President Trump has agreed to postpone a rule that would allow medical workers to decline performing abortions or other treatments on moral or religious grounds. The so-called “conscience” rule is currently being challenged by a California lawsuit that alleges the rule exceeds the authority of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Critics say it will make it easier for health care providers to discriminate against some Americans, particularly LGBT people and transgender people. The rule, which was first announced by Trump in May and was supposed to take effect on July 22, is now being delayed until Nov. 22, when a final decision can be made.
The measure, officially titled Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care; Delegations of Authority, would require institutions that receive federal money to certify that they comply with some 25 federal laws protecting conscience and religious rights. Most of the laws pertain to medical procedures such as abortion, sterilization, and assisted suicide.