After Arkansas Supreme Court upheld ban on local non-discrimination laws, lawmakers introduce bill to allow doctors to refuse patients for “moral reasons”

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Arkansas HB1628, which seeks to allow doctors to turn away patients for “moral reasons,” is sponsored by anti-LGBT state senator, Jason Rapert. 

It comes after an Arkansas Supreme Court ruling that a Fayetteville city ordinance violated a state law preventing municipalities from passing discrimination protections that are broader than state law.

Earlier this month, Arkansas Democrats introduced a bill to provide statewide non-discrimination protections for LGBT people.

Hunter McFerrin for the Arkansas Traveler 

Following the Arkansas Supreme Court’s ruling that the same anti-discriminatory laws must be implemented statewide, two organizations collaborated to author and introduce House Bill 1628, the Healthcare Freedom of Conscience Act, which would allow health care providers to refuse treatment to patients because of a violation of conscience. 

Sponsored by Rep. Brandt Smith (R), Sens. Jason Rapert (R) and Linda Collins-Smith (R), HB 1628 states that its purpose is to protect physicians, health care institutions and health care providers from providing treatment to any patient if the treatment or procedure violates their consciences.
Opponents of the bill largely consist of members of the LGBT community and assert that it is a tactic employed to further discriminate against people because of their gender identity and sexual orientation.


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