The U.S. protects doctor’s right to refuse abortion or “sex change”
United States bishops welcomed the new laws protecting doctors' right to refuse abortion or sex change. Amendments had been made under so-called Obamacare, a law reforming the American health system, signed by the previous president in 2010. It was the largest health care reform in the U.S. since the mid-1960s. One of the changes it introduced was a ban on federal funding of all programmes that "discriminate on grounds of sex."
In 2016, an amendment was introduced to the Act which recognised such discrimination as, for example, the refusal to kill an unborn child or “sex change” surgery by a doctor or an institution providing medical services. In practice, doctors were therefore deprived of the opportunity to object in conscience and could even be prosecuted for discrimination based on sex.
In a recent ruling, the Department of Health stated that the 2016 ordinance did not properly extend the definition of such discrimination and exceeded the scope of delegated powers by Congress.
In the opinion of the United States Episcopate, the new rules will also help restore rights to health care providers – as well as insurers and employers – who refuse to provide or pay for abortion or “gender reassignment” because of ethical or professional concerns.
American bishops emphasised that Catholic health care serves everyone who needs it, regardless of who they are or where they come from.