Trump team wants to let doctors refuse to treat patients they don't like


New proposed rules from Trump's health department would let bigoted health care professionals discriminate against patients.

The Trump administration is trying to allow doctors and health care professionals to refuse to do their jobs if they can come up with a moral objection to providing proper care to their patients.

Politico reported Thursday that Trump's Health and Human Services (HHS) is preparing to roll out multiple rules which would allow doctors and nurses to refuse treatment to a wide variety of patients, such as transgender people or women who had an abortion, and refuse to offer a wide variety of services — like sterilization, end-of-life care, or even vaccinating children.

The rules would essentially let doctors refuse to treat people they don't like, and refuse to do the parts of their job they don't like.

The Trump administration has been working on these pro-discrimination rules for more than a year, according to Politico.

One rule, which could be released in the next 10 days, would give broad leeway to health care professionals who refuse to do their jobs due to religious or moral objections. Such a broad rule means doctors and nurses could refuse to vaccinate children if they have moral objections to vaccines.

The proposed rule "would legitimize discrimination against vulnerable patients and in fact create a right to refuse to provide certain treatments or services," according to the American Medical Association (AMA), which objected to the proposed rule.

Health care professionals would be free to use bigotry as an excuse to refuse to provide services related to "abortion, contraception (including sterilization), vaccination, end-of-life care, mental health, and global health support, and could include health care services provided to patients who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ)," the AMA said.

If Trump gets his way, health care professionals could refuse treatment to a pregnant woman in a life-threatening situation if such treatment included an emergency abortion, according to Adam Sonfield, a health care expert with the Guttmacher Institute.

Another rule would give doctors the green light to discriminate against transgender patients.

That rule would roll back an Obama-era rule which included transgender patients in existing nondiscrimination protections. In 2016, a Texas judge temporarily halted the implementation of the Obama-era rule pending a lawsuit. Since then, the Trump administration has signaled to the court that they planned on changing the rule to erase the protections for transgender patients.

According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, the discrimination Trump wants to allow would go beyond transition-related procedures, and would give health care professionals free reign to refuse even routine care for patients based on their gender identity.

The Trump administration has done its best to dismantle health care protections for Americans. When Republicans were in charge of Congress, Trump championed efforts to rip away health insurance from millions of people, as well as destroy protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

More recently, Trump tried to institute a gag rule on doctors, preventing them from even discussing abortion with their patients. On Tuesday, a federal judge stopped that rule from going into effect.

Americans rejected Trump's attacks on health care when they elected a Democratic House majority that promised to protect and strengthen health care laws.

Yet the Trump administration is still trying to make it harder for Americans to get the care they need.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.