Medical providers’ conscience bill passes

Arkansas Democrat Gazette

Michael R. Wickline

Legislation aimed at protecting medical providers’ “right of conscience” won the approval of the Arkansas Senate on Wednesday over a warning from an opponent that it would clear the way for any medical provider to withhold treatment for most reasons.

The Senate voted 27-6 to send Senate Bill 289 by Sen. Kim Hammer, R-Benton, to the House for further consideration. The bill is called the “Medical Ethics and Diversity Act.”

Hammer said the bill is modeled on laws in Illinois and Mississippi.

“What this bill does is it provides a remedy that those medical providers who have a conscientious objection to be put in a situation that they prefer not to, that it provides them a means to defend themselves,” he said. . . [Full text]

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