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Washington D.C., May 22, 2019 / 09:55 am (CNA).- An array of states and cities filed a lawsuit Tuesday against a new Department of Health and Human Services rule allowing medical professionals to refuse to take part in procedures because of religious or conscientious objections.
The suit filed May 21 in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York claims the conscience provision illegally favors healthcare workers over patients.
HHS - Rule - May - May - Federal
The HHS rule, announced May 2 and published May 21 in the Federal Register, strengthens a series of laws intended to protect the conscience rights of doctors and nurses. It is due to take effect two months from its publication in the Federal Register.
Under the rule, medical providers may opt of direct participation, as well as having to refer patients to other providers who will perform procedures to which they object, such as abortion and sterilization.
Roger - Severino - Director - HHS - Conscience
Roger Severino, director of the HHS' new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, has said the rule “ensures that healthcare entities and professionals won’t be bullied out of the health care field because they decline to participate in actions that violate their conscience, including the taking of human life.”
“Protecting conscience and religious freedom not only fosters greater diversity in healthcare, it’s the law,” he stated. “Finally, laws prohibiting government funded discrimination against conscience and religious freedom will be enforced like every other civil rights law.”
Abortion - Activists - Rule - Access - Procedures
Abortion activists have said that the new rule will severely curtail access to such procedures in rural and other communities.
New York is leading the suit against the new rule; its co-plaintiffs are Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin, as...
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