By a vote of 118-42, the Missouri House of Representatives passed HB 457. A second vote is required before the bill can move to the state senate for consideration. The bill provides protection for individuals and institutions with respect to abortion, sterilization that is not medically necessary, embryonic stem cell research, assisted reproduction and contraception. [Associated Press]
The Health Care Conscience Rights Act has been introduced by Congresswoman Dianne Black of Tennessee, Congressman Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska and Congressman Doctor John Fleming of Louisiana. It is supported by fifty members of the US House of Representatives. The measure, and others like it, are supported by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. Similarly, a letter sent to the House leadership in late February by 14 members of Congress, 13 of them women,asked that freedom of conscience be legally protected. They wrote, “Congress cannot ignore the relentless assault on the First Amendment right to religious freedom.”
Senate Bill 514 and House Bill 1185, identical bills that have been introduced in the Tennessee General Assembly, provide protection for students in post-secondary psychology, social work or counselling programmes who, by reason of religious beliefs, are unable to provide a client with the kind of counselling or therapy being sought. The bills require objecting students to refer clients to another counsellor.