The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed that the Biden Administration is reversing a Trump-era rule allowing medical professionals to opt out of procedures that conflict with their religious and moral beliefs.
Politico reported Tuesday that the proposed rule is currently under review at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) – often the final step before a proposed regulation goes public.
Meetings where any interested member of the public can tell OMB what they think about the proposed rule are scheduled until April 28. OMB will probably finish with the Conscience Rule rescission sometime in May.
The rule change is supported by, among others, Planned Parenthood. Jacqueline Ayers, the senior vice president of policy, organizing and campaigns for the abortion and contraception business, commented, “As state politicians continue to strip people of their sexual and reproductive rights and freedoms, it’s imperative that the Biden-Harris administration revoke this discriminatory policy and help ensure people can access the health care and information they need when they need it.”
Planned Parenthood was part of a 2019 lawsuit against the Trump administration conscience rule, which was blocked by federal courts after dozens of states, cities and advocacy groups sued. It was never implemented, but it would have allowed doctors, nurses, medical students, pharmacists and other health workers to refuse to provide abortions, contraception, sexual transition medicine/surgery, assisted suicide, vasectomies, and other procedures.
HHS also is expected soon to issue a new proposed rule on Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, which would impose requirements that health care organizations and individual providers perform gender transition procedures/services, and possibly abortion as well.