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Illinois Attorney General
Kwame Raoul

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March 06, 2023

Chicago Attorney General Kwame Raoul, as part of a coalition of 22 attorneys general, today supported a proposed federal rule that protects access to health care for all individuals. The proposed rule rescinds portions of the 2019 Healthcare Refusal Rule, which allowed anyone working in health care to broadly refuse to provide care based on religious or moral beliefs.

In the letter, Raoul and the coalition said the Biden administration’s proposed rule eliminates the problematic and illegal aspects of the federal government’s 2019 rule and better safeguards patients, including those in the LGBTQ+ community and those seeking abortions, from being denied access to critical or lifesaving health services. The 2019 rule also threatened to cut off essential federal health care funding to states for a single breach of the rule.

“Every patient seeking health care should be able to do so without fear of discrimination or being denied critical and lifesaving health services,” Raoul said. “I will continue to advocate for fair and equitable access to quality health care services in Illinois, and I stand in support of the federal government’s efforts to prohibit discrimination in health care.”

The 2019 Healthcare Refusal Rule was successfully blocked in multiple lawsuits nationwide. In January, the Biden administration announced a new proposed rule that seeks to rescind portions of the 2019 rule.

In the letter, Raoul and the attorneys general expressed their support of the new proposed rule, arguing that it:

  • Protects vulnerable populations, including LGBTQ+ communities and people seeking reproductive care, by revoking the most dangerous parts of the 2019 rule that opened them up to discrimination and threatened to exacerbate preexisting health care inequities.
  • Strikes a better balance between safeguarding conscience rights of individual medical providers and protecting access to health care for patients.
  • Corrects portions of the 2019 rule that are redundant, confusing or have been deemed illegal by courts in litigation brought by the states, local governments and health care providers.
  • Protects federal funding for states’ public health care and other federally-funded programs that provide crucial health, education and labor services.

Joining Raoul in filing the comment letter are the attorneys general of Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington and Vermont.