Judge strikes down new Trump administration rule on religious objections

08 Novembre, 2019, 15:30 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • Federal Judge Strikes Down Trump’s Conscience Rule for Medical Providers

A federal judge in U.S. has overturned a Trump administration rule that protected the freedom of conscience of health care workers who are opposed to procedures such as abortion, suicide and gender-change surgeries that conflict with their moral or religious beliefs.

On October 30, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California heard arguments in County of Santa Clara v. HHS, where Lambda Legal and co-counsel argued that HHS exceeded its authority and arbitrarily and capriciously failed to consider the rule's potential harm to patients and the health care system, in violation of the federal Administrative Procedure Act.

A wide array of people that provides medical services to a patient would be allowed to refuse services, even in a medical emergency, for religious or moral reasons.

DEADLINE UPDATE: Just minutes after this story was published, a federal judge in the Seattle case, Washington v. HHS, issued an opinion striking down the HHS Denial of Care Rule.

The state had sued the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, which announced the rule in May; it was scheduled to begin later this month.

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"The point of the First Amendment - especially the free exercise of religion - is to protect the conscience rights of Americans", Sasse said in a written statement.

"No one should have to worry they will be denied the medical care they need simply due to their health care provider's religious, moral, or personal beliefs", said Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in a written release. The Court's finding that the agency acted contrary to two major existing laws (Title VII and EMTALA) vitiates substantive definitions in the Rule affecting the health care employment and emergency contexts.

He said it should be left to Congress to decide whether to change the laws regarding employers' duty to accommodate religious objections. The lead lawsuit was initiated by New York State and 18 other states (including Illinois, Massachusetts, and Michigan), plus Washington, D.C., Chicago, New York City, and Cook County. The APA violations that the Court has found, however, are numerous, fundamental, and far-reaching. The Denial of Care Rule, he noted, originated with an executive order from President Trump in May 2017. Entities that refuse to certify its compliance or that violate the Conscience Rule could have their federal funding terminated. The rule will not go into effect as planned on November 22.

In May, HHS published what it called 30 "conscience provisions" that health care providers had to comply with if they wanted to receive federal funds.

President Trump's conscience provision for medical providers was rejected by a NY federal Judge; a judge ordered the United States to administer mental healthcare to separated migrant families; a federal ban on flavored vaping products is near. HHS estimates that it will cost around $1 billion to implement the Rule over its first five years, not including public health costs.... "It sets behavioral standards for those recipients".

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