Today the Health and Human Services Department issued a final conscience rule that protects individuals and health care providers from discrimination or coercion in HHS-funded programs. The Heritage Foundation’s research associate Melanie Israel offered the following response:
“The freedom to act, work and live in accordance with one’s conscience is a fundamental American principle. No person or entity should face discrimination or coercion for declining to participate in procedures, such as abortion or physician-assisted suicide, that violate sincere moral, ethical, or religious beliefs.
“The Trump administration’s final rule is a much-needed action to protect individual liberties and robustly enforce federal conscience statutes. For more than 40 years, federal law has protected conscience rights of Americans in the context of health care. While the Obama administration provided inadequate enforcement and oversight of federal conscience statutes, this final rule ensures that HHS will safeguard the rights of individuals and entities that dissent on morally sensitive or controversial procedures.”