A morals clause at the emergency room: Your legislature at work | Arkansas Blog

A morals clause at the emergency room: Your legislature at work

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The chamber of horrors known as the Arkansas legislature rolls on. Latest installment: A "freedom of conscience" bill for health care providers from Sens. Jason Rapert and Linda Collins-Smith and Rep. Brandt Smith.

It would:

Protect as a basic civil right the right of healthcare providers, healthcare institutions, and healthcare payers to decline to counsel, advise, provide, perform, assist, or participate in providing or performing healthcare services that may violate their consciences;
Example: If the only emergency room doctor on duty has a moral objection to abortion, he or she may be held harmless for refusing to assist in terminating a life-threatening pregnancy.

The bill has a richly hypocritical section that says public money may not be denied on account of a health agency's refusal to provide a particular service on moral grounds. These same legislators want to DENY money to Planned Parenthood for providing a legal medical service of which they disapprove. In other words, moral beliefs are OK as long as they fit with the sponsors' religion.

There's much more. For example, insurance companies or employers who pay for health services can assert a moral right to refuse coverage. Read it all here.

PS: I should add this is NOT only about abortion. It's about persecuting transgender and gay people, too. It, for that matter, would absolve providers who wanted to refuse treatment to the obese and tipplers on moral grounds. Thieves and adulterers, too, if that Ten Commandments Rapert likes to talk about has anything to say about it.



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