New York City, N.Y., Nov 6, 2019 / 13:00 pm
A federal judge in New York overturned the Trump administration's conscience protection rule for health care workers on Wednesday.
The "Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care" rule was finalized by the Department of Health and Human Services in May and set to go into effect on Nov. 22. It required that federally-funded organizations be certified compliant with more than two dozen existing statutory conscience protections in health care. These protections would allow health care professionals to opt out of performing or assisting in procedures they are morally opposed to, such as abortions and gender-transition surgeries.
Judge Paul Engelmayer of the Southern District of New York vacated the HHS rule in a 146-page decision, issued Nov. 6, saying that while the provisions "recognize and protect undeniably important rights," they do not comply with the U.S. Constitution and Administrative Procedure Act.
"The Court's decision today leaves HHS at liberty to consider and promulgate rules governing these provisions," Judge Engelmayer wrote.