March 11, 2022
The Ethics and Public Policy Center has partnered with the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Christ Medicus Foundation, and the Religious Freedom Institute to provide a new resource for health care professionals to secure their conscience and religious freedom rights under federal law.
The two-page guide explains the federal conscience protections that apply to health care professionals, students, and entities, as well as the religious nondiscrimination and accommodation rights health care employees are entitled to under federal law. It also explains how to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) if those rights have been violated.
“No health care professional or student should be required to perform, accommodate, or assist in abortion, sterilization, or assisted suicide procedures against their conscience. Federal law protects their right to decline. Any violations should be reported to HHS’s Office for Civil Rights, which is morally obligated to investigate,” said EPPC Senior Fellow Roger Severino, director of EPPC’s HHS Accountability Project and former director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights.
“Federal law protects employees’ religious beliefs, observances, and practices in the workplace, including health care. If a job duty or workplace policy conflicts with a health care employee’s religion, the employee should know he or she can request an accommodation. Generally, employers are legally obligated to provide a reasonable accommodation to employees who object to providing services or participating in procedures that violate their sincerely held religious beliefs—including abortion, assisted suicide, contraception, ‘gender transition’ surgeries and services, and sterilization,” said EPPC Fellow Rachel Morrison, who works on EPPC’s HHS Accountability Project and is a former attorney advisor for the general counsel of the EEOC.