WFB: The Trump administration will safeguard the rights of doctors to decline performing procedures they find morally objectionable.
On Thursday, the Department of Health and Human Services adopted regulations to guarantee conscience protections for medical professionals. The rule, which will be implemented by the Office of Civil Rights will bar regulators from discriminating against the religious beliefs of doctors and nurses. OCR Director Roger Severino said the protections will prevent practitioners from being shut out of the profession for their beliefs.
“Laws prohibiting government funded discrimination against conscience and religious freedom will be enforced like every other civil rights law,” Severino said in the announcement. “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.”
President Donald Trump has made religious liberty protections a priority since taking office. The administration received more than 200,000 public comments during the review period of its proposal. The administration urged medical companies and other “recipients of HHS funds to provide notice to individuals and entities about their right be free from coercion or discrimination on account of religious beliefs or moral convictions.” It singled out assisted suicide and abortion as two areas of particular concern for potential discrimination as some states have attempted to force medical professionals or other clinics to participate in those practices.
“The Department has also witnessed an increase in lawsuits against State and local laws that plaintiffs allege violate conscience or unlawfully discriminate,” the rule says. It pointed to a California law that forced pro-life pregnancy centers to promote abortion in their offices or face massive fines—a law that the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional in June. The agency said it wanted to avoid similar infringements on religious liberty and conscience protections in the future. read more