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Judge permits postponement of ‘conscience’ medical rule

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Trump administration has agreed to postpone implementing a rule allowing medical workers to decline performing abortions or other treatments on moral or religious grounds while the so-called “conscience” rule is challenged in a California court.

The rule was supposed to take effect on July 22 but the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its opponents in a California lawsuit mutually agreed Friday to delay a final ruling on the matter until Nov. 22.

The agency called it the “most efficient way to adjudicate” the rule.

A federal judge in San Francisco permitted the change on Saturday.

A California lawsuit alleges that the department exceeded its authority with the rule, which President Trump announced in May.

The measure known as Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care; Delegations of Authority would require institutions that receive money from federal programs to certify that they comply with some 25 federal laws protecting conscience and religious rights.

Most laws pertain to medical procedures such as abortion, sterilization and assisted suicide.

The department has previously said that past administrations haven’t done enough to protect such rights in the medical field.

The rule is a priority for religious conservatives, but critics fear it will become a pretext for denying medical attention to LGBT people or women seeking abortions, a legal medical procedure.

“The Trump administration is trying to systematically limit access to critical medical care for women, the LGBTQ community, and other vulnerable patients,” San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a statement announcing Friday’s decision. “Hospitals are no place to put personal beliefs above patient care.”

San Francisco would have faced losing about $1 billion in federal funding for health care-related programs if the rule took effect, according to the statement from his office.

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4 comments

  • Kevin Rahe

    Health care is about treating an adverse medical condition, relieving physical pain and/or preventing disease. No health care professional should be compelled to provide products or services that aren’t actually health care, especially if what they’re asked to do is actually the OPPOSITE of health care, such as something that takes a person’s life or mutilates healthy body parts.

  • steve

    What would possess any woman to demand an abortion from someone who didn’t want to perform it, regardless of reason? I’ You’d think that none of these women who consider their body so special would want to let someone inside it if they detested the idea of being there in the first place.

  • Tired of the "Tolerant" Left

    So, the left claims that abortion is a woman’s right.

    Now they demand that someone else be FORCED to kill the baby, even if it’s against their morals! The Left is EVIL.

  • C

    Why would a woman actually want anyone who detests abortion perform one on her? There are a lot of people that will perform the procedure willingly or even gladly out there. Leave decent human beings alone.

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