From Left: Family Council’s Luke McCoy joins Sen. Kim Hammer (R – Benton) and Alliance Defending Freedom’s Stephanie Nichols during presentation of S.B. 289 protecting healthcare workers’ rights of conscience.

On Monday the Senate Public Health Committee passed S.B. 289 by a unanimous voice vote.

This good bill by Sen. Kim Hammer (R – Benton) and Rep. Brandt Smith (R – Jonesboro) protects healthcare workers’ rights of conscience.

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 these protections for healthcare workers.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Stephanie Nichols traveled to Little Rock to testify in favor of the bill and outline some of the threats that rights of conscience currently face in Arkansas and across the United States.

No one should have to worry about facing retaliation or discrimination for obeying their conscientious convictions.

Rights-of-conscience is a long-established tradition that predates the U.S. Constitution. This right should not be ignored.

Arkansas’ healthcare payers currently have no specific conscience protections, and Arkansas law does not address discrimination or retaliation against medical professionals or companies who object to certain procedures. Current law also does not provide specific legal remedies for victims of discrimination or retaliation.

S.B. 289 helps address these problems. The bill now goes to the entire Arkansas Senate.