Trump’s ‘Conscience Rule’ For Health Providers Blocked By Federal Judge

In Healthcare, Judiciary and Courts On
- Updated

A federal judge on Wednesday voided the Trump administration’s “conscience rule” that would have allowed health-care providers to refuse to participate in abortions, sterilizations or other types of care they disagree with on religious or moral grounds.

U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer in Manhattan declared the rule unconstitutional in a 147-page decision that said it was “shot through with glaring legal defects.” The rule had been set to go into effect later this month.

The judge said the administration’s central justification of a “significant increase” in complaints related to conscience violations “is flatly untrue. This alone makes the agency’s decision to promulgate the rule arbitrary and capricious.”

The judge’s decision stemmed from a lawsuit brought this spring by New York and nearly two dozen mostly Democratic states, municipalities and health advocacy groups. They argued that the rule illegally favored the personal views of health-care workers over the needs of patients and threatened to hobble the ability of state-run health-care facilities to provide effective care.

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