Project Logo

Protection of Conscience Project

www.consciencelaws.org

Service, not Servitude
US flag

New Hampshire

House Bill 1787-FN (2018)

Health Care Freedom of Conscience

Check on the status of this bill at the New Hampshire General Court

AN ACT relative to the rights of conscience for medical professionals.

Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:

1. STATEMENT OF INTENT

It is the purpose of this act to protect as a basic civil right the freedom of all health care providers to decline to counsel, advise, provide, perform, assist, or participate in providing or performing abortions, sterilizations, or artificial contraception.  Protecting the freedom of health care providers to decline to provide or participate in the provision of services that violate their religious, moral, or ethical convictions safeguards the dignity of individual health care providers and ensures that the citizens of New Hampshire have access to quality health care.

2.  NEW CHAPTER: HEALTH CARE FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE 

Amend RSA by inserting after chapter 126-Z the following new chapter:

CHAPTER 126-AA
HEALTH CARE FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE
126-AA:1 Definitions

In this chapter:

I.  "Abortion" means the use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device intentionally to terminate the pregnancy of a female known to be pregnant with an intention other than to increase the probability of a live birth, to preserve the life or health of the child after live birth, or to remove an ectopic pregnancy or the products from a spontaneous miscarriage.

II.  "Artificial contraception or contraception" means the use of a medicine, drug, substance, device, or surgical procedure to intentionally prevent ovulation, fertilization of a human egg cell, or implantation of a fertilized human egg in the uterine wall.

III.  Conscientiously object or conscientious objection" means to object because of a religious belief or a moral or ethical conviction.

IV.  "Discriminate against or discrimination" means any adverse action taken against, or any threat of adverse action communicated to, any health care provider as a result of his or her conscientious objection to participating in an abortion, sterilization, or the prescription or provision of artificial contraception.  Discrimination includes, but is not limited to: termination of employment; transfer from current position; demotion from current position; adverse administrative action; reassignment to a different shift or job title; increased administrative duties; refusal of staff privileges; refusal of board certification; loss of career specialty; reduction of wages, benefits, or privileges; refusal to award a grant, contract, or other program; refusal to graduate; refusal to provide residency training opportunities; denial, deprivation, or disqualification of licensure; the threat of any of the administrative, disciplinary, or other adverse proceeding; or any other penalty, disciplinary, or retaliatory action, whether executed or threatened.

V.  "Health care institution" means any public or private hospital, clinic, medical center, physician organization, professional association, ambulatory surgical center, private physician's office, pharmacy, nursing home, medical school, nursing school, medical training facility, or any other entity or location in which an abortion or sterilization or the prescription or provision of artificial contraception are performed on or provided to any person.  "Health care institutions" may include, but are not limited to:  organizations, corporations, partnerships, associations, agencies, networks, sole proprietorships, joint ventures, or any other entity that provides abortions, sterilizations, or artificial contraception.

VI.  "Health care provider" means any individual who may be asked to participate in any way in an abortion or sterilization or the prescription or provision of artificial contraception including, but not limited to: a physician, physician's assistant, nurse, nurse's aide, medical assistant, hospital or clinic employee, pharmacist, pharmacy employee, medical school student, medical school employee, or any professional, paraprofessional, or any other person who furnishes, or assist in the furnishing of an abortion, sterilization, or artificial contraception.

VII  "Participate or participating in" means to provide, perform, assist with, facilitate, refer for, counsel for, advise with regard to, admit for the purposes of providing, or take part in any way in providing an abortion, sterilization, or artificial contraception.

VIII.  "Prescription or provision of" means to make available or arrange for any medicine, drug, substance, device, or medical procedure.

IX.  "Sterilization" means any medical technique or procedure intended to leave a person unable to reproduce.

126-AA:2  Health Care Provider's Right to Conscientiously Object.

I.  A health care provider has the right to conscientiously object to participating in an abortion, sterilization, or the prescription or provision of artificial contraception.

II.  A health care provider who conscientiously objects to participating in an abortion, sterilization, or the prescription or provision of artificial contraception shall not be administratively, civilly, or criminally liable to any person, estate, public or private entity, or public official.

III.  It shall be unlawful for any person, health care provider, health care institution, public or private institution, public official, national licensing board which licenses health care providers, or national certifying board which certifies competency in medical specialties to discriminate against any health care provider in any manner based on his or her conscientious objection to participating in an abortion, sterilization, or the prescription or provision of artificial contraception.

126-AA:3  Notice Requirement.

I.  A health care institution shall prominently post a notice, not less than 81/2 x 11 inches in size, entitled "Freedom of Conscience for Health Care Providers," in a location where other such notices are normally posted, or if such notices are not so normally posted, in a location in which health care providers are likely to see such a notice.  The purpose of this notice is to fully inform health care providers of their right to decline to provide, perform, assist with, facilitate, refer for, counsel for, advise with regard to, admit for the purposes of providing, or take part in any way in providing an abortion, sterilization, or artificial contraception.

II.  A health care institution shall also ensure that every health care provider is informed of his or her right to decline to provide, perform, assist with, facilitate, refer for, counsel for, advise with regard to, admit for the purposes of providing, or take part in any way in providing an abortion, sterilization, or artificial contraception.

126-AA:4  Civil Remedies.

I.  A civil action for damages, injunctive relief, or both, may be brought for the violation of any provision of RSA 126-AA:2.  It shall not be a defense to any claim arising out of the violation of RSA 126-AA:2 that such violation was necessary to prevent additional burden or expense on any other health care provider, health care institution, individual, or patient.

II.  Any health care provider discriminated against or injured by any person, health care provider, health care institution, public or private institution, public official, medical licensing board which licenses health care providers, or medical certifying board with competency in medical specialties, by reason of any conduct prohibited by RSA 126-AA:2 may commence a civil action.  Upon finding a violation of RSA 126-AA:2, the health care provider shall be entitled to recover threefold the actual damages including pain and suffering sustained by the health care provider, the costs of the civil action, and reasonable attorney's fees.  In no case shall recovery be less than $10,000 for each violation, in addition to costs of the civil action and reasonable attorney's fees.  These damage remedies shall be cumulative and not exclusive of other remedies afforded under any other state or federal law.

III.  The court in a civil action for a violation of RSA 126-AA:2 may award injunctive relief including, but not limited to, ordering reinstatement of a health care provider to his or her prior job or position.

IV.  Any violation of or failure to comply with the requirements of RSA 126-AA:3 shall subject the health care institution to a civil fine of up to $10,000 per occurrence.

126-AA:5  Severability.  

If any provision of this chapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of the chapter which can be given effect without the invalid provisions or applications, and to this end the provisions of this chapter are severable.

126-AA:6  Right of Intervention.  

The New Hampshire house of representatives, through one or more sponsors of this legislation, duly appointed by resolution of the house of representatives, may intervene as a matter of right in any case in which the constitutionality of this chapter is challenged.

3.  EFFECTIVE DATE  

This act shall take effect January 1, 2019.

 

 

Subscribe to me on YouTube