Conscience protections

U.S. President Donald J. Trump during his speech before faith leaders on May 2 National Day of Prayer announced a brand new 440-page long rule which would allow employers, providers, and insurers to refuse to pay or provide for services like assisted suicide, abortion, or sterilization. The rule has a broad scope and spelled out some services which entities and individuals may refrain from payment or provide based on their personal beliefs. The ruling also highlights the rights of parents to refuse particular kinds of care when it comes to their children.

Conservative groups welcomed the new rule, terming it “conscience protections” applicable to health care workers and related personnel. They welcome these protections as there are increasing mandates to offer care and the ineffectual enforcement when it comes to the existing statutes of protecting workers. The Catholic Association’s Ashley McGuire said that no worker in the healthcare sector should be forced to select between their faith or practice. The senior fellow of the organization pointed out this principle is concretized in many regulations, and laws and they have been violated for so long.

Women and LGBTQ groups warned that the rule would lead to a reduction of services and may potentially harm patients in-case medical providers decline to treat transgender and gay individuals or reduction of services. The rule was harshly criticized by Louise Melling, the Deputy Legal Director of American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). She said although religious liberty is considered a fundamental right, it does not include the right to harm or discriminate against others. This rule may endanger many people’s lives or stop individuals from critical medical care access.

For President Trump, this is the third time he used the National Day of Prayer occasion to announce steps to allay the fears of his conservative Christian base. The first year of his office saw Trump making it much easier for religious leaders to speak openly concerning politics. He also tried to eliminate the Johnson Amendment but could not achieve it as the process will need Congressional approval.

Both supporters and opponents of the new rule said the law would increase parental rights to dictate as to whether their children benefit from several specific kinds of care. It also diminishes the role played by the government to guarantee the well-being of youngsters.

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