Statement on the Department of Health and Human Services’ Conscience Protection Rule

Today, HHS officially issued in the Federal Register the official version of its so-called “conscience protection rule.” The rule authorizes not only a religiously-affiliated hospital or health center, but any individual working in health care at any institution that receives federal funds, to refuse to provide care of any kind that the individual objects to, for any reason. Whitman-Walker believes the rule is unlawful and discriminatory, and threatens serious harm to the communities we serve. We join with Lambda Legal and many other advocates in condemning this attack on LGBTQ people, women seeking reproductive health care, and others who already experience discrimination in hospitals, doctors’ offices, clinics and other health care providers. The rule upends basic principles of health care. Whitman-Walker is dedicated to our mission to offer affirming health and wellness services to all. For us, this means that we follow the ethical guidelines of all major health care professional groups to provide, direct, refer and collaborate to ensure that patients we serve get the care they need. Not only that, but we commit to do it in an affirming way. HHS’ rule will increase barriers to care and will significantly impact people across the nation. We stand firmly against this rule and together with our communities. We see you.

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