News & Blog

Atheists: Religion Is No Excuse to Deny Access to Healthcare

In response to a federal court ruling on Tuesday that allows discrimination in the name of religion, American Atheists’ President Nick Fish released the following statement:

According to Judge Reed C. O’Connor’s decision, health care professionals can use religion to ignore the Affordable Care Act’s anti-discrimination protections for transgender Americans. A patient’s health must always come first. Allowing doctors to turn away patients for religious reasons is unconscionable, unethical, and unAmerican. Let’s be clear: If this decision stands, people will die.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which the court largely relied on to deny transgender Americans their right to basic healthcare, must be repealed. The same flawed analysis of this law has allowed taxpayer-funded child placement agencies to discriminate in the name of religion. Far from protecting religious freedom and equality, RFRA has been weaponized against tens of millions of Americans and created a “Get Out of the Law Free” card for bigots.

Earlier this year, Representative Joseph Kennedy introduced the Do No Harm Act to mitigate the worst impacts of RFRA by preventing religious exemptions from being used to allow discrimination or denial of health care. This outlying decision by an ideological judge emphasizes the need for this bill. We encourage the U.S. House of Representatives to take up this issue and pass this critical bill to protect the health and safety of all Americans.