APA Concerned about Decision to Broaden Religious Based Exemptions in Health Care

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Yesterday the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the creation of a new Conscience and Religious Freedom Division within the Office of Civil Rights. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is concerned that broadening religious exemptions for health care providers would allow them to discriminate and deny care because of a patient's gender identity, sexual orientation or reproductive health decisions. In response, the APA is issuing this statement from its CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A.:

"I am deeply concerned that our patients – many of whom already face unique health challenges – may now be denied care or even information about health options because of their providers' personal beliefs. We know that discriminatory policies harm our patients' mental health and well-being. Laws allowing religious refusals of care must avoid harming patients' health or imposing another's moral beliefs on patients."

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 37,000 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment.

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