Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson signs bill allowing doctors to refuse to treat anyone on religious or moral grounds

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Friday signed into law legislation allowing doctors to refuse to treat someone because of religious or moral objections, a move opponents have said will give providers broad powers to turn away LGBTQ patients and others.

The medical conscience objections law says health care workers and institutions have the right to not participate in non-emergency treatments that violate their conscience. The new law won’t take effect until late this summer.

The move came just a day after he signed a law banning transgender women and girls from competing in school sports consistent with their gender identity. Following Mississippi and Idaho, Arkansas is now the third state to approve such a restriction, although Idaho’s enacted law is now being blocked by a court ruling in an ongoing legal dispute.

Opponents of the medical law, including the Human Rights Campaign and the American Civil Liberties Union, have said it will allow doctors to refuse to offer a host of services for LGBTQ patients. The state Chamber of Commerce also opposed the measure, saying it sends the wrong message about the state.

Hutchinson opposed a similar measure in 2017 that failed before a House committee. But he said the law he signed was narrower and limits the objections to particular health care services, not treating specific types of people.

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Source: Daily Mail