HHS Takes Fire For Proposing Roll Back Of Trump-era Conscience Protections

Mar 8, 2023 | Political News

U.S. Health and Human Services has proposed a controversial rule change that would roll back Trump-era conscience protections for healthcare workers.

Congress already has laws on the books to “protect the rights of individuals, entities, and health care entities to refuse to perform, assist in the performance of, or undergo certain health care services or research activities to which they may object for religious, moral, ethical, or other reasons.”

How HHS interprets and enforces that law, though, is up for debate.

The Trump administration rolled out a new HHS rule in 2019 to strengthen those protections and the enforcement of them.

Now the Biden administration is trying to roll back those changes. Biden’s HHS published the rule change in January, and public comment closed Monday.

HHS cited arguments by various critics of the rule, saying the 2019 rule would hinder “patients’ ability to access” abortions and said it was “overly expansive and incongruous with medical professionalism, among other concerns.”

Critics have pushed back, saying the Biden administration’s changes will expand abortion, make the law more vague, put more power in the hands of HHS, and lead to discrimination against Americans.