HHS final conscience rule expands religious providers’ authority to deny health care

For Immediate Release
May 2, 2019

Media Contact
Rachel Dowd
310-206-8982 (office) | 310-855-2696 (cell)

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released today a final rule that strengthens the ability of health care workers to refuse to provide health services for religious or moral reasons.

Williams Institute Executive Director Jocelyn Samuels, the former Director of OCR, said, “In the Obama administration, we were focused on expanding access to health care through the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and the full and balanced enforcement of anti-discrimination and provider conscience laws. By contrast, this administration is simultaneously trying to restrict universal access to care through attacks on the ACA and to expand the authorization for denials of care by religious providers. These actions stand to undermine the health and wellbeing of vulnerable communities, including LGBT people.

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