Speaker Nancy Pelosi has hit out at the Trump administration’s newly-announced ‘freedom to discriminate’ rules for healthcare workers.
Pelosi led a stinging rebuke after Trump unveiled new rules that permit healthcare workers the right to discriminate based on their religious beliefs before an audience of conservative evangelical leaders at a May 2 White House reception.
The Department of Health and Human Services issued the new rules, extending rights for religious objection against an alleged “culture of hostility to conscience concerns in health care.”
It advises healthcare professionals: “You have the right under Federal law to decline to perform, assist in the performance of, refer for, undergo, or pay for certain health care‐related treatments, research, or services (such as abortion or assisted suicide, among others) that violate your conscience, religious beliefs, or moral convictions.”
Nancy Pelosi: Trump rules are ‘bigoted, downright deadly’
In a statement, Pelosi repeated concerns from equal rights groups, who fear the provision is tantamount to a license to discriminate against LGBT+ people.
The Democratic leader said: “These bigoted rules are immoral, deeply discriminatory and downright deadly, greenlighting open discrimination in health care against LGTBQ Americans and directly threatening the well-being of millions.
“Make no mistake: this is an open license to discriminate against Americans who already face serious, systemic discrimination.
“Since Day One, this Administration has waged a cruel campaign of intolerance and discrimination targeting the civil rights of our most vulnerable communities.
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“House Democrats fully, flatly reject these attacks on LGBTQ Americans and on the rights of all Americans to get the health care they need and will fight these hateful actions.”
Pelosi recently vowed to pass the Equality Act, a bill that would introduce federal protections outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity for the first time.
Although the bill is tipped to pass through the Democratic-controlled House, there have been few indications that it will gain enough backing in the Republican-controlled Senate.
LGBT+ campaigners have attacked the policy
Her criticism of the healthcare discrimination rules echo those of LGBT+ campaigners.
Human Rights Campaign Government Affairs Director David Stacy said: “The Trump-Pence administration’s latest attack threatens LGBTQ people by permitting medical providers to deny critical care based on personal beliefs.
“The administration’s decision puts LGBTQ people at greater risk of being denied necessary and appropriate health care solely based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Everyone deserves access to medically necessary care and should never be turned away because of who they are or who they love.”
GLAAD tweeted: “The Trump Administration essentially wants to hand people a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people.”
The ACLU added: “Trump’s HHS issued a rule today allowing for discrimination in health care when there is a ‘moral or religious objection.’
“Preventing people from accessing critical medical care may endanger people’s lives, especially trans people and those seeking reproductive care.”