Senate Bill 972
Conscientious Objector Policy Act
Check the status of this bill at the
February 10, 2004
Introduced by Senators PATTERSON, BIRKHOLZ, GILBERT,
BROWN, KUIPERS, McMANUS, GARCIA, CROPSEY, GOSCHKA, HARDIMAN, JELINEK and
Referred to the Committee on Health Policy.
A bill to provide standards for personnel policies to protect the right
of conscience of health care providers who conscientiously object to
providing or participating in certain health care services under certain
circumstances; to provide for protection from certain liability; and to
provide for penalties and remedies.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:
Sec. 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the
"conscientious objector policy act".
Sec. 3. As used in this act:
(a) "Health facility" means a health
facility or agency as defined in section 20106 of the public health code,
1978 PA 368, MCL 333.20106, a private physician office, or a public or
private institution, teaching institution, pharmacy, corporation,
partnership, or sole proprietorship that provides a health care service to
(b) "Health care provider" means a
person licensed or registered under article 15 of the public health code,
1978 PA 368, MCL 333.16101 to 333.18838, a student of a health facility, or
another person who is employed by or under contract to a health facility and
directly participates in the provision of a health care service.
(c) "Health care service" means the
provision or withdrawal of, or research or experimentation involving, a
medical treatment, procedure, device, medication, drug, or other substance
intended to affect the physical or mental condition of an individual.
(d) "Medical director" means that
term as defined in section 20906 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL
(e) "Participate" or
"participating" means, at a minimum, to counsel, refer, perform,
administer, prescribe, dispense, treat, withhold, withdraw, diagnose, test,
evaluate, train, research, prepare, or provide material or physical
assistance in a health care services.
(1) A health care provider may assert as a matter of conscience an
objection to providing or participating in a health care service that
conflicts with his or her sincerely held religious or moral beliefs.
(2) A health care provider shall notify his or her employer in writing of
a conscientious objection described in subsection (1).
(3) A health care provider may assert his or her conscientious objection
under any of the following conditions:
(a) Upon being offered employment.
(b) At the time the health care provider adopts a
religious or moral belief system that conflicts with participation in a
health care service.
(c) At any other time the health care provider
considers it necessary to assert a conscientious objection.
(d) Within 24 hours after receiving notice that he or
she may be asked or scheduled to participate in a health care service to
which he or she conscientiously objects. If the health care provider is
given less than 24 hours' notice that he or she has been scheduled to
participate in an objectionable health care service, the health care
provider shall assert an objection, either orally or in writing, as soon as
it is practicable.
(1) An employer shall retain a health care provider's written objection
filed under section 5 for the duration of the health care provider's
employment. The written objection is valid for the duration of the health
care provider's employment or until rescinded by the health care provider in
(2) After receiving a written objection pursuant to section 5, an
employer shall not require the objecting health care provider to provide or
participate in the objectionable healthcare service.
(3) If a health care provider asserts an objection under section 5 less
than 24 hours prior to the scheduled health care service, the employer shall
make a reasonable effort to exclude the health care provider from
participating in the health care service or find a replacement for the
health care provider.
(4) An employer shall not refuse employment or staff privileges to a
health care provider who has exercised his or her right to assert an
objection to providing or participating in a health care service under
section 5, unless participation in that health care service is indicated as
a part of the normal course of duties in the posting of the availability of
the position for employment or staff privileges.
(5) A medical school or other institution for the education or training
of a health care provider shall not refuse admission to an individual or
penalize that individual because the individual has filed in writing with
the medical school or other institution a conscientious objection to
participating in a health care service under this act.
Except as provided in section 11, a health care provider's objection to
providing or participating in a health care service as described in section
5 shall not be the basis for 1 or more of the following:
(a) Civil liability to another person.
(b) Criminal action.
(c) Administrative or licensure action.
(d) Termination of employment or refusal of staff
privileges at a health facility.
(e) An involuntary change in terms or conditions of
employment or other disciplinary action, including, but not limited to,
termination of employment, by the health care provider's employer.
(1) The protections afforded to a health care provider under this act do
not apply under any of the following circumstances:
(a) A health care provider shall not assert an
objection to a health care service if a patient's condition, in the
reasonable medical judgment of an attending physician or medical director,
requires immediate action to prevent the death of that patient.
(b) A health care provider shall not assert an
objection to providing or participating in a health care service based on
the classification of a patient or group of patients protected under the
Elliot-Larsen civil rights act, 1976 PA 453, MCL 37.2101 to 37.2804, or
based on a disease or other medical condition.
(c) A health care provider shall not make an
objection known to or in the presence of a patient who is or may be the
subject of the health care service to which the health care provider is
(2) If a health care provider asserts an objection to a health care
service that at the time the objection is asserted constitutes a regular or
substantial portion of the health care provider's current and defined
position, the employer may give the health care provider not less than 6
months' notice of the termination of his or her employment. As used in this
section, "regular or substantial portion" means that 10% or more of the
health care provider's daily or weekly hours of duty consist of providing or
participating in that health care service.
(3) This act does not relieve a health care provider from a duty that
exists under another statute or other law pertaining to current standards of
acceptable health care practice and procedure to inform a patient of the
patient's condition, prognosis, and risks or receiving health care services
for the condition. However, this subsection does not impose a duty on a
health care provider to counsel, recommend, or refer a health care service
to which the health care provider has asserted an objection as described in
(1) A civil action for damages or reinstatement of employment, or both,
may be brought against a person, including, but not limited to, a
governmental agency, health facility, or other employer, for penalizing or
discriminating against a health care provider, including, but not limited
to, penalizing or discriminating in hiring, promotion, transfer, a term or
condition of employment, licensing, or granting of staff privileges or
appointments, because that health care provider has asserted an objection to
participating in a health care service under section 5. Civil damages may be
awarded equal to 3 times the amount of proven damages and attorney fees. A
civil action filed under this subsection may include a petition for
injunctive relief against a person alleged to have penalized or
discriminated against a health care provider as described in this
(2) A person who violates this act is responsible for a state civil
infraction and may be ordered to pay a fine of not more than $1,000.00 for
each day the violation continues or a fine of not more than $1,000.00 for