HHS Announces Federal Rule Allowing Religious Beliefs to Override Patient Care

May 2, 2019 • 4:22 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a new federal rule that allows health care and medical providers to determine patient care based on their religious or moral beliefs, potentially opening the door for discrimination.

Masen Davis, CEO of Freedom for All Americans, released the following statement:

“All medical patients should have the basic ability to seek care and treatment without the fear of being turned away or facing discrimination because of who they are. This new HHS rule means LGBTQ people and others could be denied lifesaving emergency care or crucial information and counseling about their best health care options. A patient’s health should always come first, and all Americans should be treated fairly when attempting to care for themselves and their loved ones.”

The new rule could have a wide range of negative impacts on LGBTQ Americans. Some examples include:

  • Lesbian parents seeking medical care for their children
  • Transgender adults seeking primary care whether or not it is related to their transition
  • Gay men seeking PrEP or HIV care
  • Same-sex couples seeking fertility treatment

The regulation allows virtually any individual or entity involved in a patient’s care – from a hospital’s board of directors to the receptionist that schedules procedures – to put personal beliefs ahead of a patient’s health. The rule is especially dangerous for those already facing barriers to care, particularly LGBTQ people living in rural areas with few healthcare options and in states without existing health nondiscrimination protections. It was first proposed at the start of 2018; and in March 2019, a broad coalition of organizations submitted 200,000 public comments in opposition to it.

Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.

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