New regulations issued on Monday by the Department of Health and Human Services provide only the barest of conscience rights for health care providers—even though federal law requires respect for health care workers with moral objections to certain procedures like abortion.
The new regulations implement Obamacare’s mandate that private health insurers cover women’s reproductive services. The rules provide conscience rights only to non-profits recognized as religious institutions, whose primary mission is to promote its religious views and who employ and serve only those who share its religious views. As Chuck Donovan explains, these protections are so narrow that they exclude a wide range of recognized religious institutions whose primary mission is to provide services to the poor and indigent. In addition they trample on the rights of institutions for whom serving all in need regardless of creed is a core part of their religious mission. The new regulations also appear to provide no protection whatsoever for individual health workers not employed by a protected non-profit.
Read Donovan’s Heritage Foundation paper: HHS’s New Guidelines Trample on Conscience.