WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) applauds the United States District Court in New York for rejecting a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rule that would shield health professionals who refuse to deliver care or services based on religious belief or moral conviction. ACEP looks forward to additional states acting to invalidate this flawed regulation.
Denying emergency care or delaying emergency services based on the religious or moral beliefs of a medical provider is unethical and dangerous. Further, refusing to care for patients who require emergency medical attention could violate federal law (EMTALA).
The HHS regulation fails to recognize the unique and vital nature of emergency medicine and opens the door to discrimination by institutions or individuals that are expected to prioritize patient care and safety ahead of personal beliefs.