From ending gun violence to sexual assault to fighting for DREAMERs – there’s a lot going on in Trump’s America for today’s intersectional feminist activist. One thing that might be flying under your radar? The sneaky ways the Trump-Pence administration is trying to advance their anti-woman, anti-abortion, and anti-LGBTQ agenda – namely through a proposed rule at the department of Health and Human Services that would essentially open the door to widespread discrimination in virtually every part of the health care system. That’s right. This rule would allow hospitals, insurance plans, boards of directors at health care entities, pharmacies, doctors, nurses – and nearly any other employee in health care settings that receive federal funds – to use their religious or moral beliefs to determine the essential health care a patient receives.
Let’s step back for a second and look at HHS’ mission on their website. It states: “It is the mission of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans. We fulfill that mission by providing for effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services.”
This rule literally does the exact opposite of that. Take a look:
1. This rule is definitely NOT about patients.
This rule could mean patients lose access to critical health care. Women could be denied the abortion care they need because of a hospital’s moral beliefs. A transgender patient could be refused treatment for a broken arm. You could face a rejection for birth control because your pharmacy objects to it. This is NOT OK. Personal beliefs should never determine the care a patient receives – but this rule would allow religion or morality to interfere in the patient-provider relationship. The bottom line is that this rule puts patients dead last.
2. This rule IS definitely about controlling and shaming women.
On top of losing access to critical health care – women could be shamed or forced into a health care decision by their providers because of this rule. Let’s be clear: this is just one of many attempts by the Trump-Pence administration to take away women’s autonomy and dignity. Health care providers should not be allowed to shame women for their personal health decisions. We should be able to rely on health care providers to offer information without shame or judgment – providing us with all the options available to us – so we can make the best decision for our bodies, our families, and ourselves.
3. This rule definitely IS using taxpayer dollars to take health care away from LGBTQ people and women.
Your tax dollars could support hospitals that systematically use religious or moral beliefs as a reason to refuse to treat or serve a patient, including a woman seeking abortion or a trans person seeking care. (Cue: table flipping now) Entities like hospitals, pharmacies, and insurance companies that take taxpayer dollars should not be allowed to put their own beliefs over patient care. But this rule would be doing just that.
4. This rule makes a bad situation worse
There are already harmful existing refusal of care laws that have allowed providers to deny or refuse critical care to patients. This rule expands on those existing laws – giving hospitals, insurance companies, and more a more sweeping license to discriminate and deny care to patients. This rule is about discrimination – plain and simple.
The administration is hoping we’ll stay quiet and not voice our rage and rejection of this terrible rule. We have until March 27 to get loud and demand the Trump administration put patients first. Join us in telling the Trump-Pence’s administration’s Department of Health and Human Services to withdraw this terrible rule now.