Pennsylvania Bill Would Allow Medical Professionals Abortion Opt Out Clause

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 28, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pennsylvania Bill Would Allow Medical Professionals Abortion Opt Out Clause Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 28,

Harrisburg, PA ( — A new bill in the Pennsylvania legislature would allow medical professionals such as doctors and pharmacists to opt out of involvement in abortions. That includes both surgical abortions procedures, those involving the mifepristone abortion drug or having to dispense drugs that may cause abortions.

Sen. John Iceberg, a Republican, says the state’s abortion law is unclear on whether employers or customers can sue medical professionals that object to involvement in an abortion.

That brings up a question as to what would happen if a medical professional was fired or sued for refusing to be involved in an abortion.

"I intend with this bill to make it very clear that people in health care and in medical institutions would be held harmless," he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review newspaper.

Georgette Orkney, the head of Anglicans for Life and the coordinator for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, a group for women who regret their abortions, told the paper she agrees with the bill’s premise.

"The pro-choice movement’s entire philosophy is based on the concept of choice. If women should have the right to choose an abortion, shouldn’t physicians and pharmacists have the right to choose?" she said.

Conscience clauses for doctors and nurses with regard to surgical abortions are common in many states, but just a handful provide protection for pharmacists who don’t want to distribute a drug that could cause an abortion.