Written by Don Byrd

[UPDATE 5/7/19: The City of San Francisco has announced a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s rule.]

[UPDATE 2 – 5/7/19: For more perspective on this issue, see Emma Green’s report for The Atlantic.]

During remarks for a National Day of Prayer event at the White House earlier today, President Trump announced a new rule that addresses religious exemptions for health care providers. The Washington Post reports:

The final rule regarding health care — issued by the Department of Health and Human Services — explicitly mentions abortion, sterilization, assisted suicide and advance directives as issues, and says that individuals and entities — from medical students to people who prep patients before operations to charitable groups — could object on religious or moral grounds.

It also includes language that supporters and opponents alike said would ratchet up parents’ right to dictate whether their children receive several types of care… And in any state that allows parents to exercise religious objections to childhood vaccines or to testing newborns for hearing loss, doctors must heed those parents’ wishes.

You can read the final rule here.

While he was at it, the President used the occasion to revisit some of his favorite religious-themed topics: suggesting incorrectly that his administration brought an end to the Johnson Amendment (it’s still in effect and would require an act of Congress to repeal), and declaring victory again in the War on Christmas, claiming that during his presidency “we’re back to saying Merry Christmas again in this country.”