FIRST ON FOX: Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio introduced legislation Wednesday that would ban government agencies and federally funded hospitals from forcing employees to partake in programs that “promote radical gender ideology.”
“It is deeply disturbing to see the progressive left infiltrate the American healthcare system and compromise the quality of patient care in the process. I am introducing the Protecting Conscience in Healthcare Act to stop this harmful, radical gender ideology in American hospitals and healthcare facilities,” Rubio said in comment on the legislation, which was exclusively obtained by Fox News Digital.
The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and J.D. Vance (R-OH).
Rubio pointed to a recent article from the Washington Free Beacon in his press release on the legislation, which uncovered “coordination between more than 2,200 health systems in the U.S. and the Human Rights Campaign,” the nation’s largest LGBTQ political lobbying organization.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has a ranking system for hospitals called the Healthcare Equality Index, which assess health care providers’ “policies and practices related to the equity and inclusion of their LGBTQ+ patients, visitors and employees,” according to the HRC’s website.
The Free Beacon reported in May that the 2022 index was funded by Pfizer and a trade group that represents pharmaceutical companies called PhRMA. The index ranks hospital systems on criteria such as conducting HRC-approved LGBTQ-focused training for staff, if the hospitals display symbols supporting the gay, lesbian and trans community, or the use of patient’s preferred pronouns.
Dozens of children’s hospitals also use the index, with the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., receiving 2022’s highest score.
“To earn a high score on the HRC’s index, hospitals must conduct training that advocates radical gender ideology, display pro-LGBTQ symbols, force employees to use patients’ preferred pronouns, and use the same treatments for gender dysphoria that they use for other medical conditions, such as precocious puberty,” Rubio’s office said in the press release.
“Furthermore, the index penalizes hospitals for allowing religious and medical conscience exemptions, calling these ‘discriminatory treatment.'”
Under Rubio’s legislation, employees of hospitals would not be required to attend an event celebrating or affirming a person’s “identity that is incongruent with an individual’s sex,” require an employee to use a patient’s preferred pronoun or require an employee to share their preferred pronoun with colleagues and patients.
“No Federal or State government or agency, or covered entity shall require an employee to participate in a seminar, workshop, training, or other educational or professional activity, or in using a curriculum, that advocates for the idea that an individual can have an identity that is incongruent with their sex,” the legislation reads.
Religious freedom is at the heart of Rubio’s legislation, which states that the bill would “protect health care workers and other government employees from various forms of compelled speech.”
The legislation would prohibit a hospital from firing an employee “based on their religious or moral beliefs” or if “the employee refuses to support, condone, or acknowledge someone’s professed identity that is incongruent with sex.”
The Florida senator has previously called out woke rhetoric within health care, including in May when he wrote a letter to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for “prioritizing” woke initiatives such as promoting diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives as well as gender surgeries.
Rubio charged in the letter that the “NIH has completely catered to the administration’s woke rhetoric instead of the science of so called ‘gender-affirming care.’” He also said the NIH is championing gender surgeries and puberty blockers as “safe” while rolling out projects that are “harming patients, and then considering the study a success.”