Texas Health Care Right of Conscience Act (SB 1107)
This law was last updated on Aug 28, 2019
SB 1107 would permit a health-care provider to refuse to perform or participate in a health-care service that is contrary to their 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 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;
- a religious faith or spiritual practice; or
- a moral philosophy or ethical position, without regard to whether the philosophy or position is related to a religious faith.
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 health-care providers to refuse to provide reproductive health-care services to women and pregnant people; 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:
- 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; and
- take any other action necessary to transfer the patient to another health-care facility.
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.
Companion bill to HB 2892.
Similar to HB 2878, which failed to pass in 2017.
2/26/19 – Introduced.