National Women’s Law Center
May 30, 2023
A health care provider’s personal beliefs should never dictate health care. Yet a federal law known as the Weldon Amendment allows personal beliefs, not patient health and the standard of care, to determine the care a patient receives.
The Weldon Amendment is a rider that has been attached to the annual Labor-HHS appropriations bill in Congress since 2005. Although it is written to prohibit any entity subject to the rider from “discriminat[ing]” against certain health care entities – including hospitals, health insurance plans, doctors, and nurses – that refuse to provide, cover, pay for, or refer for abortion, it really allows health care providers to discriminate against patients by denying them the care they need. There are no provisions in the Weldon Amendment to protect patient access to abortion services.