Arkansas Governor Signs Pro-Religious Discrimination Bill Allowing Doctors to Refuse to Treat LGBTQ Patients
Arkansas Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson Friday afternoon signed into law a bill designed to give medical professionals, hospitals, insurance companies, and other medical providers – including students – legal protections to discriminate against LGBTQ patients while claiming they have a religious or moral right of “conscience” to do so. SB 289, the “Medical Ethics and Diversity Act,” is a sweeping law that could have devastating implications on the health and well-being of every LGBTQ person in the state.
SB 289 is sponsored by Republican state Senator Kim Hammer, a Missionary Baptist preacher and hospice pastor who earlier this year declared war on Democrats after then-President Donald Trump had been impeached.
As NCRM reported earlier, when Hutchinson’s “Medical Ethics and Diversity Act” goes into effect this summer a physician could refuse to treat a transgender person, a mental health professional could end treatment with a young teenager who just revealed to them he is gay, a pharmacist could refuse to dispense contraceptive medication even if prescribed for non-pregnancy-related illnesses, and a student nurse could refuse to assist with an abortion, even if it were medically necessary to save the life of a woman.
But that’s not all. The new law is so broad that it allows hospitals and even insurance companies to refuse service for – including refusing to pay for – anything their polices claim violates their conscience. Catholic hospitals for decades have been refusing to allow abortions to be performed, but now an insurance company could refuse to pay for HIV medications, or even PrEP. They could refuse to pay for gender confirmation surgery.
NEW: Gov. @AsaHutchinson has signed SB289 into law. The Medical Ethics & Diversity Act. Opponents argued it would allow health care providers to deny treatment to members of the LGBTQ based on religious beliefs. #arnews #arpx @KATVNews pic.twitter.com/piUoE10qAd
— Marine Glisovic KATV (@KATVMarine) March 26, 2021
Gov. Hutchinson signed the possibly unconstitutional legislation less than a day after signing another anti-LGBTQ bill into law, one that bans transgender girls and women from playing women’s sports.
Hutchinson, who is possibly considering a 2024 presidential run, is term limited and will be out of office after the 2022 election.
Last week the governor signed into law an anti-abortion bill he fully admits was designed to go to the Supreme Court in a far right wing effort to kill Roe v. Wade,
Hutchinson back in 2015 signed into law an anti-LGBTQ “religious freedom” law he himself had called “divisive,” after having a small portion of the language changed. That same year Gov. Hutchinson allowed a bill prohibiting towns from enacting non-discrimination ordinances to become law.
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DeSantis Tells Evangelicals He Wants to ‘Improve’ Supreme Court So Justices Reflect ‘Gold Standard’ of Clarence Thomas
Speaking before a welcoming crowd of national evangelical broadcasters one Tuesday, Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis declared Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is the “gold standard for jurisprudence” and the next president could have the opportunity to create a 7-2 conservative majority that would last for a quarter century.
DeSantis, who will formally announce his 2024 presidential run on Wednesday with Twitter owner Elon Musk, appeared to be perfecting his stump speech as he delivered his 30-minute remarks before the National Religious Broadcasters Convention, which just happened to be hosting its 2023 annual convention in Orlando.
Merely hinting at his impending presidential candidacy announcement, DeSantis at one point in his lengthy speech said, “the U.S. Supreme Court with some of the recent appointments is in a much better spot than it’s been in a long time. But I think if you look over, you know, the next two presidential terms, there is a good chance that you could be called upon to seek replacements for Justice Clarence Thomas, and Justice Samuel Alito, and the issue with that is you can’t really do better than those two. They are the gold standard for jurisprudence.”
Justices Thomas and Alito are seen as the most far-right extremists on the Supreme Court today. Justice Thomas is at the center of what many legal experts see as a two-decade old corruption scandal involving possibly millions of dollars.
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“And so you got to make sure that we’re appointing people who are going to be as close to that standard as possible,” he declared. “If you replace a Clarence Thomas with somebody like a [John] Roberts or somebody like that, then you’re going to actually see the court move to the left. And you can’t do that. I also think if you, if you look over those eight years, you very well could be called upon to replace Chief Justice John Roberts, and perhaps even someone like Justice Sotomayor.”
Justice Sonia Sotomayor is rated the most left-leaning of all the current Supreme Court Justices. She is 68.
“So it is possible that in those eight years, we’d have the opportunity to fortify justices Scalia [sic] and Thomas Alito, and in Thomas, as well as actually make improvements with those others and if you were able to do that, you would have a seven to two conservative majority on the Supreme Court that would last a quarter-century. So this is big stuff very important that that that gets done right.
RELATED: ‘Could Shoot Somebody on Fifth Avenue’: Clarence Thomas’ Corruption Is Indefensible. Here’s Who’s Defending Him.
Watch DeSantis’ speech below or at this link (video begins at 11:48 mark).
‘Cult’: Some of the Most ‘Shocking’ Things Producers Discovered for New Duggar Documentary
The latest installment of the Duggar family’s life story is about to be screened in an Amazon documentary, coming two years after family member Josh Duggar was found guilty of possession of child pornography.
As he serves more than 12 years in prison, “Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets” walks through the issues that stemmed from Josh and the links the family – made famous in the TLC reality series“19 Kids and Counting” – has to a radical religious sect that People Magazine characterized as “concerning.”
The documentary outlines the controversial Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP) church and the ways in which the church shaped the family’s decisions and behavior.
“There are so many thousands of families that have been hurt by this and have not had a voice, not for lack of trying, for many, many, many years,” said Olivia Crist, one of the executive producers. “I mean, hope, the takeaway is really hearing the survivors, hearing what they’ve been through. And then, I think also for people still in, trapped in a fundamentalist or IBLP group, that hopefully this is a chance for them to say, ‘Hey, it is possible to get out and that they’re not alone.'”
“Josh Duggar is really the tip of the iceberg in this group,” she confessed in the documentary.
Prior to Josh’s arrest, he confessed to molesting young girls. Among those were his sisters Jill Duggar Dillary and Jessa Duggar Seewald.
Crist revealed that Josh grew up “in a system that is inherently abusive and [has a] lack of sex education.” That kind of environment, she explained, “breeds abuse” by blocking children from any other adults in their lives.
“I think throughout the show, we see that in so many different areas,” she told People. “And systems like this, that’s, unfortunately, how they’re set up with this authoritarian [notion of] ‘men have all the control and women and children have to be submissive to that control’ — I think that is just a recipe for absolute disaster.”
In March, Jinger (Duggar) Vuolo released a tell-all book about the “darker side” of growing up in the family and the church. She described it as an “unhealthy version” of Christianity.
“I was just so crippled with fear, and I didn’t know why,” she told The New York Times in an interview.
Amy (Duggar) King similarly has attacked her aunt and uncle for protecting their son Josh, despite knowing he was a predator.
“I don’t think anyone would make the mistake of assuming I support my cousin,” Amy wrote to People in May 2022. “I’m struggling to even find the words to express how angry I am. I’m angry at my cousin. I am deeply disappointed in him as a person. … But let me tell you I am furious at the family that looked the other way and still today, refuse to hold him accountable.”
Crist also revealed Jill “was hesitant” to tell her story. “I won’t speak for her fully on that. But yes, I think at the end of the day we’re just really honored and humbled that they trusted us with their stories.”
Calling it a “cult,” Crist said that the documentary goes into a lot of abuse that happens under the guise of a church. She noted that they researched just “how far and wide the IBLP ideology went.”
“It went into our police system. It went into the military. And I think also, just how far and wide, like I said, the ideology spread,” she said. “You can speak to a family who is part of IBLP Australia or part of IBLP and live in Tennessee and you’re going to see the same exact thing happen in terms of really just this pandemic of abuse that Gothard’s teachings inhabit.”
Another executive producer, Julia Willoughby Nason, said she found it “shocking” while listening “to survivor stories.” Talking to People, she thinks “the far-reaching quality of this ideology was extremely shocking to me, especially how it’s so ingrained in our modern-day culture present day with the political stakes of our human rights at play here.”
“I feel like being a woman in this culture, whether I’m coming from a place of a high control system as IBLP or coming from not that place, just inherently being a woman, I could identify with the themes of abuse and trauma that we’re going through these people’s lifelines,” she added.
There were so many things that they discovered that they had to start editing. It’s a four-part series, but she explained the IBLP has been around since the 1960s, and there’s room for future episodes.
“There’s certainly a lot more we could say,” Crist explained. “And I think, too, where we land, the last episode is a jumping-off point for this larger political conversation, is also something that is of interest of further exploring.”
Nason isn’t merely an EP on the project, her documentaries frequently focus on “exposing the underbelly of systems of control.” Her work includes a Trayvon Martin documentary and one about the fake concert/scam Fyre, and she’s currently at work on a mini-series about the Murdaugh murders.
“But one of the things I want to highlight is really the educational neglect that happened to a lot of these children is really astonishing. Their education was not sufficient,” Crist also. “There are organizations out there — the Coalition for Responsible Homeschooling is one great one — that are doing really good work to advocate for the rights of children.”
The trailer for the documentary reveals that the Duggars are only the tip of the IBLP plan that involves training them in political engagement, sending their children into the halls of Congress, and to intern in the White House.
‘Impacting the Culture With Biblical Truth’: Christian Nationalist Anti-LGBT Group Launches New Church Network
The Family Research Council has launched a new “Association of Churches and Ministries” dedicated to “impacting the culture with biblical truth.” According to FRC, “The Association of Churches and Ministries equip churches, pastors, ministries, and ministry leaders to be Ambassadors for the truth in a world that either hates the truth or denies it exists.”
In reality, FRC’s leaders have a dubious relationship with the truth. For example, they spread former President Donald Trump’s lies about the 2020 election and participated in his illegitimate effort to stay in power after he lost to President Joe Biden. The group promotes false Christian nationalist history.
FRC is intensely opposed to legal abortion and legal equality for LGBTQ people and portrays LGBTQ equality as a dire threat to religious liberty.
At its 2021 Pray Vote Stand conference, George Barna told religious-right activists that it is parents’ responsibility to shape their children’s worldview. But since not enough people—and not enough Christians—meet FRC’s standards for holding a genuine “biblical worldview,” Barna said those who do have a responsibility to “look for opportunities” to indoctrinate other people’s children.
In an email promoting the benefits of paying to join FRC’s new association, FRC President Tony Perkins plays up the supposed threat posed by “cancel culture.” A promotional video on the association’s website features images of LGBTQ equality activists and Black Lives Matter protesters as exemplars of threats to churches. Among the services the video touts is candidate training to church members who feel called to run for public office.
The new church association joins other FRC projects, including Perkins’ “Washington Watch” radio show, news and commentary platform “The Washington Stand,” the Pray Vote Stand activist conference (formerly known as the Values Voter Summit), the Watchmen on the Wall gathering for pastors, the Center for Biblical Worldview, and “Stand Courageous,” FRC’s “manhood” project.
This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.
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