“California doesn’t seem to understand the First Amendment.”

U.S. Senator Ben Sasse issued the following statement today as a federal judge in San Francisco heard oral arguments in California’s lawsuit against the Trump Administration’s rule that protects medical workers with religious objections from being forced to provide or refer abortions or assisted suicides.

“California doesn’t seem to understand the First Amendment,” said Senator Sasse. “The First Amendment – especially our freedom to decide what we say and how we worship – is all about protecting the conscience rights of individuals. In this country, government can’t tell Nebraskans and Californians to check their faith at the door when they come to work. The Trump Administration is absolutely right to protect the conscience rights of healthcare workers who don’t want to perform abortions, and the State of California is dead wrong to oppose the First Amendment.”

Background: 

In May, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a final rule protecting the conscience rights of health care entities and individuals. 

As Roger Severino, the Director of the Office for Civil Rights at HHS, said at the time: “This rule ensures that healthcare entities and professionals won’t be bullied out of the health care field because they decline to participate in actions that violate their conscience, including the taking of human life. Protecting conscience and religious freedom not only fosters greater diversity in healthcare, it’s the law.” 

Today, a federal judge in San Francisco heard oral arguments in California’s lawsuit against those conscience protections.