By Tal Axelrod
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is delaying the implementation of its “conscience protection” rule until November to give the administration more time to deal with a lawsuit over the policy.
HHS announced in a court filing Saturday that the rule, which was originally scheduled to take effect July 22, would not be implemented until Nov. 22 at the earliest.
A coalition of Democratic-led states filed a lawsuit against the administration in May saying the policy, which would allow health care providers to refuse to provide services on the basis of their religious beliefs, is unconstitutional.
“The federal government is giving health care providers free license to openly discriminate and refuse care to patients – a gross misinterpretation of religious freedom that will have devastating consequences on communities throughout the country,” New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) said in a statement after filing the suit.
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