U.S. health officials said on Friday they were revoking legal guidance issued by the Obama administration that had sought to discourage states from trying to defund organizations that provide abortion services, such as Planned Parenthood.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials also said the department was issuing a new regulation aimed at protecting healthcare workers’ civil rights based on religious and conscience objections.
The regulation protects the rights of healthcare workers from providing abortion, euthanasia, and sterilization, the officials said during a media call with reporters.
On Thursday, HHS said it was creating a new division that would focus on conscience and religious objections, a move it said was necessary after years of the federal government forcing healthcare workers to provide such services.
HHS will issue a letter on Friday to state Medicaid offices rescinding 2016 guidance that the Obama administration gave after states including Indiana had tried to defund abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood.