Debevoise Files Amicus Brief in Fight Against New Federal Rule Endangering Reproductive Health

27 June 2019

Seeing potential for immediate harm to the reproductive health of women, girls and other vulnerable populations including the LGBTQIA community, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has submitted an amicus brief on behalf of 11 leading medical organizations to stop the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services rule titled, “Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care". Signatories to the brief comprise the most prominent medical organizations in the United States, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

The brief supports preliminary injunctions filed by the plaintiffs in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for three cases: State of New York et al v. Azar II et al, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. et al v. Azar II et al and National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association et al v. Azar et al.

Debevoise argues in the brief that the rule will endanger patients’ lives in its total disregard for the ethical and medical standards at the foundation of the medical profession. By allowing doctors to refuse care for any reason, without disclosing their refusal, even when their refusal jeopardizes another’s life and safety, the rule endangers patients in every conceivable context—from infancy through end-of-life, in rural clinics and urban hospitals, from preventative care to life-or-death emergencies. It inverts the doctor-patient relationship in secrecy and at great expense to patients who rightfully expect medical professionals to put their needs first.

The Debevoise team is led by partner Shannon Rose Selden and counsel Anna A. Moody.

The American Medical Association is the largest professional association of physicians, residents, and medical students in the United States. The objectives of the AMA are to promote the science and art of medicine and the betterment of public health. The American Academy of Pediatrics was founded in 1930 and is a national, not-for-profit organization dedicated to furthering the interests of child and adolescent health. It represents more than 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists, and pediatric surgical specialists. The American College of Emergency Physicians represents more than 38,000 emergency physicians, emergency medicine residents and medical students. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is the specialty’s premier professional membership organization dedicated to the improvement of women’s health. It represents more than 90% of board-certified ob-gyns in the United States. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine is a multidisciplinary not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the science and practice of reproductive medicine.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a premier law firm with market-leading practices, a global perspective and strong New York roots. We deliver effective solutions to our clients’ most important legal challenges, applying clear commercial judgment and a distinctively collaborative approach.