“Hate has no Place in Healthcare!”
Nurses & healthcare workers decry cruel Federal rule that would
jeopardize patient safety for women, LGBTQI patients, and others
(San Francisco, CA) This morning, nurses, healthcare workers, and community allies spoke out to oppose a final rule change by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This rule change would destroy healthcare workers’ “duty to care” by allowing religious objections to care that will impact LGBTQI patients, women’s healthcare, and more.
A letter of support from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is available here.
Members of the Service Employees International Union Local 1021, Committee of Interns and Residents (SEIU), SEIU Nurse Alliance of California, faith leaders including Rev. Claire Bohman and Fresh “Lev” White, and Chief of Staff Dan Bernal from Speaker Pelosi’s San Francisco office all took part in this morning’s ceremony to speak out against the Trump administration’s discriminatory rule change.
Nurses and allies then symbolically chained themselves together with a string of paper hearts to represent their unity and commitment to caring for every patient and defending access to lifesaving care.
“Just as people with HIV were demonized in the 1980s, the federal government is again encouraging the unethical and inhumane treatment of patients and justifying it as ‘religious freedom.’ But healthcare providers, especially here in San Francisco, are committed to fighting for our patients and our profession,” said SEIU 1021 member Sasha Cuttler, a Registered Nurse at San Francisco General Hospital.
“Religiously observant healthcare workers learn, as the adults we are, how to navigate our choices of work, taking into account the realities of patient needs and own beliefs. It is incumbent on us to make job decisions that would never result in our denying a patient care. It is patients who need protections and a guarantee that they will be treated with dignity, and will have access to quality care, care as excellent and thorough as the next person. These inhumane rules from a Health (and supposedly) Human Services Department allow individual healthcare workers, as well as religiously based healthcare systems, to discriminate and withhold care,” said SEIU 1021 Mary Magee, RN.
SEIU Local 1021 represents nearly 60,000 employees in local governments, non-profit agencies, health care programs and schools throughout Northern California, including 20,000 in San Francisco. SEIU 1021 represents more than half of all workers employed by the City and County of San Francisco; registered nurses and other healthcare workers at the city’s hospitals, clinics, and jails; court workers, and nonprofit workers who provide care and support to the city’s most vulnerable populations.