The White House is reviewing a new rule that would empower the office in charge of civil rights at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to protect health workers who have moral objections to performing abortions or treating transgender patients, according to Politico.
The new protections, which originated at HHS, would reportedly protect workers who object to performing abortions and treating transgender patients while punishing organizations that did not permit them to express their opposition.
Politico reports that the new rule could be released this week.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) ripped the rule, calling it unethical.
“It wasn’t enough to try to strip transgender Americans of their right to serve, roll back access to birth control, and attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. Now Trump, Pence, and their Republican cronies want to allow health care workers to discriminate and rip away access to medical care. This rule is unethical and dangerously undermines public health," DNC Director of Women’s Media Elizabeth Renda and Director of LGBTQ Media Lucas Acosta said in a joint statement.
The Hill has reached out to the White House and HHS for comment.
The head of the civil rights division at HHS has spoken out in the past against giving treatment to transgender patients looking to transition.
“On the basis of religious teachings, moral reasoning, scientific evidence, and medical experience, many have strong grounds to hold that one’s sex is an immutable characteristic,” Roger Severino wrote in a 2016 Heritage Foundation report, cited by Politico.
“Many involved in providing medical care and those enrolled in health insurance plans have serious objections to participating in or paying for sex-reassignment surgeries or gender transitions," he continued.
The Trump administration has been highly critical of Obama-era policies that worked to roll back George W. Bush-era protections that protected health care workers from performing procedures that went against their moral and religious beliefs.
The report comes as the House of Representatives is set to vote on legislation Friday that would inflict criminal penalties on doctors who don't provide proper medical care to infants who survive abortions.
The vote would fall on the same day as the March for Life, an annual conservative protest of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision in Washington.
Updated at 2:49 p.m.