Missouri’s House Speaker has again filed legislation aimed at protecting the conscience rights of medial workers.
Tim Jones (R-Eureka) says this year’s version of his conscience rights for medical workers bill is more focused and accounts for some of the issues critics have had with it in the past. It would only apply to specific workers and procedures.
“It allows physicians, nurses and medical researchers the opportunity to refuse to participate in procedures and research such as are specifically enumerated in the bill: abortion, contraception, stem cell research.”
Pro-Choice Missouri executive director Pamela Sumners agrees the bill’s focus has been narrowed, but says its language goes against Supreme Court precedent.
“It says it shall not be a defense to any claim arising out of the violation of this entire bill that such violation was necessary to prevent additional burden or expense on any other medical professional, healthcare institution, individual or patient. That is exactly the opposite of the holding of the leading case of the United States Supreme Court on the questions of religious discrimination in the workforce and the burden of accommodation that is on the employer.”
Last year’s version of the legislation cleared the House and was voted out of a committee in the Senate but not raised for discussion in that chamber’s floor.
The legislation has been heard by a House Committee but no vote has been taken.