New HHS civil rights division charged with protecting health-care workers with moral objections

Kelli Garcia, senior counsel at the National Women’s Law Center, said “the wording on the rule creating the office appears to open the door for discrimination against patients because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or a whole host of other reasons.” Garcia said she worries that cases of denied or delayed care could multiply, describing controversies like one in Michigan in 2015, when a pediatrician refused to see an infant because the parents are lesbians. Catholic Hospitals have been sued for delaying care to women in the midst of miscarriages, putting their health at risk, because there was still a fetal heartbeat. “The issue is this emboldens people who want to be able to deny this care,” she said.