Ohio Passes Controversial Conscience Clause for Doctors
Last week, Ohio Republican Gov. Mark DeWine signed Ohio’s budget into law with a controversial “conscience clause” intact. This provision gives medical practitioners the freedom to refuse medical services that violate their “moral, ethical, or religious beliefs.”
The conscience clause is opposed by some progressive and pro-choice organizations, who argue that it will make it more difficult for LGBT people and women seeking contraceptives or abortions to get the medical care they desire.
The provision reads: “Notwithstanding any conflicting provision of the Revised Code, a medical practitioner, health care institution, or health care payer has the freedom to decline to perform, participate in, or pay for any health care service which violates the practitioner’s, institution’s, or payer’s conscience as informed by the moral, ethical, or religious beliefs or principles held by the practitioner, institution, or payer.”
It also specifies that “exercise of the right of conscience is limited to conscience-based objections to a particular health care service,” as opposed to protecting practitioners who object to serving a patient entirely.
At a news conference last Thursday, DeWine said, “I think we have to respect people’s right
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