Conscience Regulations and Litigations

August 29, 2022

2008 Conscience Rule

under the George W. Bush Administration


2011 Conscience Rule

under the Barack Obama Administration*


2019 Conscience Rule

under the Donald Trump Administration*


2019 Conscience Rule Litigation

HHS Office for Civil Rights

After the 2019 conscience rule was vacated, the HHS Office for Civil Rights announced it would “continue to receive and investigate complaints under its 2011 conscience rule.” Read More >>

Federal Court Case

Dr. Regina Frost

In December 2019, Freedom2Care / Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) announced our intention to appeal a New York federal court’s ruling against the 2019 regulation with Becket.

Religious healthcare professionals like Dr. Regina Frost, an Ob/Gyn, care for all patients and are consistently on the frontlines serving the most vulnerable members of our society, including underserved poor and migrant communities; victims of gang violence, sex trafficking, opioid addiction and deadly epidemics; and prisoners living with HIV. In May 2019, HHS released a new conscience rule enforcing existing laws that allow religious healthcare professionals to continue their important work without having to perform certain procedures that would be inconsistent with their beliefs. Several states, including the state of New York, are now suing to block this rule and force Dr. Frost and others to either violate their conscience or end their practice. Becket is defending medical conscience rights for religious healthcare professionals nationwide so that they can continue their ministry providing compassionate care across the globe.

On June 25, 2019, Becket moved to intervene on behalf of Dr. Frost and CMDA in federal court, arguing that no healthcare professional should be forced to choose between violating her conscience or providing compassionate medical care. On November 6, 2019, a federal court ruled against the conscience rule, threatening the ability of religious doctors like Dr. Frost to serve communities without being forced to perform procedures against their beliefs. CMDA, Dr. Frost and HHS appealed to the Second Circuit, and filed their opening briefs on April 27, 2020.

Track the Case >>

*The  2019 conscience protection rule by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is currently in litigation, though the 2011 rule remains in effect.

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