On June 11, 2019, the National Women’s Law Center, along with Planned Parenthood, Democracy Forward, and the law firm Covington and Burling, filed a lawsuit to block a Trump Administration rule that would make it harder for people to access health care, including abortion. The “refusal of care” rule would give virtually any individual or entity involved in patient care the right to determine the care a patient receives—or does not receive—based on their personal beliefs.
Our lawsuit argues that the Trump Administration’s rule unlawfully expands the scope of existing harmful federal refusal statutes and ignores several federal laws, including Title VII, the federal law prohibiting employment discrimination, and EMTALA, a longstanding law requiring hospitals to care for patients in emergency situations. Our suit also explains how the rule violates the Affordable Care Act, by creating unreasonable barriers to health care, and the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, by favoring the beliefs of religious objectors at the expense of patients served by health care providers.
On November 6, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York struck down the refusal of care rule in its entirety. The Department of Health and Human Services appealed the decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, but, after the 2020 presidential election resulted in a change of administration, the court put our case on hold pending a review of the rule by the Biden administration.
Complaint – 6.11.19