Health

City sues Ohio over conscience clause for healthcare providers

A lawsuit has been filed against the legal protection given to health care providers in Ohio that allows them to withhold treatment they oppose based on their conscience or religious beliefs.

Columbus City Attorney Zack Klein sued the state on Wednesday over a measure known as the “conscience clause.”

According to the law, a health care provider can be “dismissed” whenever treatment is contrary to the provider’s “moral, ethical or religious beliefs or beliefs”.

Opponents of the law say it could limit abortions or other medical care. The city also claims the measure violates the Ohio Constitution and the federal Affordable Care Act.

Nurses hired by the city oppose the medical procedure: “they can refuse it, and there’s nothing we, as a city, can do about it.” Klein told The Columbus Dispatch.. He also said that insurance companies may refuse to pay for certain procedures, and “this obviously creates serious problems for our employees.”

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Republican Gov. Mike DeWine kept the wording of the law in place when he signed the budget for 2021. DeWine said the provision simply enshrined in state law what is already being practiced.

In a statement, Attorney General Dave Yost called the lawsuit “baseless, anti-democratic and authoritarian.”


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