UNITED STATES—On Wednesday, November 6, a federal judge ruled against an executive order put in place by President Donald Trump on May 2, to protect health care workers from discrimination based on conscience.
On May 13, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra sued President Trump to reverse the ruling that sided with the conscience of health care workers in cases such as abortion and assisted suicide.
Judge Paul A. Engelmayer, who was an appointee of former President Obama, struck down the Conscience Rights In Health Care Act.
“The Department of Health and Human Services(HHS), which issued the final rule last May did not have the authority to impose such portions of the rule. The Judge also said that “HHS claims that it issued the rule because of complaints made to it from health care workers was not backed up by evidence,” said Judge Engelmayer in a statement.
In its August 28 issue, The Atlantic cited the case of a Catholic nurse at Vermont Medical Center who made it clear to her employer she did not want to participate in abortion procedures for reasons of conscience.
The Atlantic indicated that the nurse was told she would be tending to a person who was having a miscarriage, but she was scheduled to help with an elective abortion.
The hospital was short-staffed and may not have let the nurse step out for the procedure. Fearing retaliation or loss of a job, the nurse walked into the procedure room, where the doctor said to her, “Don’t hate me.”
New York Attorney General, Letitia James who led a coalition of 23 states in a lawsuit against the Trump administration in one lawsuit indicated.
“Healthcare is a basic right that should never be subject to political games,” she said in a statement. “Once again, the courts have blocked the Trump Administration from implementing a discriminatory rule that would only hurt Americans. The refusal of care rule was an unlawful attempt to allow healthcare providers to openly discriminate and refuse to provide necessary healthcare to patients based on providers’ ‘religious beliefs or moral objections.”
“Our country has long protected the rights of conscientious objectors. It is crucial we honor and respect the fact that our citizens still think for themselves. We need more medical professionals to acknowledge the scientific reality that life begins at fertilization and that medicine should be used to heal not harm. We applaud President Trump and HHS Secretary Azar for this rule ensuring that pro-life professionals will not face intimidation or professional repercussions because they refuse to participate in sterilization or ending human lives through abortion or assisted suicide,” said Lila Rose, founder of Live Action in a statement.