Attorney General Becerra Files FOIA Request Seeking Answers About Trump Administration’s Proposed Religious Conscience Rule
The new rule would allow Americans to be denied care based on religious or moral beliefs
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) seeking information about the Trump Administration’s new proposed rule, the so-called Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care, and new delegation of authority to create a new division within the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The proposed rule, issued in January, would allow broad sweeping refusals of care based on religious or moral beliefs.
“No Californian should be denied care because of who they are, where they live, or what type of medical care they seek,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The Trump Administration owes it to the public to be transparent about the mission, work and need for such a drastic shift in policy that permits discrimination. As Attorney General, I am committed to fighting for Californians’ rights and access to care. More importantly, I stand ready to take action if those changes violate our Constitution and state’s laws.”
The Attorney General’s Office is seeking information regarding the proposed rule, including the reasoning behind the imposition of the rule and creation of the new office. The FOIA request also seeks the evidence that HHS relied on in making its decision. The FOIA request encompasses all records and data relating to the 34 complaints that the OCR received and later used to justify the need for the new division.
Earlier this year, the Administration held a comment period for the proposed rule. In response, Attorney General Becerra submitted a comment letter to HHS claiming the proposed division would target California and its interest in protecting its residents, healthcare industry, licensees, and consumer laws; exceeds congressional authority; and undermines the Constitution and federal law, including the Affordable Care Act, Title X, Title VII, and the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act.
A copy of the FOIA request is attached to the electronic version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news.