A federal judge in New York today voided the Department of Health and Human Services’ 2019 final rule concerning certain statutory conscience rights in health care on lack of statutory authority and constitutional grounds. Released in May and originally scheduled to take effect July 22, the final rule replaced a 2011 rule and, among other things, detailed how HHS' Office for Civil Rights intended to ensure compliance. “The Conscience Provisions recognize and protect undeniably important rights,” U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer states in the opinion. “The Court’s decision today leaves HHS at liberty to consider and promulgate rules governing these provisions. In the future, however, the agency must do so within the confines of the [Administrative Procedure Act] and the Constitution.” The case combined challenges to the rule by 23 states and cities, Planned Parenthood and others.
 

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