Court Voids “Conscience Protection Rule”

On November 6, 2019, the District Court in New York voided the Trump administration’s “conscience protection rule”  that allowed healthcare providers to refuse to participate in abortions, sterilizations, gender-reassignment, hormonal birth control, and other procedures they disagree with on religious or moral grounds. Opponents of the rule, which was scheduled to go into effect on Nov. 22, argued that it would disproportionately harmed certain groups of patients, including LGBTQ patients. In citing the need for the new rules, HHS cited the case of a nurse midwife who sued a Florida health center that would not hire her for a Title X-funded position due to her objection to prescribing hormonal birth control. While the District Court decision will likely be appealed to the Circuit Court, the ruling means that the new regulation will not go into effect for the foreseeable future.