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Politics & Government

Mich. bill would allow doctors to refuse care

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Debate in the Michigan Senate turned to school bullying.

Medical providers would be able to refuse care to patients care based on their religious beliefs - under a bill before the state Senate.

Emily Dievendorf is with the gay rights group Equality Michigan.  She says Senate Bill 975 would sanction discrimination.  "Under this bill, a doctor in a public hospital could refuse, because of religious beliefs, to provide health services to anybody seeking medical care based on any kind of arbitrary criteria that he feels can be supported by his or her strongly held religious belief or moral conviction. "

Critics of the bill are worried it could get pushed through in the end-of-the-year "lame duck" session.

They says the bill would also protect against civil, criminal, and administrative liability and action.

But the bill's sponsor, Senator John Moolenaar says it would all be transparent to a patient.  "The goal is to try and encourage those kind of conversations, and a conflict resolution mechanism in place, preemptively, so that the patient enjoys the best possible medical care."

Moolenaar also noted that if there were an emergency – patient care would be first priority.
 

- Chris Zollars, Michigan Radio Newsroom