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HHS Rule legalizing religious discrimination in medicine struck down

Back in May, Trump pushed through a HHS administrative rule that permits medical workers to deny services based on their personal religious beliefs. As that NPR article suggests, this was unusually egregious even for a Thing Trump Did. The rule would have permitted doctors to refuse even emergency abortions… or allowed the person at the check-in desk to refuse to admit a patient seeking an abortion… or allowed a religious-affiliated hospital to blanket-deny birth control to its patients. And so forth. There really was no bottom to this hole. 

Today, US District Judge Paul Engelmayer granted summary judgment to the plaintiffs, agreeing that the rule was facially unconstitutional, and vacating it in its entirety. Buh-bye.

Potentially, that’s still open to appeal, so we’re not out of the woods on this one completely, but the barrier to overturn this ruling will (should) be high. This was a high profile piece of Trump’s efforts to subvert democracy in the name of “religious freedom” (that is, of course, nothing of the sort). Add it to the pile of reasons to celebrate today, and a reminder of why we have to keep the initiative over the next year (and beyond).

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