LOS ANGELES (AP) - California has joined nearly two dozen states and municipalities in suing the federal government to stop a new rule that lets health care clinicians decline to provide abortions and other services that conflict with their moral or religious beliefs.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit Tuesday in San Francisco that calls the rule unlawful, reckless and contradictory to laws that seek to protect patients from discrimination and ensure access to care.
The California lawsuit said the rule issued by the Department of Health and Human Services creates a broad exemption for any individual, entity or provider to deny patients basic health care, even in emergencies.
"A provider can therefore deny service on the basis of a hunch or prejudice, without any supporting evidence, without notifying a supervisor of the denial of service, and without providing notice or alternative options and/or referrals to patients in need," the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit says the rule effectively authorizes discrimination and could curb access to health care for LGBTQ residents, among others.
Twenty-three states and municipalities brought a similar lawsuit Tuesday in federal court in New York.
The city of San Francisco sued over the regulation on May 2, hours after President Donald Trump announced it.