Laxalt signs on to letter supporting “conscience protections” for health workers with religious objections

The Nevada Independent

Michelle Rindels

Republican gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Adam Laxalt has signed on to a letter supporting a new set of regulations that aims to protect health workers who don’t want to perform abortions, help transgender patients transition or take other actions because of religious or moral objections.

Laxalt joined 16 other attorneys general in signing the March 27 letter to Alex Azar, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The letter lauds the “Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care; Delegations of Authority” regulations, saying it’s important to return to obeying conscience protections enacted by Congress and restore the rule of law in Washington. . . [Full Text]

Arizona Strengthens Conscience Protections for Health Care Providers

New law aims to ensure doctors and nurses aren’t fired for their beliefs if assisted suicide is ever legalized in the state.

National Catholic Register

PHOENIX — Health care providers and institutions opposed to assisted suicide gained more legal protections under a new Arizona law that aims to help ensure doctors and nurses aren’t fired for their beliefs if the practice is ever legalized.

Senate Bill 1439 was “an important rights-of-conscience bill,” according to the bishops of the Arizona Catholic Conference.

“S.B. 1439 will help protect health care providers not wanting to participate in services causing the death of their patients,” the state’s four bishops said March 24, adding they were grateful that it has become law. . . [Full text]

 

Botched execution sparks outcry in US

Bioedge

Xavier Symons

Another botched execution in the USA has reignited debate over the death penalty. Arizona man Joseph Rudolph Wood took almost two hours to die after being injected with the drugs midazolam and hydromorphone. The two drugs are a new barbiturate combination being trialled in a number of US states.

According to witnesses, Wood gasped for air hundreds of times before succumbed to the drugs. “It was very disturbing to watch…like a fish on shore gulping for air”, said reporter Troy Hayden. “I counted 660 times that he gasped,” said Arizona Republic journalist Michael Kiefer.

Just two months ago BioEdge reported on a similar botched execution in Oklahoma.

Shortly after the execution, Arizona governor Jan Brewer issued a statement in which she ordered a full review of the execution process.

She was nevertheless adamant that the execution had been lawful and did not involve undue pain: “One thing is certain, however, inmate Wood died in a lawful manner and by eyewitness and medical accounts he did not suffer” her statement said.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona issued a statement calling for a moratorium on executions. “What happened today to Mr. Wood was an experiment that the state did its best to hide,” Executive Director Alessandra Soler said.

The new drugs being used are intended to replace others that pharmaceutical companies now refuse to sell to US correctional facilities. The drug midazolam causes unconsciousness in a patient, while hydromorphone shuts down breathing and induces cardiac arrest.


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Arizona House passes bill to protect freedom of conscience for objecting employers

The Arizona House of Representatives has passed bill HB2625 to amend state legislation to provide a religious exemption to the state’s own mandate for insurance coverage for contraception.  The amendment will also revoke the narrow definition of “religious employer” that was copied in the federal regulation at the centre of a controversy about religious freedom in the United States.

 

Bills in states proposed in reaction to controversial federal birth control mandate

Following a hearing held by a committee of the Idaho legislature, Rep. Carlos Bilbao will revise a bill he has proposed to prevent a federal birth control regulation from forcing objecting employers to provide insurance for surgical sterilization, contraceptives, and embryocidal drugs. [Deseret News]  Senator John Moolenaar has introduced the Religious Liberty and Conscience Protection Act in the Michigan state legislature [Midland Daily News].  It is a broad protection of conscience bill that covers individual health care providers and facilities,both with respect to direct participation and direct or indirect payment for objectionable procedures. Bills have also been proposed in Missouri and Arizona to counter the federal regulation.  If the bills pass, the federal government may go to court to have them struck down in order to enforce the federal law.  [ABC News]

 

Arizona House Judiciary Committee moves against federal HHS mandate

The House Judiciary Committee in the Arizona state legislature has approved HB 2625, which will amend state legislation to provide a religious exemption to the state’s own mandate for insurance coverage for contraception.  The amendment will also revoke the narrow definition of “religious employer” that was copied in the federal regulation at the centre of a controversy about religious freedom in the United States.