More orgs react to anti-LGBTQ ‘religious objection’ healthcare rule

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(Photo by Zackary Drucker as part of Broadly's Gender Spectrum Collection)

(Photo by Zackary Drucker as part of Broadly’s Gender Spectrum Collection)

CHICAGO — More organizations are denouncing the new Health and Human Services rule that would allow healthcare workers to refuse service with a “religious objection.”

“Perhaps the most objectionable aspect of this rule is that it puts the personal beliefs of healthcare providers above their sworn duties to follow science, give all medically accurate information, and serve their patients,” said Magda Houlberg, MD, Chief Clinical Officer at Howard Brown Health in Chicago. “Despite the rule, medical providers who defy their oath and license should face sanctions, including the loss of license, at the state level.”

The health center said in a statement on Thursday that the rule restricts patients’ ability to make their own choices about their own health and would harm the most marginalized in the community.

Lambda Legal also blasted the new rule in a press release sent out Thursday afternoon.

“This so-called Conscience Rule is nothing more or less than a government-sanctioned attack on LGBTQ people and on women seeking reproductive health care,” Lambda Legal Interim CEO Richard Burns said. “LGBTQ people, and especially transgender people, already suffer disproportionate levels of discrimination in health care settings. This Denial of Care Rule protects that discrimination and gives it a governmental blessing. HHS should be in the business of making sure people get the health care they need, not trying to grant health care workers and institutions permission to turn people away.”

The legal advocacy group has already filed lawsuits because of LGBTQ people denied medical care, including against a southern California clinic that refused to provide a lesbian couple infertility care and a New Jersey hospital that refused to let a surgeon perform a routine hysterectomy for a transgender patient.

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