On May 2, 2019, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the final version of its conscience rule. This updated rule purports to authorize individual health care workers and institutions to refuse to provide certain services by citing a religious or conscientious objection. Such leeway may have serious implications for patients, especially for women, LGBTQ people, and those seeking end-of-life care. Some view the rule as consistent with the administration’s promise to promote religious interests. Others fear the harmful effects of allowing individual workers at health care facilities to deny critical and sometimes life-saving care to patients. What are the legal implications?
On July 19, the American Bar Association hosted a webinar exploring these regulations. National Health Law Program’s Susan Berke Fogel joined Americans United for Separation of Church and State’s Richard Katskee and Catholics for Choice’s Sara Hutchinson Ratcliffe as presenters for this captivating and informative discussion.