National Partnership for Women & Families

Refusal Provisions | In the News

Many states have or are considering laws that allow health providers to refuse to provide certain medical services that violate their moral or religious beliefs. Although these laws originally focused primarily on abortion and sterilization services, in recent years they have been expanding. States have passed laws to allow pharmacists to refuse to provide emergency contraception to women who need it, and current efforts have focused on allowing medical professionals to deny access to contraception and other medical care with which they disagree. These provisions put women’s health at risk, and are especially dangerous for women in rural areas or small towns where there are few medical providers or pharmacies.

States Slow Pace of Antiabortion-Rights Legislation, But Restrictions Up Overall, Guttmacher Report Shows
States passed fewer abortion restrictions in the first half of this year compared with the same time period in any of the past three years, but state laws restricting abortion access continue to vastly outnumber those expanding access, according to a report released Tuesday by the Guttmacher Institute, Vox reports.

Featured Blog: 'AL HB31: Where Saving a Woman's Life Becomes a Question of Conscience'
An Alabama bill "would allow the entire hospital staff, including but not limited to physicians, nurses, pharmacists, counselors, and social workers, to refuse to provide medical care in situations that would 'violate their conscience,'" Feministe reports.

Featured Blogs
"This Law Allows Genetic Counselors To Turn Away Gays and Unwed Parents" (Redden, Mother Jones, 3/25) and "Repro Wrap: If There's a Uterus in the House the GOP Wants To Legislate It and Other News" (Marty, Care2, 3/21).

Featured Blogs
"AL HB31: Where Saving a Woman's Life Becomes a Question of Conscience" (Caperton, Feministe, 1/31) and "Repro Wrap: So Many TRAPs, so few Clinics and Other News" (Marty, Care2, 1/31).

Refusal Bill Advances in Ala. House
The Alabama House Health Committee on Wednesday advanced legislation (HB 31) that would allow most health care providers to refuse to participate in abortion care or other services if they personally object, the AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

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Refusal Provisions | In the Courts

This section provides a brief overview of significant cases impacting reproductive rights and health related to Refusal Provisions.

Stormans, Inc. v. Selecky
Washington enacted a law in 2007 that required all pharmacies to carry and delivery prescription drugs, including emergency contraception.

Morr-Fitz, Inc. v. Quinn
Challenge to an Illinois law brought in state court by anti-choice pharmacists that requires pharmacists to fill prescriptions for contraception.

Refusal Provisions | More Information

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