Shaheen & Group of Senators File Amicus Brief Calling for the Overturn of Discriminatory HHS Rule Threatening Access to Health Care for Millions of Americans

August 05, 2020

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and a group of Senators filed an amicus brief in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to support litigation that would overturn a Trump administration rule that threatens access to health care for millions of Americans.

The case challenges a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rule finalized in May 2019 that would dramatically expand the scope of existing federal refusal statutes and, in doing so, amplify the ability of health care providers to refuse care, services and even information to patients on the basis of moral or religious objections. If implemented, the rule threatens to embolden discrimination and undermine access to care—consequences which would be borne disproportionately by those who already face systemic barriers to care, including women, LGBTQ patients, people of color, people living with disabilities, individuals in rural areas and others. 

“HHS impermissibly sought to override Congress’s policymaking decisions and prioritize the Administration’s policy objectives over those established by Congress,” the Senators wrote. “The rule’s expansive and vague definitions threaten to embolden a wide range of objectors to deny or block reproductive healthcare or care to LGBTQ individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The full brief can be found here