Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser has sued the Trump administration once more, joining more than a dozen other states in challenging a rule that would broaden the ability of health care workers to refuse to provide abortions out of personal or moral objection.
The Department of Health and Human Services policy is set to take effect in July and also requires hospitals, universities, clinics and other entities that receive federal funding to certify compliance with some 25 federal laws protecting conscience and religious rights.
“A patient’s access to quality, affordable healthcare should not be driven by the personal beliefs or the discriminatory practices of one individual or organization,” Weiser, a Democrat, said in a written statement Tuesday. “This refusal of care rule threatens to cause incredible mischief. It is wrong, unnecessary, and threatens to do real harm.”
The attorney general’s office says the rule conflicts with Colorado laws, including ones that protect a women’s access to birth control.
This is not Weiser’s first legal action against the Trump administration involving abortion and contraception.
He has also sued the White House to prevent an increase in birth-control exemptions under the Affordable Care Act and joined another case challenging the administration’s so-called “gag rule” barring health clinics that get Title X funding from referring or discussing an abortion with a patient.
Other states that have signed onto the lawsuit include: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.
President Donald Trump’s health and human services department has previously said that past administrations haven’t done enough to protect such rights in the medical field.
The legal action was filed in a New York federal court.
The lawsuit, announced Tuesday, comes amid a renewed national debate on abortion following the passage of a strict law in Alabama that all but outlaws the procedure.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.