Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Raise Your Voice: Religious Liberty is Not a License to Discriminate

By Louise Melling,
ACLU Deputy Legal Director

Religious liberty is not a license to discriminate and harm. Yet Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services wants to let health care providers use their religious beliefs to justify turning away patients in need. This is a betrayal of the department’s own mission, and it could have disastrous consequences – particularly for women and LGBT patients.
The department is taking public comments on this proposed rule – which means they must consider and respond to our opinions. We have a short window to mount overwhelming opposition to this rule and stop it from taking effect.
Raise your voice loud and clear: Leave a public comment and tell Health and Human Services not to put religion over medical standards.
This proposed rule, if it were adopted, could have serious repercussions for patients seeking treatment like abortions, HIV treatment, or gender-confirming surgery to which some people – like extremist Vice President Mike Pence – might object. Here are just some of the ways the proposed rule could hurt patients:

  • Pregnant women experiencing miscarriages or other serious pregnancy complications could be refused abortion care even when the woman’s life is at risk, and even when the fetus has no chance of survival.
  • Health providers could discriminate against transgender patients seeking medically necessary care.
  • Hospital staff could refuse to sign in patients seeking abortions, to assist patients in any way before getting sterilizations, or even provide any information about medical conditions and treatment options.

Submit a public comment now and we’ll deliver it to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Department of Health and Human Services should be protecting our health, not proposing rules that could hurt the health and lives of women, trans people, LGB people, people living with HIV, and others seeking critical care.

We’ve already taken legal action for patients hurt by similar discriminatory policies – and if this rule goes into effect, then we’ll see the Trump administration in court. But let’s get to work now to stop this license to discriminate in its tracks.