Most People Say Health Workers Shouldn’t Refuse Care on Moral Grounds


Most Americans are not on board with President Donald Trump’s recent decision to further protect health care workers who refuse to treat patients on religious or moral grounds, the latest HealthDay/Harris Poll shows.

More than eight of 10 surveyed do not believe doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care providers should be allowed to use their conscience or beliefs to refuse care.

Majorities agreed that health providers should not be able to refuse to treat a patient based on religious objections to their sexual orientation (69 percent) or to refuse to perform surgical procedures because they have a religious objection to them (59 percent).

“In reply to all of the questions, regardless of which services were being provided, or which patients were being treated, only relatively small minorities of the public believe that providers should be allowed to refuse to provide care,” said Deana Percassi, managing director, public relations research practice for The Harris Poll.

The online poll included more than 2,000 U.S. adults and was conducted in late January.

The Trump administration announced last month that medical professionals who feel their rights have been violated can now file a complaint with a new conscience and religious freedom division of the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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SOURCES: Frederick Isasi, MPH, executive director, Families USA; Robert Truog, M.D., director, Center for Bioethics, Harvard Medical School, Boston; statement from The Heritage Foundation; Deana Percassi, managing director, public relations research practice, The Harris Poll; Feb. 8, 2018, HealthDay/Harris Poll

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