Last Wednesday, a New York federal district court issued an order to vacate a May 2019 rule issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to protect the conscience rights of health care professionals.
This is unimaginable in a country founded upon, guaranteeing and listing, as our nation’s foundational document in the Bill of Rights and continuing in the U.S. Constitution, the right of individual citizens to live in full freedom to follow their conscience and to not be persecuted for their beliefs.
Does it affect Catholic business professionals? You bet!
“Medical professionals should never have to sacrifice the core convictions that led them to enter medicine, in order to serve in that very field,” says Alliance Defending Freedom ADF Legal Counsel Denise Harle, in response to the NY ruling.
“This HHS Conscience Rule clarifies and implements more than 30 laws protecting conscience rights in health care, including some protections that have been in effect for decades,” Harle continues.
“The district court’s order vacating the rule strips the federal government of its ability to meaningfully interpret and apply these critical conscience protections ensuring that health care workers can live and work consistently with their consciences, without fear of discrimination. The court’s conclusion that too many health care workers’ consciences would be protected under the HHS Conscience Rule shows a misunderstanding of the fundamental rights we have historically protected—beginning with the guarantees of the First Amendment. Individual conscience rights are paramount, regardless of a person’s job title or role,” explains Harle.
ADF filed a friend-of-the-court brief in August on behalf of four non-profit medical organizations that support the Conscience Rights in Health Care Rule issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in May of this year.