HHS announces more conscience protections
by Kyle Ziemnick
Posted 5/24/19, 11:36 am
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced a new rule Friday that would increase protections for medical workers’ religious liberty. The revision of a 2016 rule instituted by President Barack Obama would remove “gender identity” as a component of sex discrimination in healthcare. The old policy would have forced every insurance company or healthcare provider receiving federal funds to cover “gender transition services.” It defined gender identity as one’s internal sense of being “male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female.” Under the previous rule, people who believed in a Biblical definition of sex and who worked in insurance or the medical fields would have had to support or even perform sex change operations over their own religious objections.
In December 2016, a federal judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction against the gender identity clause, finding in favor of eight states and three Christian healthcare groups. U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor held that the old policy violated the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, as well as other administrative rules. The new HHS policy cites that decision as a major reason for its change.
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