BOSTON – Joining a coalition of 19 attorneys general, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey called on the Trump Administration to withdraw a proposed rule that would allow health care providers and entire health care entities to deny medically-necessary care based on religious or moral objections.
The attorneys general submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding its proposed rule concerning conscience objections in health care. They argue that, among other things, the proposed rule conflicts with other provisions of federal law, is unconstitutional, and exceeds the protections allowed by federal statutes.
“This proposed rule is part of a series of actions by this Administration to decrease access to healthcare for women and to permit discrimination against the LGBT community. The rule would give providers a license to discriminate at the expense of individuals who are seeking necessary and legal medical care,” said Healey, in a media release. “We are urging the Trump Administration to withdraw this rule.”
The attorneys general write, “the Proposed Rule prioritizes providers over patients. If implemented, the Proposed Rule will enable health care workers to opt out of life-saving care without notice to their employers—and to the detriment of patients—and impose massive burdens on both private and public institutions. As officials of States entrusted with the power to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public, we urge that the Proposed Rule be withdrawn.”
They further argue that the proposed rule will have real and harmful effects on the delivery of care to women. For example, a woman suffering from an ectopic pregnancy could be turned away from her nearest provider. The proposed rule also will make it more difficult for women to access abortion-related services and needlessly decrease the information patients receive about their health care options, undermining their ability to choose the best options for their health care.
The comments, which were led by New York and joined by Massachusetts, were also joined by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.