Louisiana Senate Committee to Consider Pro-Life Medical Conscience Clause Bill
by Steven Ertelt
May 27, 2009
Baton Rouge, LA (LifeNews.com) — A Louisiana state Senate committee on Thursday will consider HB 517, a conscience bill that would protect the right of all health care workers, from physicians to pharmacists to nurses, to object from participating in any health care service that violates their conscience.
The bill extends to abortions and practices like human cloning, euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research.
The state House has approved the bill, but, when it did, it added an amendment that Ben Clapper with the Louisiana Right to Life Federation tells LifeNews.com he opposes.
"When HB 517 left the House floor last week, a bad amendment was added to the bill that made it only apply to public employees, thereby leaving out the conscience rights of all private health care professionals in Louisiana," he explained.
Louisiana Right to Life is calling on pro-life state residents to contact members of the Senate Health & Welfare Committee urging them to support the bill but also to vote for an amendment by the author of the bill to remove the problematic language.
The bill comes on the heels of the Louisiana Supreme Court declining to hear an appeal in a medical conscience case.
A Louisiana nurse won her battle at the state Supreme Court when it refused to hear a hospital’s appeal of a lower court decision siding with her. The nurse, Toni Lemly, sued St. Tammany Parish Hospital in 2005 after it refused to grant a reasonable accommodation for her religious beliefs.
Lemly informed hospital staff that she objected to administering the morning after pill because of her religious beliefs.
In response, St. Tammany Parish Hospital fired Lemly from her full-time position and reduced her to part-time status, working only three days a week. Her demotion resulted in a significant reduction in pay and the loss of employee benefits.
The conscience clause bill is one of several measures the pro-life group supports.
It is also backing SB 115, sponsored by Senator Danny Martiny (R-Metairie), that would ban the creation of human animal hybrids in Louisiana.
That measure has passed the Senate Judiciary C Committee and is waiting to be heard on the Senate floor.
The group is also supportive of a bill, SB 289, that streamlines the Choose Life License Plate program in order to more efficiently distribute funds to pro-life pregnancy centers across the state.
Meanwhile, Louisiana Right to Life opposes SCR 7, the ERA bill to ratify the 1972 ERA which could be used to force the state to pay for abortions.
Related web sites:
Louisiana Right to Life – https://www.prolifelouisiana.org
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