On March 29, by a vote of 113-41, the Missouri House passed HB 1541, a bill sponsored by Rep. Tim Jones (R-Eureka) that provides conscience protection for health care providers. The bill would allow nurses, doctors and health care institutions the right to opt out on the basis of moral, religious or ethical concerns to participating in or providing certain medical services. Those services include abortion, abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, sterilization, assisted reproduction, human cloning, human embryonic stem-cell research, human somatic cell nuclear transfer, fetal tissue research and non-therapeutic benefit fetal experimentation.
The bill would provide health care workers a cause of action should they be forced to participate in any of the enumerated procedures that violate their conscience. The bill will now proceed to the Senate for further consideration.