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Texas Health Care Right of Conscience Act (HB 2878)

This law was last updated on Oct 25, 2017


This law is Anti–Choice Anti–LGBTQ

State

Texas

Number

HB 2878

Status

Failed to Pass

Proposed

Mar 3, 2017

Topics

Anti-Transgender, Conscience and Refusal Clauses, LGBTQ, Religious Freedom, Restrictions on Funding for Hormone Therapy and Gender Reassignment Surgery

Full Bill Text

www.legis.state.tx.us

HB 2878 would permit a health-care provider or institution to refuse to receive, obtain, perform, assist in performing, give advice regarding, suggest, recommend, refer, or participate in a health-care service that is contrary to a person’s or entity’s conscience.

The bill would prohibit a physician or health-care provider from being  held civilly or criminally liable solely because of the physician’s or health-care provider’s conscientious refusal of a health-care service.

The bill defines conscience to mean “a sincerely held set of moral convictions arising from:

  • a belief in and relation to God; or
  • a place in the life of its possessor parallel to that filled by God among adherents to religious faiths.”

The bill defines health-care service to mean “any phase of medical care or treatment, including:

  • testing, diagnosis, prognosis, ancillary research, instruction, medication, and surgery;
  • family planning, counseling, and referrals, and any other advice in connection with the use or procurement of contraceptives, sterilization, or abortion; and any other care or treatment rendered by a health-care facility, physician, or health-care provider.”

If passed, the broad language of the bill would potentially allow medical personnel and health-care facilities to refuse to provide reproductive health-care services to women; and health-care services to the LGBTQ community, including transitioning treatment for transgender individuals.

Discrimination Related to Licensing

The bill would prohibit a person from discriminating against another person because of the person’s conscientious refusal of a health-care service, including discrimination with regard to:

  • licensing;
  • hiring, promoting, or transferring; and
  • granting of staff appointments or other privileges.

Discrimination Related to Employment

The bill would prohibit a person, medical institution, or other institution that conducts education or training programs for physicians or health-care providers from discriminating against an applicant because of the applicant’s conscientious refusal of a health-care service, including discrimination by:

  • denying employment, admission, or participation in a program for which an applicant is eligible;
  • referring to conscientious refusal in an application form;
  • questioning an applicant regarding the applicant’s conscientious refusal of a health-care service; and
  • imposing a burden in the terms or conditions of employment.

Discrimination Related to Benefits

The bill would prohibit a person, including a public official, from discriminating against a recipient entitled to any type of aid, assistance, or benefits because of the recipient’s conscientious refusal of a health-care service, including discrimination by:

  • denying aid, assistance, or benefits;
  • conditioning receipt of the aid, assistance, or benefits; or
  • coercing or disqualifying the recipient.

Conscientious Refusal Protocol

The bill would require health-care facilities to develop a protocol describing a patient’s access to care and information to ensure that a conscientious refusal of a health-care service does not impair a patient’s health. Such protocol must, at a minimum, require a health-care facility, physician, or provider to:

  • timely inform a patient of the patient ’s condition, prognosis, legal treatment options, and risks and benefits of treatment options, consistent with accepted standards of medical care; and
  • provide copies of the patient’s medical records to the patient or to another health-care facility, physician, or provider, if requested by the patient or the patient ’s legal representative.

The bill would not require a health-care facility, physician, or provider to counsel a patient regarding a service that is contrary to their conscientious beliefs.

Civil Remedies

The bill would allow a person to sue another person or a governmental entity for damages.


People

Primary Sponsor