Family Equality Welcomes Court Decision Blocking Trump Administration “Conscience Rule” for Health Care Providers

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  Family Equality welcomes the decision announced today blocking the Trump administration’s “conscience rule” that allowed health care providers to refuse treatment or medical services on the basis of their religious beliefs. The rule, finalized by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) earlier this year and set to take effect later this month, was declared unconstitutional by U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer in Manhattan, ruling in a lawsuit brought by New York and nearly two dozen other states and municipalities.

“The so-called ‘Conscience Rule’ was part of the Trump Administration’s broader attempt to allow health care providers and other programs funded by HHS to prioritize their personal religious beliefs over the needs of the Americans they should be serving,” said The Rev. Stan J. Sloan, CEO of Family Equality. “Health care is a basic right and this rule would have allowed health care providers to discriminate openly, placing at risk the ability of millions of Americans to access critical services, including over 11 million LGBTQ+ people and their children.”

Anti-LGBTQ discrimination in health and human services doesn’t just hurt LGBTQ people, it hurts their children and families too. Approximately 20% of LGBTQ people are parents, and Family Equality has documented numerous instances of harm to children of LGBTQ-headed families when health providers are allowed to deny critical services.

Today’s decision blocking the “Conscience Rule” comes just days after HHS announced a separate proposed rule that would eliminate nondiscrimination protections across a broad swath of HHS programs, including the nation’s $7 billion federally-funded child-welfare system, including adoption and foster care programs. Family Equality is currently collecting comments opposing the rule announced Friday, and encourages those seeking to learn more or comment to visit . 

About Family Equality

Family Equality advances legal and lived equality for LGBTQ families, and for those who wish to form them, through building community, changing hearts and minds, and driving policy change. Family Equality believes every LGBTQ person should have the right and opportunity to form and sustain a loving family, regardless of who they are or where they live. Learn more at

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Media Contact:

Ed Harris, Chief Communications Officer / 646-880-3005 x117