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McMaster to sign bill allowing healthcare providers to deny services based on beliefs

McMaster to sign bill allowing healthcare providers to deny services based on beliefs
McMaster to sign bill allowing healthcare providers to deny services based on beliefs(Governor's office)
Published: Jun. 20, 2022 at 9:16 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - A bill that would allow healthcare professionals to deny service on the basis of their beliefs now sits on Governor Henry McMaster’s desk.

The bill, known as H4776, would authorize what’s known as “medical rights of conscience” in South Carolina. It would essentially protect doctors, nurses, and medical students from being fired or punished for opting out of services based on their “religious, moral, or ethical beliefs or principles.”

State law already protects doctors, nurses, and technicians from refusing to perform abortions - but the Medical Ethics and Diversity Act would add medical students to that list.

It would not, however, apply to emergency medical treatment that is required by federal law. The bill also states that practitioners are not allowed to refuse services on the basis of race.

As reported by WMBF, a group of healthcare professionals and students previously asked McMaster to veto the bill, saying it could lead to a denial of care for services like gender-affirming care as well as life-saving medications to prevent and treat HIV.

A spokesperson with the governor’s office said he planned to sign the Medical Ethics and Diversity Act into law on Friday. As of Monday morning, the bill is still awaiting the governor’s signature.

The bill passed both the South Carolina House and Senate for the final time on Wednesday, according to public records.

Read the bill in its entirety here.

Other bills currently awaiting McMaster’s signature include an electronic waste bill, private property parking, and a bill on topographic mapping.

WMBF contributed to this report.

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