Twenty-one states introduced legislation this year to either institute or expand moral conscience laws called Medical Conscience Objection laws. These measures seek to protect health care professionals who refuse to perform an abortion or provide transgender services. The exception is emergency rooms, where the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act takes precedence.
Background: In 1973, federal regulations known as the Church Amendments were implemented after the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. Under the Church Amendments, any institution receiving funds from the federal Department of Health and Human Services may not require health care providers to perform abortion or sterilization procedures if doing so would violate their religious or moral principles. Additionally, providers who refuse to perform these services may not be discriminated against for their decision.
Why it matters:
While initially seeking to provide legal protections for health care professionals refusing to provide abortion or sterilization services, the bills introduced this year go even further to include contraception, gender-affirming care, and other services. (article)