Nebraska Republicans Aim To Pass Freedom Of Conscience Clause That Targets Women’s Health

Author: March 10, 2012 3:48 pm

Nebraska Republicans have made it a priority to pass a freedom of conscience clause that would allow doctors to refuse to perform procedures they object to such as abortions and just about any other procedure they have a religious, ethical, or moral objection to. Pharmacists would also be allowed to refuse to fill a woman’s prescription for birth control. It would also allow discrimination against homosexuals.

An amendment in Legislative Bill 461 protects doctors, pharmacists, insurers, lab technicians, counselors, and other medical professionals from discrimination lawsuits and consequences from employers and state license boards.

According to The Omaha World Herald,

“Under the amendment, health care providers could refuse to participate in any way, including providing referrals, in any type of health care or research that violates their religious, moral or ethical beliefs. Providers would be defined to include any employee of a health care facility, as well as students and a list of specific licensed professionals. It also would include health care facilities. Providers citing their conscience could not be disciplined, sued or discriminated against, including being moved to a different shift. The amendment bars consideration of whether an employee’s refusal creates an undue burden or hardship. Nor does it provide an exception for medical emergencies.”
This conscience clause would basically allow doctors to ignore women who need an emergency abortion to save their lives, just because they oppose the procedure on religious grounds. Doctors could also refuse to prescribe birth control and handle other medical services. And doctors could refuse to refer patients to other doctors who would provide care. The same goes for pharmacists too. They can refuse to fill contraception prescriptions and then refuse to refer women to other pharmacies.

This bill could allow anyone to use the excuse of religious freedom to discriminate against anyone. Essentially, white racists could refuse service to African-Americans and hide behind the conscience clause to get away with it. Anyone could hide behind it to discriminate against homosexuals.

This bill is dangerous. Not only could it lead to women dying because doctors refuse to help, it basically legalizes discrimination against several groups of people. Republicans are purposefully abusing religious liberty to justify their war against women, homosexuals, and minorities. Nebraska joins Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Georgia, Utah, and Arizona as states that are making every effort to show a disdain for women and other people they hate.


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  • In my opinion, the real issue in this bill isn’t the legal footing to refuse healthcare services it gives to healthcare providers–it is in the descriptions in Section 2 of the bill. Section 2, subsection 6 states,

    (6) Person means any individual, corporation, industry,
    firm, partnership, association, venture, trust, institution, federal, state or local governmental instrumentality, agency, or body or any other legal entity however organized.

    This is an extremely liberal interpretation of the concept “person”, and gives hospital administrators, healthcare association administrators, in fact anyone who RUNS such a “person” as a hospital or health clinic the ability to set policy for the entire “enterprise” that doesn’t conflict with the administrator’s “moral” or “religious” precepts.

    While I am not an expert in legal matters, from a cursory review of corporate personhood this bill appears to set precedent expanding the definition of corporate personhood radically. Now, according to this bill, not only are corporations legally people, but now entire industries can be classified as persons, as well as government agencies and bodies. With this bill the representatives of the State of Nebraska have declared themselves “in toto” to be a person, which is the only way most Republican’t politicians have to claim personhood of any kind.

    This definition of “person” allows the governing body of the State of Nebraska to refuse to allow abortions in their state. This is an extremely dangerous law, as it is impossible to gauge with any certainty what said “governing” body would refuse to do next, also because of their “religious” beliefs.

    God help us all.

  • Could we get the doctors and dentists of Nebraska to refuse to treat Republicans on moral grounds? They are sinfully bad for women’s health; downright evil, in fact!

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