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Protection of Conscience Project

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Service, not Servitude

California Codes
Health and Safety Code


Section 123400-123450 Therapeutic Abortion Act.

123400. This article shall be known and may be cited as the Therapeutic Abortion Act.

123420. (a) No employer or other person shall require a physician, a registered nurse, a licensed vocational nurse, or any other person employed or with staff privileges at a hospital, facility, or clinic
to directly participate in the induction or performance of an abortion, if the employee or other person has filed a written statement with the employer or the hospital, facility, or clinic indicating a moral, ethical, or religious basis for refusal to participate in the abortion.

No such employee or person with staff privileges in a hospital, facility, or clinic shall be subject to any penalty or discipline by reason of his or her refusal to participate in an abortion.

No such employee of a hospital, facility, or clinic that does not permit the performance of abortions, or person with staff privileges therein, shall be subject to any penalty or discipline on account of the person's participation in the performance of an abortion in other than the hospital, facility, or clinic.

No employer shall refuse to employ any person because of the person's refusal for moral, ethical, or religious reasons to participate in an abortion, unless the person would be assigned in the normal course of business of any hospital, facility, or clinic to work in those parts of the hospital, facility, or clinic where abortion patients are cared for.

No provision of this article prohibits any hospital, facility, or clinic that permits the performance of abortions from inquiring whether an employee or prospective employee would advance a moral, ethical, or religious basis for refusal to participate in an abortion before hiring or assigning that person to that part of a hospital, facility, or clinic where abortion patients are cared for.

The refusal of a physician, nurse, or any other person to participate or aid in the induction or performance of an abortion pursuant to this subdivision shall not form the basis of any claim for damages.

(b) No medical school or other facility for the education or training of physicians, nurses, or other medical personnel shall refuse admission to a person or penalize the person in any way because of the person's unwillingness to participate in the performance of an abortion for moral, ethical, or religious reasons.

No hospital, facility, or clinic shall refuse staff privileges to a physician because of the physician's refusal to participate in the performance of abortion for moral, ethical, or religious reasons.

(c) Nothing in this article shall require a nonprofit hospital or other facility or clinic that is organized or operated by a religious corporation or other religious organization and licensed pursuant to Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 1200) or Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 1250) of Division 2, or any administrative officer, employee, agent, or member of the governing board thereof, to perform or to permit the performance of an abortion in the facility or clinic or to provide abortion services.

No such nonprofit facility or clinic organized or operated by a religious corporation or other religious organization, nor its administrative officers, employees, agents, or members of its governing board shall be liable, individually or collectively, for failure or refusal to participate in any such act. The failure or refusal of any such corporation, unincorporated association or individual person to perform or to permit the performance of such medical procedures shall not be the basis for any disciplinary or other recriminatory action against such corporations, unincorporated associations, or individuals. Any such facility or clinic that does not permit the performance of abortions on its premises shall post notice of that proscription in an area of the facility or clinic that is open to patients and prospective admittees.

(d) This section shall not apply to medical emergency situations and spontaneous abortions. Any violation of this section is a misdemeanor.