Health Care Conscience Bill Wins
Nod from State House
The Missouri House of Representatives has spoken out forcefully in favor of religious freedom by approving legislation to protect the conscience rights of individuals in the medical community.
House members gave final approval last week to House Bill 457, sponsored by House Speaker Tim Jones of Eureka, by a very decisive vote of 116-41.
The bill would provide employment protection to doctors, nurses, and other licensed health care professionals who object to participating in medical procedures and research that violate their moral, religious, or ethical principles.
Medical professionals could not be discriminated against for declining to participate in abortion, abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, assisted reproduction, nontherapeutic fetal experimentation, or sterilizations which are not medically necessary.
Medical researchers could not be subject to discrimination for failing to participate in fetal tissue research, human embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, or somatic cell nuclear transfer.
Forms of discrimination which would be prohibited under the bill include termination, suspension, demotion, refusal of staff privileges, or refusal of training opportunities.
The legislation would also shield religious health care institutions from civil liability for declining to engage in procedures that violate their religious tenets. Faith-based health care institutions could not be compelled by government entities to engage in such practices as as a condition for funding or licensure.
Senate Bill 84, a companion bill sponsored by Senator Scott Rupp of Wentzville, has also received an initial boost in the Missouri Senate. The Senate Judiciary Committee acted last week to recommend passage of the measure by a vote of 5-2.
The health care conscience measure was developed by the Missouri Family Policy Council in collaboration with the Missouri Catholic Conference. A similar measure was approved by the House last year, but was never taken up by the Senate.
It is expected that House Bill 457 will be taken up for consideration by the full Senate by the end of the session. We encourage you to contact your state senator to vote for the health care conscience measure by using this link:
Here is how House members voted on House Committee Substitute for House Bill 457:
Representatives voting yes:
Allen, Anders, Anderson, Austin, Bahr, Barnes, Bernskoetter, Berry, Black, Brattin, Brown, Burlison, Cierpiot, Conway (Pat), Conway (Kathie), Cookson, Cornejo, Cox, Crawford, Cross, Curtman, Davis, Diehl, Dohrman, Dugger, Elmer, Engler, English, Entlicher, Fitzpatrick, Fitzwater, Flanigan, Fowler, Fraker, Franklin, Frederick, Funderburk, Gannon, Gatschenberger, Gosen, Guernsey, Haahr, Haefner, Hampton, Hansen, Harris, Hicks, Higdon, Hinson, Hodges, Hoskins, Hough, Houghton, Hurst, Johnson, Jones (Caleb), Jones (Tim), Justus, Keeney, Kelley (Mike), Koenig, Kolkmeyer, Korman, Kratky, Lair, Lant, Lauer, Leara, Lichtenegger, Love, Lynch, Marshall, Mayfield, McCaherty, McGaugh, McKenna, Messenger, Miller, Morris, Muntzel, Neely, Neth, Parkinson, Pfautsch, Phillips, Pike, Pogue, Redmon, Rehder, Reiboldt, Remole, Rhoads, Richardson, Riddle, Roorda, Ross, Rowden, Rowland, Scharnhorst, Schatz, Schieber, Schieffer, Shull, Shumake, Solon, Sommer, Spencer, Stream, Swan, Thomson, Torpey, Walker, White, Wieland, Wilson, and Zerr
Representatives voting no:
Burns, Butler, Carpenter, Colona, Curtis, Dunn, Ellinger, Ellington, Englund, Frame, Gardner, Hubbard, Hummel, Kelly (Chris), Kirkton, LaFaver, May, McCann Beatty, McDonald, McManus, McNeil, Meredith, Mims, Mitten, Molendorp, Montecillo, Morgan, Nichols, Norr, Otto, Pace, Pierson, Rizzo, Runions, Schupp, Smith (Clem), Swearingen, Walton Gray, Webb, Webber, and Wright
Representatives absent with leave:
Grisamore, Newman, Smith (Jason), Wood