Planned Parenthood and its allies in the abortion industry filed lawsuits in federal court Tuesday against the Trump administration over its new rule that protects healthcare workers who choose not to perform or participate in abortions because of faith beliefs or moral convictions.
HHS recently resurrected a policy that allows health care providers to use their religious beliefs to obstruct patient’s access to health care, including abortions and transition-related care.
We’re suing. https://t.co/vaxrm5t1H2
— ACLU (@ACLU) June 11, 2019
Two separate lawsuits, filed by a coalition of groups that include Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, claim the final rule, issued in May, “encourages and authorizes discrimination by unlawfully granting a wide swath of institutions and individuals broad new rights to refuse to provide health care services and information.”
The claim by the abortion rights groups is based on the narratives perpetuated by the abortion industry that ending the life of an unborn child is the equivalent of “health care,” and that any denial or restriction of abortion is discriminatory against women, and, in particular, women of color and low-income women.
Health care is a human right, and no one should be denied the right to health care based on the personal beliefs of politicians. Period. #PutPatientsFirst
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) June 11, 2019
The new rule will enforce about 25 provisions already passed by Congress that protect the conscience rights of healthcare providers. It also replaces a 2011 Obama-era rule the Trump administration views as “inadequate.”
One of the lawsuits claims that, with its new rule, the Trump Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “imposes a virtually absolute obligation to accommodate employee objections, regardless of impact, giving employees carte blanche to refuse to do core aspects of their job and yet stay in their role,” reported The Hill.
“No one should have to worry if they will get the right care or information because of their provider’s personal beliefs,” tweeted Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood. “We won’t stop fighting to protect our patients’ rights – no matter what.”
No one should have to worry if they will get the right care or information because of their provider's personal beliefs. We won’t stop fighting to protect our patients’ rights – no matter what. #PutPatientsFirst https://t.co/6LngZ3CDPd
— Leana Wen, M.D. (@DrLeanaWen) June 11, 2019
The Trump administration, however, has made religious liberty and the sacredness of human life a cornerstone of its philosophy.
“Finally, laws prohibiting government funded discrimination against conscience and religious freedom will be enforced like every other civil rights law,” said Office for Civil Rights Director Roger Severino, when the final rule was announced on the National Day of Prayer.
— FRC (@FRCdc) May 2, 2019
“This rule ensures that healthcare entities and professionals won’t be bullied out of the health care field because they decline to participate in actions that violate their conscience, including the taking of human life,” Severino added. “Protecting conscience and religious freedom not only fosters greater diversity in healthcare, it’s the law.”
The cases are Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc et al v Azar et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 19-05433; and National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association et al v Azar et al in the same court, No. 19-05435.