Sitting on Arkansas Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson‘s desk is legislation that, if signed into law, would allow a vast array of healthcare workers including doctors and pharmacists, hospitals, and even students to deny service to LGBTQ people or anyone else for any reason, including religious or moral, if doing so would violate their conscience.
SB 289, the “Medical Ethics and Diversity Act,” 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.
Should it become law, 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 legislation 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.
The wrongly-named legislation – it has nothing to do with supporting ethics or diversity – has the support of an anti-LGBTQ hate group, the Alliance Defending Freedom.
The Arkansas Chamber of Commerce opposes the bill, saying if it becomes law “we position ourselves as being not open and welcoming like we’ve portrayed ourselves to be,” the AP reports.
“Driving out doctors, nurses, and other medical providers because of their faith means fewer health care options for patients at a time when our nation’s health care system is overstretched and experiencing a dire shortage of providers,” ADF attorney Stephanie Nichols said, The Advocate reports.
The legislation offers only one narrow exception: during a hospital emergency or birth.
If Governor Hutchinson “takes no action within five days from receiving the bill, it becomes law without his signature. If he vetoes it, a simple majority of legislators can override the veto,” The Advocate adds. The bill’s final passage was Thursday, making Tuesday, March 23 the fifth day. Hutchinson has not indicated if he will sign it or not.
UPDATE: 03.24.21 –
Apparently things move slowly in the Arkansas legislature. Despite the bill being passed by the Senate two weeks ago and the House last Thursday, the “paperwork” was delivered to the governor’s desk only today, Wednesday, a week after passage.
So, if my math is right, Hutchinson has until Monday to sign SB354 (Sunday doesn’t count in the 5 days)
He has until Saturday to sign SB289, the medical conscience bill. https://t.co/RQFY0m0eIu
— Andrew DeMillo (@ademillo) March 23, 2021
This article has been updated to include the new date the bill was delivered to the governor, and to add “hospital emergency” to the exceptions list.
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.
NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.
John Eastman Will Face Charges if Continues ‘Frivolous Argument’ Against Capitol Riot Probe: Adam Schiff
John Eastman, the far-right lawyer who authored Trump’s “coup memo,” announced on Friday that he would be defying a subpoena from the House January 6 Committee.
Appearing on CNN later in the day, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) made clear that Eastman is free to plead the Fifth if he has a good-faith reason to fear he could incriminate himself — but that doesn’t entitle him to a free pass to ignore investigators.
“Eastman says the partisan makeup of the committee, he says makes it invalid and doesn’t need to cooperate,” said anchor Wolf Blitzer. “What do you say to that?”
“Well, that was a frivolous argument,” said Schiff. “If he uses that as a basis to refuse to answer questions, he will be in contempt of the committee, simple and straightforward. So we’ll be seeing with each witness… whether they’re properly invoking a privilege or to stall and delay for the former president, and will make the judgment as to what the repercussions should be once we see and hear the testimony.”
Newsmax Host Falsely Attacks Biden and Entire Democratic Party for Declaring ‘War on Christianity’
A host on the far right wing cable and streaming TV channel Newsmax has declared the entire Democratic Party, including its devoutly-Catholic President, has “declared war,” not on just Christmas, but on “Christianity” itself. That would be extremely surprising to the majority of Democratic registered voters who self-identify as Christian.
The revelation of a “war on Christianity” comes in a wide-ranging attack on the left from the Newsmax host Friday morning, who decided to attack the White House’s highly-praised Christmas decorations this year, which were designed by First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.
“This week is about Christmas at the White House,” the host declared. “I love Christmas decorations. But this looks a little like a Carnival Cruise especially from an administration and political party as a whole that has declared war on Christianity for a while now.”
Newsmax host objects to the White House Christmas decorations because the administration “has declared war on Christianity” pic.twitter.com/7Rcb9JEAcK
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) December 3, 2021
‘What Wannabe Totalitarian, Fascist Dictators Do’: Alarm Over DeSantis Move to Form His Own ‘Personal Militia’
Critics are responding with alarm to news Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis is asking for millions of taxpayer funds to create his own militia force, separate from the existing National Guard.
CNN calls it “a World War II-era civilian military force that he, not the Pentagon, would control.” And while the law allows for the move, it was created “as a temporary force to fill the void left behind” when the state’s National Guard was deployed overseas, and “disbanded after the war ended.”
But the highly-controversial Florida Republican, seen as one of the top 2024 GOP presidential candidates, is also making clear his motives are a further escalation in his war of words against the Biden administration.
“DeSantis also said this unit, called the Florida State Guard, would be ‘not encumbered by the federal government.’ He said this force would give him ‘the flexibility and the ability needed to respond to events in our state in the most effective way possible.'”
For some reason, Ron Desantis now feels the need to create a state militia under his control. pic.twitter.com/q4EJUEGG4i
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) December 3, 2021
It’s also being seen as one more potential attack on science during the coronavirus pandemic era. All National Guard members must be vaccinated. DeSantis opposes all vaccine and mask mandates and has invited unvaccinated, fired police officers from others states to move to Florida – and offering them a $5000 payment.
Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, now a U.S. Congressman but running to unseat DeSantis, called DeSantis’ militia a “handpicked secret police” force.
No Governor should have his own handpicked secret police. https://t.co/BWEPhM5rHa
— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) December 2, 2021
Perhaps one of the strongest warnings comes from SiriusXM Progress host Dean Obeidallah, who calls it “the beginning of a ‘Red Army’ as the GOP prepares for war.”
DeSantis also said this unit would be “not encumbered by the federal government.” In other words it would be Ron DeSantis personal militia. You know like political leaders in Iraq and Syria have. #TrumpsRedArmy https://t.co/rmZ93fa7mr
— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) December 3, 2021
“The same Republicans who claim Jan 6 was not a terrorist attack but just a ‘tourist visit’ now tell us not to be concerned with Ron DeSantis forming a personal militia that he says will ‘not encumbered by the federal government,'” Obeidallah adds. “This is a Red Army!!!”
MSNBC’s Joy Reid likened the move to fascism, asking: “So… y’all know this is fascisty bananas, right…?”
Attorney and DeSantis critic Daniel Uhlfelder noted the governor’s “classic authoritarian move” on bringing his son to the announcement.
In a classic authoritarian move Ron DeSantis brought his young son to brag about announcement of his reinstatement of long defunct Florida state guard.
The Florida state guard would be under DeSantis’s sole power without any interference.
— Daniel Uhlfelder (@DWUhlfelderLaw) December 3, 2021
“More setting up for 2024 coup!” tweeted Amy Siskind, The New Agenda founder and author of The Weekly List.
Research and strategic communication CEO Fernand Amandi describes DeSantis’ move as “What wannabe totalitarian, fascist, authoritarian dictators do.”
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM3 days ago
Michigan School Shooting Suspect’s Mom Thanked Trump for Right to Bear Arms in Vulgar 2016 Open Letter
- RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM3 days ago
Watch: Far Right Anti-Vaxx Pastor Just Can’t Understand Why There Are No ‘Big Democrats’ Who Have Died From COVID
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM3 days ago
Watch: Bigoted NC Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson Berates Democratic Lawmaker for Denouncing His Anti-LGBTQ Hate Speech
- 'PRO-LIFE CONGRESSMAN ENDORSES MASS DEATH'3 days ago
‘Dangerous Political Disinformation’: Jim Jordan Slammed for Suggesting COVID Doesn’t Affect ‘Real America’
- CRIME2 days ago
‘Bags and Bags’ of Money Found Stashed in Bathroom Wall at Joel Osteen’s Megachurch: Report
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM2 days ago
- COMMENTARY2 days ago
Marjorie Taylor Greene Cries She’s the ‘Most Attacked’ – Less Than 24 Hours After Labeling All Democrats ‘Communists’
- News3 days ago
Watch: Marjorie Taylor Greene Calls for Government Shutdown Because ‘The People in Here Cannot Control Themselves’