Little Rock, Ark., Mar 17, 2021 / 18:01 pm America/Denver (CNA).
With a 72-20 House vote on Monday, both chambers of the Arkansas General Assembly have approved a bill allowing medical providers to refuse participation in acts that violate their conscience.
The March 15 vote on the Medical Ethics and Diversity Act was largely along party lines. Two Republicans, Craig Christiansen and Joe Jett, voted against the bill; and seven lawmakers — three Republicans and four Democrats — abstained.
The bill, which was passed by the Senate in February, will return there for the reconciliation of amendments.
Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has said he is neutral on the bill, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.
The bill would apply conscience protections to medical workers, hospitals, and insurance providers. It would not allow participation in emergency services to be declined. An amendment to the bill removed philosophical beliefs or principles as a basis of conscience, while leaving religious, moral, and ethical beliefs or principles.