Washington D.C., May 22, 2019 / 08:55 am
An array of states and cities filed a lawsuit Tuesday against a new Department of Health and Human Services rule allowing medical professionals to refuse to take part in procedures because of religious or conscientious objections.
The suit filed May 21 in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York claims the conscience provision illegally favors healthcare workers over patients.
The HHS rule, announced May 2 and published May 21 in the Federal Register, strengthens a series of laws intended to protect the conscience rights of doctors and nurses. It is due to take effect two months from its publication in the Federal Register.
Under the rule, medical providers may opt out of direct participation, as well as having to refer patients to other providers who will perform procedures to which they object, such as abortion and sterilization.