19 State Attorneys General Declare Opposition to HHS’ Proposed Conscientious Objection Rule

New York Law Journal

Kristen Rasmu

A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposed rule that would more vigorously protect health care providers’ ability to deny coverage in certain circumstances because of moral or religious beliefs should be withdrawn, according to a coalition of state attorneys general.

The proposed rule would strengthen the enforcement of existing regulations that allow providers to invoke conscientious objections as a basis for refusing to provide care that involves certain medical issues, including abortion, sterilization, assisted suicide and others. It also would allow individual providers to object to informing patients about their medical options or referring them to providers of those options. . . [Full Text]

New Jersey assisted suicide bill offers limited protection of conscience

 Assembly Bill 2270 (2014) Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act

Some protection of conscience provisions are found in an assisted suicide bill introduced in the New Jersey legislature.  While at first glance the definition of “health care professional” appears to provide protection for nurses, licensed practical nurses and others, the protection is limited by the definition of “participating in this act” or “participation in this act” to physicians,  psychiatrists, psychologists and pharmacists.

Further, the definition of “participating in this act” or “participation in this act” excludes referral, so it would appear that the bill could be understood to require objectors to facilitate assisted suicide by referral.

Section 25 provides protection for health care facilities that will not allow assisted suicide on their premises for reasons of conscience or religion.