On Wednesday afternoon, the Louisiana Healthcare Workers Conscience Act, HB-517, passed the Senate by a vote of 31-2 and the House by a margin of 88-12. The decision is being celebrated by local pro-lifers as a means to help those in the medical profession “excel” without being forced to act “against their conscience.”
The Act states that “no person shall be required to participate in any health care service that violates his conscience to the extent that patient access to health care is not compromised.”
Although pro-abortion politicians had worked to weaken the bill, amending it so that it only applied to public employees, Senator Amedee led successful efforts to remove that amendment, making the bill valid for both public and private health care professionals.
Benjamin Clapper, executive director of the Louisiana Right to Life Federation, said that the passage of the bill is a victory for health care workers across the state.
“The passage of our Louisiana's Health Care Rights of Conscience Act gives Louisiana's health care professionals, both present and future, the ability to excel in their profession without concerns that they will be coerced into providing some service that is against their conscience,” Clapper told CNA.
“Even though this legislation was under sustained attack from Planned Parenthood and the ACLU, Louisiana understood that conscience rights should be protected, especially when the Obama Administration is moving to rescind federal protections on conscience.”
The bill now goes to Governor Bobby Jindal, who has a strong pro-life record and has promised to sign it into law.