January 17, 2018

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is expected to release a new proposed rule through the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights that would allow health care workers to refuse to provide services based on moral or religious objections, news outlets are reporting. Referred to as “conscience protections,” the policy would provide protections for health workers who do not want to perform abortions, treat transgender patients based on their gender identity, or other services that go against their religious or moral beliefs.

Louise Melling, deputy legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union, had the following reaction:

“Religious liberty doesn’t include a right to be exempt from laws protecting our health or barring discrimination. It doesn’t mean a right to refuse to transport a patient in need because she had an abortion. It doesn’t mean refusing care to a patient because she is transgender. Medical standards, not religious belief, should guide medical care. Denying patients health care is not liberty. Choosing your patients based on their gender or gender expression is not freedom. Should the administration choose to move forward to implement a discriminatory policy, we will see them in court.”

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