ACLU: Patients’ Needs, Not Personal Beliefs, Come First in Health Care

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Patients’ Needs, Not Personal Beliefs, Come First in Health Care


We’re suing the Trump administration today over a rule that allows health care providers to refuse care based on religious or moral beliefs.

Since taking office, the Trump administration has launched a systematic attack on laws that exist to protect all of us from discrimination when we seek basic health care.  Today, we’re taking them back to court over it.

Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) resurrected a policy that allows health care providers — including hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices — to use their religious beliefs to withhold critical information and obstruct patient’s access to health care. In 2009, the ACLU challenged the original version of the rule. Ten years later, we filed a lawsuit to, once again, preserve access to evidence-based, nonjudgmental health care and ensure that medical standards — not religious belief — guide health care.

There is no better example of “a solution in search of a problem” than this policy. In finalizing this rule, the government highlighted a number of cases the ACLU brought to protect patients from discrimination. The rule cites three of our clients: Tamesha Means, who was turned away three times by a religiously affiliated hospital in the midst of a miscarriage of a non-viable fetus, without being provided even the basic counseling that her own life could be in jeopardy if she did not access an emergency abortion; Rebecca Chamorro, who was denied a standard postpartum tubal ligation at the religiously affiliated hospital where she was scheduled to give birth — although her doctor was ready and willing to perform it; and Evan Minton, whose hysterectomy was cancelled by a religiously affiliated hospital the day before it was scheduled to take place when the hospital learned he is transgender…continue reading