(BOSTON, MA) – Statement of Lois Uttley, Women’s Health Program Director for Community Catalyst, in response to Trump administration issuance today of a final rule expanding the ability of health providers to refuse care based on religious or moral objections.

“Today, the Trump administration issued a final rule that will make it easier for health providers to use their personal religious or moral beliefs to deny care. Women and LGBTQ people will suffer the most under this unconscionable policy, to which we objected vehemently when it was first proposed last year.

“Not only individual medical providers, but also hospitals, pharmacies and clinics, will be able to refuse to deliver any health care services to which they have personal or institutional objections. Hospital admitting personnel or ambulance drivers could conceivably cite personal objections to ‘assisting in the performance of’ medical services to which they object.

“What could this mean for patients? Women suffering reproductive emergencies – such as early miscarriages – could be denied prompt, medically-appropriate treatment. Rape survivors could be denied emergency contraception to prevent pregnancies. Transgender and gender nonconforming people could be denied hormones or surgery for gender transition. Same-sex couples could be denied infertility services.

“This new rule is a dangerous, unlawful expansion of existing harmful religious refusal laws, which already make it difficult for patients to get the care they need. The rule misappropriates language from civil rights laws that were intended to combat discrimination and improve, not obstruct, patients’ access to health care. 

“We cannot allow health providers’ personal religious or moral beliefs to obstruct patients’ ability to get the medical care they need. A patient’s health must always come first.”


About Community Catalyst

Community Catalyst is a national, non-profit consumer advocacy organization founded in 1998 with the belief that affordable quality health care should be accessible to everyone. We work in partnership with national, state and local organizations, policymakers, and philanthropic foundations to ensure consumer interests are represented wherever important decisions about health and the health system are made: in communities, courtrooms, statehouses and on Capitol Hill. For more information, visit www.communitycatalyst.org. Follow us on Twitter @healthpolicyhub.