WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), this week filed an amicus brief in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals with 22 Senate Democrats to support litigation that would overturn a Trump administration rule that would threaten access to health care for millions of Americans.
“HHS impermissibly sought to override Congress’s policymaking decisions and prioritize the Administration’s policy objectives over those established by Congress,” the senators wrote. “The rule’s expansive and vague definitions threaten to embolden a wide range of objectors to deny or block reproductive healthcare or care to LGBTQ individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The case challenges a rule finalized in May 2019 that would dramatically expand the scope of existing federal refusal statutes and, in doing so, amplifying the ability of health care providers to refuse care, services and even information to patients on the basis of moral or religious objections. If implemented, the rule threatens to embolden discrimination and undermine access to care—consequences which would be borne disproportionately by those who already face systemic barriers to care, including women, LGBTQ patients, people of color, people living with disabilities, individuals in rural areas and others.
The brief was also signed by Senators Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Merkley (D-Ore.), Baldwin (D-Wis.), Brown (D-Ohio), Booker (D-N.J.), Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Harris (D-Calif.), Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Shaheen (D-N.H.), King (I-Maine), Markey (D-Mass.), Hirono (D-Hawaii.), Reed (D-R.I.), Warren (D-Mass.), Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Bennet (D-Colo.), Menendez (D-N.J.), Duckworth (D-Ill.), Smith (D-Minn.), Rosen (D-Nev.), Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Klobuchar (D-Minn.), as well as 133 Democratic members from the House of Representatives, led by Reps. Brownley (D-Calif.), DeGette (D-Colo.), Lee (D-Calif.), and Nadler (D-N.Y.).
The full brief can be found here.