as their savior. Ybarra says she and her 14-year-old son thought they’d get a good scare this Halloween at the haunted house, and she expected ‘the usual Halloween things. You know, zombies and ghouls and goblins. That kind of thing.’” [ABC 13, 10/29/11]

  • One “Hell House” Reenacted Realistic Scenes About “Abortion, Suicide And Other Sins,” Terrifying A Mother And Her Teenage Son.  “‘There was a young lady lying on a gurney, and two nurses. And one of the nurses was reaching into the lady and pulling out a bunch of gunk, and throwing it on the floor,’ Ybarra said, describing an abortion scene at the haunted house. “Ybarra says the actors were depicting far too realistic scenes about abortion, suicide and other sins. She says the Hell House flier’s warning about violent content was too vague for what patrons are walking into.” [ABC 13, 10/29/11]

One “Hell House” Featured A “Re-Enactment” Of The Columbine School Shootings “Complete With Earsplitting Gunshots, To Scare Teens And Others Into Accepting Jesus.” “A haunted house featuring a re-enactment of the Columbine school shootings was briefly shut down after sheriff’s deputies confiscated two guns organizers had used as props. A judge on Thursday allowed The Potter’s House Christian Center to re-open its haunted house as long as it agreed to remove the real guns and post extra security.  Pastor Henry Houghton stressed that the guns had only been used as props and that they were loaded with blanks. Houghton said the church is using the Columbine skit, complete with earsplitting gunshots, to scare teens and others into accepting Jesus. The depiction is similar to one at ‘Hell House’ at Trinity Church in Cedar Hill, Texas, which sparked anger this week among some in Littleton, Colo.” [Associated Press, 10/29/99]

… And In 2015, Potter House Denver Hosted Their Own Version Of A “Hell House”

Shortly Before Hyams Was Listed As Registered Agent For The Denver Chapter Of Potters House, The Group Put On Its Own “Hell House” Production. [@TPHDenver, Twitter, 10/29/15]