Nebraska lawmaker brings bill to allow medical providers to deny care they morally disagree with

2 months ago Fremont Tribune

One of the final bills introduced in the Nebraska Legislature would allow doctors and other medical providers to deny non-emergency health care to patients if they morally disagreed with it.

Dave Murman/MUG

State Sen. Dave Murman of Glenvil introduced the bill (LB810) Wednesday, as one of the final bills and constitutional amendments introduced this session. The total for the session was 812 bills and 20 constitutional amendments, the most introduced since 2001. 

LB810, dubbed the "Medical Ethics and Diversity Act," would permit medical practitioners, like doctors and nurses, and health care institutions like hospitals to deny performing elective medical treatment that violates their "right of conscience," which refers to religious, ethical or moral beliefs. The bill also allows health insurance providers to deny coverage of non-emergency care under the same principles. 

Health care institutions and health insurance providers would have to disclose what treatment they would not cover ahead of time, Murman said. Emergency and life-saving treatment would also not be affected.

Murman introduced a similar bill last year, and said this time, he may prioritize the legislation to give it a better chance of passing. He said he is concerned that conservative and Christian medical students are hesitating to enter the medical field out of concerns that they will be asked to participate in treatments that violate their religious beliefs, and that is contributing to the ongoing nationwide nursing shortage.

"The swift pace of scientific advancement and the expansion of medical capabilities, along with the mistaken notion that medical practitioners, health care institutions, and health care payers are mere public utilities, promise only to make the current crisis worse," the bill reads.

Murman said there were three procedures he had in mind while drafting the bill: abortions, gender-affirming treatment for transgender patients and euthanasia. 

Restrictions on abortions and transgender medical care have been introduced in other bills this session by Sens. Joni Albrecht and Kathleen Kauth, who both co-sponsored LB810. Though Murman also co-sponsored each of their bills as well, he said his bill was not meant to be a companion piece to either.

The bill includes a provision specifically on abortions, stating that medical practitioners would be allowed to participate in an abortion only if they first consent to participating in writing. Under the bill, pharmacists would also have the ability to deny contraception to patients, Murman confirmed. 

Murman said he wasn't concerned the bill would restrict health care for some Nebraskans. In fact, he said the bill aims to improve health care, as patients would have the option to seek different medical options from providers that want to provide the treatment they're seeking.

Sen. Megan Hunt of Omaha, who opposed Albrecht's and Kauth's bills, said LB810 was a civil rights violation. She described the bill as "unserious" and said it was insulting to Nebraskans and the Legislature itself, as it doesn't address issues that actually impact their constituents. 

"It's a waste of everybody's time," Hunt said. 

Meet the Nebraska state senators making laws in 2023

Raymond Aguilar/2023 collection Joni Albrecht/2023 collection John Arch/2023 collection Christy Armendariz//2023 collection Beau Ballard/2023 collection Carol Blood/2023 collection Eliot Bostar/2023 collection Bruce Bostelman/2023 collection Tom Brandt/2023 collection Tom Brewer/2023 collection Tom Briese/2023 collection John Cavanaugh/2023 collection Machaela Cavanaugh/2023 collection Robert Clements/2023 collection Danielle Conrad/2023 collection Jen Day/2023 collection Wendy DeBoer/2023 collection Barry DeKay/2023 collection Myron Dorn/2023 collection Robert Dover/2023 collection George Dungan/2023 collection Steve Erdman/2023 collection John Fredrickson/2023 collection Suzanne Geist/2023 collection Steve Halloran/2023 collection Ben Hansen/2023 collection Brian Hardin/2023 collection Rick Holdcroft/2023 collection Jana Hughes/2023 collection Megan Hunt/2023 collection Teresa Ibach/2023 collection Mike Jacobson/2023 collection Kathleen Kauth/2023 collection Lou Ann Linehan/2023 collection Loren Lippincott/2023 collection John Lowe/2023 collection Mike McDonnell/2023 collection Terrell McKinney/2023 collection Mike Moser/2023 collection Dave Murman/2023 collection Jane Raybould/2023 collection Merv Riepe/2023 collection Rita Sanders/2023 collection Julie Slama/2023 collection Tony Vargas/2023 collection R. Brad von Gillern/2023 collection Lynne Walz/2023 collection Justin Wayne/2023 collection Anna Wishart/2023 collection











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