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HHS issues “provider conscience” regulations



January 22, 2018
Area(s) of Interest: Patient Care Women's Health 

Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it would form a new division within the HHS Office of Civil Rights to focus on provider conscience and religious freedom exemptions.


Following this announcement, HHS released a proposed rule that would expand existing protections for physicians and other providers who object to performing certain health care procedures. The proposed rule covers a wide array of existing federal laws that provide conscience protections, including those related to abortion, sterilization, assisted suicide and the performance of advance directives. 


The California Medical Association (CMA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) have long-standing policy supporting a woman’s access to reproductive services. We have also strongly supported access to care for patients who may experience discrimination when receiving medical care. CMA and AMA will be closely tracking the activities of this new division and we will continue to defend access to women’s reproductive services and health care without discrimination. CMA and AMA are reviewing the proposed regulation in more detail and will keep physicians informed as the regulations are developed.

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