July 6, 2021

New Ohio Law Protects Doctors' Conscience Rights

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R)
Last Thursday, Ohio enacted a budget bill including a provision to protect the conscience rights of doctors who oppose abortion and other practices.

A section of the budget bill says that doctors and healthcare institutions can refuse to provide services that conflict with their “moral, ethical, or religious beliefs or principles.” The bill states:

"Notwithstanding any conflicting provision of the Revised Code, a medical practitioner, health care institution, or health care payer has the freedom to decline to perform, participate in, or pay for any health care service which violates the practitioner’s, institution’s, or payer’s conscience as informed by the moral, ethical, or religious beliefs or principles held by the practitioner, institution, or payer."

While some were unsure whether Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) would use his line-item veto powers to block these protections, pro-lifers were relieved when he said the conscience rights clause was "not a problem."

“In the real world, most of those rights are not only recognized and exercised by medical professionals, but they’re being accepted by other medical professionals,” the governor said. “That is the way the world generally works. This is basically put in statute and codified.”

“Let’s say the doctor is against abortion,” he continued. “If the doctor is not doing abortions, if there’s other things that maybe a doctor has a conscience problem with, it’s worked out. Somebody else does those things. This is not a problem, has not been a problem in the state of Ohio and I do not expect it to be a problem.”

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