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Interest groups respond to health workers' conscience legislation (video)

Interest groups respond to health workers' conscience legislation (video)

Dustin Hurst
March 30, 2010
Dustin Hurst
Author Image
March 30, 2010

Two interests groups in Idaho have very different perspectives on a law enacted by the Legislature that sponsors say will protect the rights of conscience for health care workers.  Opponents of the law say that the bill will negatively interfere with a patient's right to receive the care he desires, especially in end-of-life situations.  The law, passed by both houses of the Legislature and allowed to be made into law without the signature of Gov. Butch Otter, allows health care workers to conscientiously object to performing certain procedures or dispensing certain medicines.

David Ripley, executive director for Idaho Chooses Life, authored the bill, and shared his thoughts with IdahoReporter.com in a release following the bill becoming law.  From Ripley:

On Saturday, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter allowed SB1353 to become law without his signature.

While that is an admittedly disappointing twist, we cannot allow that to take away from the huge pro-life victory this new law represents.  Frankly, it is also rather surprising given Otter’s strong constitutional orientation.  SB1353 codifies the very spirit of our 1stAmendment’s promise of religious and moral liberty.

“Perhaps unresolved doubts were raised by the intense and misleading campaign waged by the abortion lobby and its allies at AARP,” said ICL Executive Director David Ripley.  “I’m sure we could have answered any questions.  But this is a very busy time for the governor.”

After some two years’ worth of work, Idaho joins a handful of other states with comprehensive conscience protections for health care professionals.  It couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment.

With the federal government now busily erecting hundreds of new agencies with which to invade our hospitals, clinics and insurance providers’ offices – this new law will prove vital to protecting the integrity of our health care professions.  We are confident that it will also help protect the very lives of vulnerable Idahoans.

Our special thanks to the Idaho statesmen who went beyond the call of duty to make this new law reality: Senators Russ Fulcher, Chuck Winder and Representatives Tom Loertscher and Erik Simpson.  We received support and encouragement from many tremendous legislators – who offer Idaho courageous and principled leadership at a difficult time in our nation’s history.

Earlier in the session, when the conscience bill received its final legislative approval, David Irwin, representing the AARP, voiced his organization's disdain for the plan in an interview with IdahoReporter.com.

From Irwin:

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