The speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives has introduced a bill that would allow health-care workers to refuse to participate in medical procedures or research that they say violate their conscience.
Rep. Timothy Jones (R-Eureka) introduced HB 1430, which, according to the bill language, would apply to medical professionals refusing to participate in procedures that include surgical and medication abortions, contraception, assisted reproduction, human cloning, and human embryonic stem-cell research.
The bill defines conscience as any religious, moral, or ethical principles. In addition to providing protections for medical professionals the bill also offers protections to religiously affiliated hospitals, shielding those institutions from liability for refusing to provide any of the listed medical procedures.
Jones told the Associated Press that the proposed legislation is designed to protect workers’ rights. During the last session, Jones and Missouri Republicans attempted to pass so-called right-to-work legislation, which would have stripped workers of protections including their collective bargaining rights.
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The bill is scheduled for a hearing Wednesday by the house’s Health Care Policy Committee. A similar bill was recently passed by the Alabama house.