The Pen

DHHS Institues New Rule for Conscience Objectors of Abortion and Euthanasia

President Donald J. Trump in the White House Rose Garden on the National Day of Prayer May 2, 2019

President Trump announced Thursday a new rule providing protection for conscience objectors from facing prosecution for refusing to perform such procedures as abortion, assisted suicide, sterilization, and sex reassignment surgery.

The President made the statement in the White House Rose garden while honoring the National Day of Prayer.

Just today we finalized new protections of conscience rights for physicians, pharmacists, nurses, teachers, students, and faith-based charities, they’ve been wanting to do that for a long time.

The new rule established by the Department of Health and Human Services will prohibit legislation crafted to force physicians from performing these procedures.

Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Roger Severino stated:

Laws prohibiting government funded discrimination against conscience and religious freedom will be enforced like every other civil rights law. 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.

The law requires clinics and research institutions that receive federal funding, to include both Medicare and Medicaid, submit in writing guarantees the law will be followed.

As one pro-life advocate, March for Life president Jeanne Mancini noted it is a safeguard for medical professions from violating their conscience.

Those who serve our nation’s sick in the health care industry, or who are training to do so, should not be forced to violate their conscience in the process. No one should be forced to participate in life-ending procedures like abortion or similar activities that go against their religious beliefs or moral convictions.

Although the new law will not take effect for 60 days, only hours after the President’s announcement, the city of San Francisco filed suit against the DHHS seeking to have it ruled “unconstitutional.”

Claiming a loss of billions of dollars of federal funding for Medicare and Medicaid, City Attorney Dennis Herrera released, in part, the following statement:

At its core, this rule is about denying people medical care, this administration is willing to sacrifice patients’ health and lives — particularly those of women and members of the LGBTQ community, and low-income families — to score right-wing political points. It’s reprehensible.