Bacon: Protecting medical practitionersí religious freedoms

Posted by: Victoria Klimczak  | Friday, March 15, 2019 5:15 pm

As a legislator, I am a strong proponent of pro-life policies and believe that all lives should be protected. If a medical professional holds a similar moral or religious belief, I do not think they should be required by their employer to take part in abortion procedures they object to. Legislation I sponsored would give Hoosier health care providers an exemption from performing or assisting in abortion procedures based on ethical, moral or religious grounds.

Under current law, physicians and hospital employees are exempt from performing abortion services due to these reasons. With this proposal, that exemption would be extended to include Hoosier nurses, physician assistants and pharmacists who are not employed by hospitals. Extending this ethical exemption to other health care providers would give them the same rights a physician would have if asked to assist in an abortion procedure. Additionally, these individuals would not be required to prescribe, administer or dispense an abortion-inducing drug.

There is a case in New York where a nurse was required to assist in a second-trimester abortion, despite her religious conviction against the procedure, and is now suing the hospital. This bill would help prevent a situation like this from occurring in Indiana and would ensure Hoosier health providers are not forced to offer these services if they conflict with the individual’s beliefs. Nurses, physician assistants and pharmacists would also not have to fear being fired if they refuse to perform abortion-related services for those reasons.

I believe these health care providers deserve the same conscience rights that are offered to physicians. This proposal would give these individuals an opportunity to perform their jobs without compromising their ethical or moral code.

As always, I encourage you to share your thoughts and feedback on legislation as it moves through the process. Contact me with any input or questions at h75@iga.in.gov or 317-232-9643.

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State Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler) represents House District 75, 
which includes portions of Warrick, Pike and Spencer counties.

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