Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has joined 22 government officials and healthcare providers in asking a U.S. District Court in New York to block the Trump administration’s “final conscience rule.”
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s (HHS) website, the rule allows providers to decline certain services that go against their religious beliefs or conscience. That could include procedures like abortions or sterilizations, according to HHS.
The final conscience rule was first proposed in 2018 as an expansion of a similar rule issued in 2011. In a Sept. 5 court filing, Ellison and more than a dozen other attorneys general allege that the new rule undermines the delivery of health care services by allowing a broader range of health care workers to refuse services.
The HHS website bills the final conscience rule as aligning with President Donald Trump’s promise to “promote and protect the [longstanding] fundamental and unalienable rights of conscience and religious liberty.” But opponents of the rule see it as unconstitutional.
In the court filing, the attorneys general argue that the rule reduces health care access for “large numbers of people,” including women, LGBTQ people, and refugees.
There was an initial attempt to block the final conscience rule soon after its proposal. Attorneys general in 18 states—including Minnesota—and the District of Columbia submitted a comment letter to the administration urging the rule be withdrawn. Regardless, the rule was adopted in May of this year.
After its adoption, the same coalition filed a lawsuit against the administration, arguing it would undermine the delivery of health care. In June, the coalition followed up with a preliminary injunction to prevent implementation of the rule, which was slated for July. The U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York then delayed implementation, and it remains in limbo.
The new request Ellison co-signed is a motion for summary judgment calling for the court to determine whether the rule violates federal law and the U.S. constitution.
“I will not let the Trump administration let any Minnesotan get sick, suffer, or die because they think your life is worth less than someone else’s,” Ellison said in a press release. “Health care is a human right. Discrimination violates human rights. It’s that simple.”