HHS partially rescinds Trump-era 'conscience' rule for healthcare workers

HHS issued a final rule Jan. 9 that partially rescinds a 2019 rule that bolstered rights of healthcare workers to refuse to provide services such as abortions, gender-affirming care and contraception based on moral or religious beliefs. 

The final rule clarifies the process for enforcing federal conscience laws and increases protections against conscience and religious discrimination, HHS said in a news release. Agency officials also said the rule does these things while ensuring healthcare access. 

The "conscience law" was proposed under the Trump administration in 2019 but was held unlawful by three federal district courts. It would have expanded how federal laws that allow healthcare workers to refuse care in certain circumstances were implemented and interpreted, according to The Hill.

The final rule's effective date is March 11. View the full final rule here

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