SB 1878 is one complicated bill. This is also called the Freedom of Conscience and has been introduced in several other states around the country. Here is our best explanation:
SB 1878, authored by Senator Faught (R), would create the Freedom of Conscience Act, which gives employees of health care facilities the right to choose not to participate in an objectionable activity based on moral or religious grounds. It provides immunity to such employees for damage caused by their choosing not to participate. It also provides a course of action for employees when an employer violates the act. Initially, the bill did not include a provision for the life and health of the woman. An amendment was added that provides for the life of the woman, but not the health.
Our concern: This bill would put women’s lives and health in danger by creating limited access and hurdles for women in obtaining important medical care. While we understand person’s values in not wanting to participate in abortion services, we do not feel that hospitals should have the right to turn women away due to the moral objections of an employee.
Bill Status: SB 1878 has passed through the full Senate and is being heard in the House Judiciary and Public Safety Committee on 3/26/08. If it passes through the committee it will then head to the House floor for a vote before going back to the Senate.