U.S. federal court delays adoption of healthcare rule on abortion

FILE PHOTO – A imaging table inside the Reproductive Health Services of Planned Parenthood St. Louis Region, Missouri’s sole abortion clinic, in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. May 28, 2019. REUTERS/Lawrence Bryant

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its opponents in a California lawsuit agreed on Friday to delay implementing a rule that would allow medical workers to decline performing abortions or other treatments on moral or religious grounds, according to a federal court filing.

The rule, which was due to take effect on July 22, will now be delayed for final consideration until Nov. 22, the filing said.

The move comes after President Donald Trump’s administration announced the rule earlier in May. It has also championed several policies to restrict abortion both in the United States and abroad.

Known as the “Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care; Delegations of Authority,” the measure aims to protect conscience and religious rights surrounding abortion, sterilization and assisted suicide, HHS officials have said.

Planned Parenthood and other nonprofits offering family-planning services argue that the rule, if implemented, would impose heavy costs on healthcare providers dependent on federal funding, which they could lose by refusing to comply.

Reporting by Katanga Johnson; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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