AG Bob Ferguson

SPOKANE, WA - A federal judge in Spokane Thursday ruled that the Trump Administration’s conscience rule is unlawful, granting summary judgment in Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s legal challenge.  The rule would allow health plans and providers to refuse to cover or perform services like abortion, contraception or gender transition procedures that they oppose on religious or moral grounds.

“The court agreed that all Washingtonians deserve to receive the full range of health care services,” Ferguson said.  “This rule would have disproportionately harmed rural and working poor Washington families, who have no alternatives to their local health care providers, as well as LGBTQ individuals, who already face discrimination when they seek medical care.”

Backers of the rule say it protects health care workers from having to violate their personal beliefs.  Ferguson's lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, argued that the rule would jeopardize access to reproductive health care, particularly for low-income, rural and working poor patients and allow providers to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals.