Biden administration partially rescinds Trump’s ‘conscience’ health proposal

The Biden administration is proposing to partially reverse a Trump-era “rule of conscience” that has been struck down multiple times in court.

The Trump rule would have allowed health care workers to refuse care that conflicts with religious beliefs.

In a press release Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services said the proposed changes would improve access to care.

“No one should be discriminated against because of their religious or moral beliefs, especially when seeking or providing care,” Health Minister Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “The proposed rule strengthens the protection of people with religious or moral objections while ensuring access to care for all in accordance with the law.”

PARKINSON’S DISEASE AFFECTS THOUSANDS MORE AMERICANS THAN PREVIOUS ESTIMATES: NEW STUDY

Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services, testifies before the House Appropriations Committee at the Rayburn House Office Building March 31, 2022 in Washington, DC

Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services, testifies before the House Appropriations Committee at the Rayburn House Office Building March 31, 2022 in Washington, DC
(Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

The 39-page proposal notes that some doctors, nurses and hospitals may object to the provision or referral of abortion or assisted suicide on religious or moral grounds, and that respecting such objections “honours liberty and human dignity.”

At the same time, it stated: “Patients also have autonomy, rights, and moral and religious beliefs. And they sometimes have health needs[s] urgent. Our health systems must effectively provide services to all who need them to protect the health and dignity of patients.”

In 2019, under the Trump administration, the Department’s Office for Civil Rights issued an executive order that HHS said provided broad definitions, created new compliance regulations, and created a new enforcement mechanism for a number of laws related to the rights of conscience of certain federally funded health care providers facilities and providers.

The US Department of Health and Human Services building in Washington on July 13, 2020.

The US Department of Health and Human Services building in Washington on July 13, 2020.
(Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

The 2019 “final rule” was ruled unlawful by three federal district courts.

TEXAS FEDERAL JUDGE RULES AGAINST HHS PROGRAM THAT ALLOWS CONFIDENTIAL BIRTH CONTROL OF ADOLESCENTS

“Given these court decisions, and consistent with the administration’s commitment to uphold the rights of federal conscience and religious non-discrimination, while protecting access to care [notice of proposed rulemaking] Proposes to partially repeal the department’s 2019 rule while strengthening other procedures that previously applied to handling complaints about freedom of conscience and religion,” HHS said.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra speaks during a press conference at HHS headquarters in Washington, DC on June 28, 2022.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra speaks during a press conference at HHS headquarters in Washington, DC on June 28, 2022.
(Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“Protecting the rights of conscience and enforcing the Religious Discrimination Act are critical,” said Melanie Fontes Rainer, director of the Office of Civil Rights. “Today’s proposed rule would strengthen those protections and reinforce our longstanding process for dealing with such conscience and belief-based objections. She would also take steps to ensure individuals are aware of their rights.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Public comments are due 60 days after the publication of the notice in the Federal Register.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *