Ohio Legislature Sends Anti Medical Refusal Language to Governor DeWine’s Desk In State Budget

by Wyatt Ronan

OHIO – Today, a conference committee of the Ohio General Assembly approved language in the state budget that would allow 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. This would allow medical practitioners to deny medical care based upon the providers personal beliefs, including for LGBTQ people in Ohio. The budget, which now requires an up or down vote from both chambers, would head to Governor Mike DeWine’s desk, where he has the authority and option to line-item veto the language.

With this legislation moving forward, there are more than 250 anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration in more than 30 state legislatures across the country. Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David released the following statement urging Governor DeWine to veto the medical refusal language in the Ohio state budget:

The legislature’s hasty attempt to sneak this language into law shows that they know discriminatory legislation like this would never pass muster with the people of Ohio. This bill would effectively give medical practitioners of all kinds the license to discriminate against patients, including LGBTQ people, denying them medically necessary, often life-saving care. Nobody deserves to be denied medical care for any nonmedical reason. This cruel effort threatens to impact more than 380,000 LGBTQ people in Ohio, one of the largest LGBTQ populations in the country. This language is opposed by major Ohio hospital and insurance associations. Governor DeWine can strike this language from the budget without impacting any of the state’s other budget priorities. Governor DeWine understands that this legislative effort is unnecessary and dangerous, and we urge him to veto this provision from the state budget.

Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President

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