Governor DeWine Signs State Budget That Includes Anti-LGBTQ Medical Refusal Language

by Wyatt Ronan

OHIO – Late yesterday, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed an Ohio state budget that included language allowing health care workers, hospitals, and health insurance companies to refuse to provide or pay for medical services on the basis of moral, ethical, or religious objection. After being added to the Senate version of the budget, the language was retained by the Ohio General Assembly’s conference committee, before being passed on an up or down vote by both chambers and landing on Governor DeWine’s desk. The provision allows medical practitioners to deny medical care based upon the provider’s personal beliefs, including for LGBTQ people in Ohio. Governor DeWine had the opportunity to line-item veto the language while signing the rest of the budget into law and refused to do so.

This provision is one of more than 250 anti-LGBTQ bills that came under consideration in more than 30 state legislatures across the country in the 2021 legislative session. Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David released the following statement in response to Governor DeWine signing a state budget with dangerous anti-LGBTQ medical refusal provisions:

Today Governor DeWine enshrined LGBTQ discrimination into law, threatening the medical well being of more than 380,000 LGBTQ people in Ohio, one of the largest LGBTQ populations anywhere in the country. Because of his decision not to line-item veto the discriminatory language adding a medical refusal provision to the state budget, medical practitioners in Ohio can deny care or coverage for basic, medically-necessary, and potentially life-saving care to LGBTQ people simply because of who they are. With Ohio hospital and insurance associations standing against this dangerous measure, Governor DeWine is going against medical best practice and recommendations to score cheap political points. The Human Rights Campaign will do everything in our power to fight this dangerous provision that threatens the wellbeing of so many people across the state of Ohio.

Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President

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