Under the guise of “conscience rights,” the Trump Administration has officially granted doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers the right to deny care to people.
In a speech on Thursday, Donald Trump announced, “Today, we finalized new protections of conscience rights for physicians, pharmacists, nurses, teachers, students and faith-based charities.”
TRUMP: “Today we finalized new protections of conscience rights for physicians, pharmacists, nurses, teachers, students and faith-based charities.” (The subtext is that physicians will be able to discriminate against LGTBQ people.) pic.twitter.com/9JI5nbw7va
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 2, 2019
The new regulation, confirmed by the Department of Health and Human Services, allows providers to cite personal religious beliefs as justification to refuse a broad range of services.
Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center, said in a statement, “This rule allows anyone from a doctor to a receptionist to entities like hospitals and pharmacies to deny a patient critical — and sometimes lifesaving — care.”
Critics say the new regulation could put LGBTQ people at risk, such as those seeking HIV treatment or gender-confirmation procedures.
The Human Rights Campaign denounced the news as well.
“The Trump-Pence administration’s latest attack threatens LGBTQ people by permitting medical providers to deny critical care based on personal beliefs,” said David Stacy, government affairs director at the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement.
“The administration’s decision puts LGBTQ people at greater risk of being denied necessary and appropriate health care solely based on their sexual orientation or gender identity,” he added. “Everyone deserves access to medically necessary care and should never be turned away because of who they are or who they love.”
San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera quickly announced he had filed a lawsuit in an attempt to invalidate the new federal regulation.
Herrera said in a press release that, if allowed to take effect, the rule would reduce access to health care, particularly for women, LGBTQ people, and other vulnerable populations.
“At its core, this rule is about denying people medical care,” said Herrera. “This administration is willing to sacrifice patients’ health and lives — particularly those of women and members of the LGBTQ community, and low-income families — to score right-wing political points. It’s reprehensible.”