Ohio law protects doctors from having to commit abortions, transgender procedures
COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 2, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Ohio on Thursday enacted a budget bill with provisions that protect healthcare providers from having to commit abortions, transgender surgeries, or other practices that violate their beliefs. A section in the bill, House Bill 110, states that medical professionals and healthcare institutions can refuse to perform services based on “moral, ethical, or religious beliefs or principles”:
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.
“Exercise of the right of conscience is limited to conscience-based objections to a particular health care service,” HB 110 continues.
Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed the budget yesterday after lawmakers approved it earlier this week. DeWine, who has previously issued pro-LGBT executive orders, did not use his line-item veto to remove the medical conscience protections. He said that the clause was “not a problem.”
“In the real world, most of those rights are not only recognized and exercised by medical professionals, but they’re being accepted by other medical professionals,” the governor said, according to cleveland.com. “That is the way the world generally works. This is basically put in statute and codified.”
“Let’s say the doctor is against abortion,” he continued. “If the doctor is not doing abortions, if there’s other things that maybe a doctor has a conscience problem with, it’s worked out. Somebody else does those things. This is not a problem, has not been a problem in the state of Ohio and I do not expect it to be a problem.”
Pro-life groups celebrated HB 110, the Center for Christian Virtue (CCV) calling it “a significant step ... to protect religious freedom.”
“Medical professionals face unbelievable pressure today to abandon their faith and ethical beliefs and to perform procedures they believe are harmful and dangerous,” the group said in a press release shortly after the law was signed. “Make no mistake, the politically correct and woke culture that is bullying and silencing millions of Americans today is ingrained deeply into Ohio’s medical system.”
With the enactment of HB 110, “life-saving men and women of faith across the state can know they cannot be fired or punished for ethically treating their patients,” CCV said.
Other provisions in the budget bill, which took effect on Thursday, include millions of dollars in funding for police and a ban on election officials accepting private grant money, cleveland.com said.
Gov. DeWine nevertheless vetoed a section that would have refunded around $100,000 in fines for businesses that broke COVID-19 restrictions. The governor has been criticized by fellow Republicans for his harsh lockdown and masking policies throughout the coronavirus crisis, which led lawmakers to restrict his emergency powers earlier this year.
Ohio’s move to strengthen conscience rights comes amid multiple attempts by the Biden administration to force healthcare providers to offer physically mutilating, scientifically discredited surgeries to transgender-identifying individuals. The Buckeye State, however, still lags behind several other Republican-led states that have enacted recent laws to protect female athletes from competition against gender-confused biological males.
Though the Ohio House passed a measure last week to uphold sex-based sports, attaching it to a college athletics bill, DeWine signed an executive order on Monday without the gender policy, bypassing the House bill, which he indicated he would veto. DeWine, who says that he is a Catholic, is up for re-election in 2022.