The Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has taken a beating for his stance on Covid-19 and masks, but this week he has been on a tear putting faith back into his constituents that he may actually listen to them.
Hutchinson on Friday signed into law legislation that allows doctors to refuse to treat someone because of religious or moral objections. The move has opponents say will give providers broad powers to turn away LGBTQ patients and others. That’s just not true, if a doctor doesn’t want to subscribe gender medications, or perform those surgeries, it should definitely be their right.
The measure also says that health care workers and institutions have the right to participate or not to participate in non-emergency treatments that violate their conscience. The new law will take effect late this summer.
Opponents of the law, including the Human Rights Campaign and the American Civil Liberties Union, have said it will allow doctors to refuse to offer a host of services for LGBTQ patients. The state Chamber of Commerce also opposed the measure, saying it sends the wrong message about the state.
Supporters of the conscience provision have said it allows providers to cite conscience for not performing types of treatment, but couldn’t use it for targeting specific groups of patients. Hutchinson had opposed a similar bill that was rejected by a House committee in 2017.
The law is among several measures targeting transgender people that have easily advanced through the majority-Republican Legislature this year. Hutchinson on Thursday signed a law that will prohibit transgender women and girls from playing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity.
What are your thoughts on this bill America? Did Arkansas get it right?