May 15, 2023

DeSantis Signs Bill Protecting Conscience Rights

On May 11, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill protecting medical professionals and organizations from being forced to participate in abortions or other controversial procedures.

The law prohibits employers from taking adverse actions against employees who refuse to participate in certain services due to a conscience-based objection. The law defines a conscience-based objection as an objection “based on a sincerely held religious, moral, or ethical belief.” Laws requiring healthcare professionals to provide emergency medical treatment still apply.

Employers break the law if they fire, suspend, or discipline employees due to a conscientious objection.

In addition to medical professionals, the law protects individuals and organizations who provide payments for others' health care services.

“It is the intent of the Legislature to provide the right of medical conscience for health care providers and payors to ensure they can care for patients in a manner consistent with their moral, ethical, and religious convictions,” the legislation states. “Further, it is the intent of the Legislature that licensed health care providers and payors be free from threat of discrimination for providing conscience-based health care.”

The law also forbids the Department of Health and medical licensing boards from taking disciplinary action against medical professionals for taking public stances about healthcare services or public policy.