The Biden administration is attempting to repeal a Trump rule meant to safeguard religious health care workers by allowing them to refuse to perform services which they feel violate their conscience and moral beliefs.
A representative for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) confirmed to Politico on Tuesday that efforts to revoke the rule are in the works, in keeping with Biden’s goal.
“HHS has made clear through the unified regulatory agenda that we are in the rulemaking process,” the spokesperson said.
Understanding the situation
The Trump law, which was adopted in 2018 and was later stopped by the courts, was seen as a boon to religious liberty, notably by health care professionals who were opposed to the increasingly popular transgender “treatments” for minors and abortion services.
Politico emphasized that Trump’s rule would have “allowed doctors, nurses, medical students, pharmacists and other health workers to refuse to provide abortions, contraception, gender-affirming care, HIV and STD services, vasectomies or any procedure to which they object.”
“Alabama’s lawmakers and other legislators who are contemplating discriminatory bills have been put on notice” – Jen Psaki
The US Department of Justice has “placed on notice” lawmakers who are seeking to safeguard minors from puberty blockers and transgender procedures, according to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
“Alabama’s lawmakers and other legislators who are contemplating these … discriminatory bills have been put on notice by the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services that laws and policies preventing care that health care professionals recommend for transgender minors may violate the Constitution and federal law,” Psaki said at a press briefing.
Alabama’s ban on doctors mutilating children or putting them on puberty blockers if they “identify” as the opposite sex, as well as advancing parental rights by prohibiting teachers’ “instruction” on sexuality and gender identity between kindergarten and fifth grade, prompted the press secretary’s remarks.
When Trump’s “conscience” rule was approved in 2019, Roger Severino, then-director of the HHS Office of Civil Rights, praised it.
“This 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,” he said, according to Christianity Today. “Protecting conscience and religious freedom not only fosters greater diversity in healthcare, it’s the law.”
Trump’s decision, according to then-acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan, was a promise kept at the time.
“President Trump promised the American people that his administration would vigorously uphold the rights of conscience and religious freedom,” Hargan said. “That promise is being kept today. The Founding Fathers knew that a nation that respects conscience rights is more diverse and more free, and OCR’s new division will help make that vision a reality.”