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Idaho Legislature Votes to Protect Health Care Professionals

The Idaho Senate has approved Senate Bill 1353, protecting health care professionals from being forced to violate their consciences or risk losing their jobs or facing other negative job consequences.  The Idaho House had previously approved an identical measure.  The legislation now heads to Governor Otter’s desk.

The legislation provides that no health care professional “shall be required to provide any health care service that violates his or her conscience” and defines “health care service” to include abortion, the provision of abortifacient drugs, destructive research involving human embryos, human cloning, and end-of-life treatment and care.

Over the past several months, AUL has worked with allies in Idaho to pass this important legislation.  For example, AUL provided a factsheet outlining the need for comprehensive protections for health care rights of conscience.  This factsheet was provided to both House and Senate members prior to floor votes.

Currently, 47 states provide varying levels of protection for health care rights of conscience.  Idaho is poised to join Mississippi and Louisiana in enacting comprehensive protection for health care providers.  In 2004, Mississippi adopted AUL’s “Healthcare Rights of Conscience Act,” and Louisiana enacted its own protective measure in 2009.

Notable opponents of this legislation included Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the AARP.

News coverage of this legislation’s passage included an article from IdahoReporter.com that mentions AUL.