ACLU Sues Trump Administration Over HHS Rule That Allows Health Care Providers To Refuse LGBT Patients

Via press release from the ACLU:

The National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA), Public Health Solutions (PHS), The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) filed a lawsuit today challenging the Trump administration’s rule that allows health care personnel to deny patients information and treatment based on personal religious or moral beliefs.

The rule, finalized last month by the Department of Health and Human Services, aims to dramatically expand the ability of health care institutions and workers to refuse to provide medical services, and even information, from patients if they have a moral or religious objection to the care. Under the policy, a hospital receptionist could refuse to schedule an appointment for a transgender patient seeking gender-affirming care and an orderly could refuse to transfer a patient to the operating room for an emergency abortion.

The rule’s sweeping terms are likely to embolden refusals to provide a range of other health services. It forces health centers that receive federal funds to employ individuals who refuse to perform essential job functions, without any regard for the wellbeing of their patients or public safety.

“The ACLU will not stand by as our government institutes policy that could endanger people’s lives” said Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, senior staff attorney with the Reproductive Freedom Project at the ACLU. “Freedom of religion is a fundamental right, but it cannot be used to harm others — especially when that includes withholding emergency care or critical information about patients’ health.”