A federal judge has overturned a Trump administration rule designed to allow individuals and organizations receiving federal funds to refuse performing certain healthcare services because of religious or moral objections. These services would have included abortion, sterilization, and assisted suicide.
Among the details of the decision:
- The judge concluded that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) lacked the rulemaking authority to create “significant portions” of the rule regarding “conscience provisions.” It was also determined that HHS’s penalty’s for violating one or more of the provisions, i.e., a loss of departmental funding, overstepped the agency’s authority.
- The judge called the rule “arbitrary and capricious” and said it didn’t respond to any documented problem.
- At the beginning of 2019, federal judges issued preliminary injunctions stopping two HHS rules aimed at allowing employers to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate on religious or moral grounds.