On Thursday Sen. Kim Hammer (R – Benton) and Rep. Brandt Smith (R – Jonesboro) filed S.B. 289, the Medical Ethics and Diversity Act. This good bill protects healthcare workers’ rights of conscience in Arkansas.
S.B. 289 supplements existing conscience protections in Arkansas law.
It emphasizes the right of healthcare providers, institutions, and payers to decline to participate in medical procedures that violate their moral, religious, or ethical convictions. It also prohibits retaliatory discrimination against healthcare providers, institutions, or payers for declining to participate in healthcare services that violate their consciences.
Arkansas’ current conscience protections are narrowly focused on abortion, abortifacients, and end of life decisions, and they protect only a limited number of people. S.B. 289 helps broaden and strengthen those protections for healthcare workers.
No one should have to worry about facing discrimination for obeying their conscientious convictions.