Attorney General Frosh Seeks Preliminary Injunction to Stop Rule Permitting Health Care Discrimination

HHS Rule Would Expand Ability of Businesses and Individuals to Refuse to Provide Necessary Health Care on the Basis of Religious, Moral, Ethical, or Other Beliefs

News Release, Office of Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh

BALTIMORE, MD (June 14, 2019) – Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh joined a coalition of 23 cities, states, and municipalities in a motion filed today to seek a preliminary injunction to stop the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from implementing a Final Rule that would expand the ability of businesses and individuals to refuse to provide necessary health care on the basis of businesses’ or employees’ “religious beliefs or moral convictions.”

The motion is supported by declarations from 48 leading public health professionals from across the country.  The same coalition of 23 cities and states filed a lawsuit against HHS in May 2019 to challenge this discriminatory rule.  

“This rule would obstruct Marylanders’ ability to obtain the healthcare they need and deserve, and, in so doing, would create havoc in the delivery of health care.  It would put lives and health at risk in Maryland and across the country,” said Attorney General Frosh.  

The preliminary injunction seeks to stop the Final Rule from taking effect in July 2019, arguing that it would undermine the delivery of health care by giving a wide range of health care institutions and individuals a right to refuse care, based on the health provider’s own personal views.

The Final Rule makes this right of refusal absolute and categorical, and no matter what reasonable steps a health provider or employer makes to accommodate the views of an objecting individual, if that individual rejects a proposed accommodation, a provider or employer is left with no recourse.  For example, an emergency room doctor could refuse to assist a woman with a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, even if the woman’s life was in jeopardy.  

The Final Rule significantly expands the types of providers eligible to make these refusals, ranging from medical transport providers to emergency room doctors, receptionists, customer service representatives at insurance companies, and more.  Additionally, under the Final Rule, a hospital could not inquire of a prospective employee whether they objected to conducting a certain procedure, even if the procedure is a core duty of their job.

The lawsuit filed by the coalition alleges that the risk of noncompliance is the termination of hundreds billions of dollars in federal health care funding that states and localities rely on for countless programs to promote the public health of their residents.  The lawsuit argues that this drastic expansion of refusal rights, and the draconian threat of termination of federal funds, violates the federal Administrative Procedures Act and the Spending Clause and separation of powers principles in the U.S. Constitution.  

In addition to Maryland, the preliminary injunction was filed by Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, the City of New York, the City of Chicago, and Cook County, Illinois.  

The Southern Maryland Chronicle is a local, small business entrusted to provide factual, unbiased reporting to the Southern Maryland Community. While we look to local businesses for advertising, we hope to keep that cost as low as possible in order to attract even the smallest of local businesses and help them get out to the public. We must also be able to pay employees(part-time and full-time), along with equipment, and website related things. We never want to make the Chronicle a “pay-wall” style news site.

To that end, we are looking to the community to offer donations. Whether it’s a one-time donation or you set up a reoccurring monthly donation. It is all appreciated. All donations at this time will be going to furthering the Chronicle through hiring individuals that have the same goals of providing fair, and unbiased news to the community. For now, donations will be going to a business PayPal account I have set-up for the Southern Maryland Chronicle, KDC Designs. All business transactions currently occur within this PayPal account. If you have any questions regarding this you can email me at

Thank you for all of your support and I hope to continue bringing Southern Maryland the best news possible for a very long time. — David M. Higgins II

© 2019 The Southern Maryland Chronicle. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.