Proposed Rescission of Provider Conscience Rule is Published

Pursuant to the Obama administration’s announced intent to reverse a midnight regulation governing health care providers, the Department of Health and Human Services has published in the Federal Register its proposed rescission of the so-called provider conscience rule, published on December 19, 2008. The rule prohibits employment discrimination against health care workers if they harbor religious or moral objections to providing certain services such as abortion and the dispensing of birth control. This rule was controversial not only because it might have limited women’s access to certain health care services, but also because it subjected employers to potentially conflicting laws regarding religious discrimination in the workplace.

Comments on this proposed rescission are due by April 9, 2009. Such comments may be submitted electronically at Click on the link: “Comment or Submission” and enter the keywords: “Rescission Proposal.” Alternatively, comments may be made via email to Written comments (one original and two copies) may also be sent to: Office of Public Health and Science, Department of Health and Human Services, Attention: Rescission Proposal Comments, Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Avenue, SW., Room 716G, Washington, DC 20201.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.