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Photo: Buero Monaco/Getty Images

The Trump administration on Thursday announced new rules to make it easier for religious health care workers to object to providing care and procedures like abortions and sterilization that conflict with their religious or moral beliefs.

Why it matters: This is a top priority for religious conservatives who are closely allied with the Trump administration, which has prioritized expanding religious liberty protections. But critics argue that the administration is giving medical professionals a license to discriminate and that the rule would weaken protections for vulnerable patients, including gay and transgender individuals.

Details: The rule will go into effect in 60 days from its final publication and will be enforced by the HHS' Office of Civil Rights.

  • It mirrors similar efforts by the administration that protect conscience rights in the medical field. Last month, the administration signaled its intention to soon roll back an Obama-era policy extended to transgender patients. That policy has been blocked in the courts.

What they're saying:

"This rule ensures that healthcare entities and professionals won’t be bullied out of the health care field because they decline to participate in actions that violate their conscience, including the taking of human life. Protecting conscience and religious freedom not only fosters greater diversity in healthcare, it’s the law."
Roger Severino, director of HHS' Office of Civil Rights
"[The administration] will stop at nothing to strip patients of the care they deserve. This rule allows anyone from a doctor to a receptionist to entities like hospitals and pharmacies to deny a patient critical – and sometimes lifesaving – care. Personal beliefs should never determine the care a patient receives. This is a vicious and underhanded attack on the health and lives of patients, particularly targeting women and LGBTQ individuals. We will fight against it until all patients get the care they deserve."
Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women's Law Center

Go deeper: Trump administration poised to rescind transgender health protections

Go deeper

Ubisoft admits its handling of misconduct lost some workers' trust

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photos: Ubisoft, IGDB

Ubisoft management is acknowledging that its initial response to an ongoing and wide-reaching workplace misconduct scandal was flawed, even as it argues that its corrective actions were largely swift and correct.

Why it matters: Those comments, in an exclusive interview with Axios, come amid recent pushback from workers that the publisher of Assassin’s Creed and Just Dance hasn’t sufficiently addressed a cascade of #MeToo allegations since mid-2020.

Prosecutors “haven’t ruled out” charging school officials in Michigan shooting

Michigan school officials had the legal grounds to search alleged shooter Ethan Crumbley's backpack and locker but did not to do so, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald told CNN Monday.

Catch up quick: Crumbley has been charged with numerous felony counts related to terrorism and murder after opening fire at Oxford High School, killing four students and wounding seven other people.

Stuck jet stream brings blowtorch December in Lower 48, frigid Alaska

Short-term climate outlook for Dec. 13-19, 2021, from the Climate Prediction Center at NOAA. (NOAA/CPC)

The Lower 48 states have seen record-shattering warmth so far this December, with temperatures running as high as 35°F above average for this time of year. The warmth has been so pronounced that during the weekend, brush fires broke out in a snowless, unusually mild Denver metro area.

The big picture: The jet stream, which is a river of air that rides at about 30,000 feet along the temperature contrast between air masses, steering storms as it goes, has been stuck in a position well north of the continental U.S., keeping storms and cold weather at bay.