LANSING, Mich. – Sen. Mike Green announced Monday that he has co-sponsored a bill to protect the religious freedom and conscience of Michigan residents in the areas of purchasing health insurance, providing medical care and performing scientific research.
Senate Bill 136, referred to as the Religious Liberty and Conscience Protection Act, would allow an individual or health care entity to assert a conscientious objection to conducting or paying for a specific health care service without fear of repercussion. Discrimination would be prohibited and appropriate safeguards would protect patients in emergency situations.
“Religious freedom played a major role in the history of our nation’s founding. The preservation of this freedom is critical to the United States remaining a strong and free society,” said Green, R-Mayville. “Whether we agree with another’s beliefs or not, the law must protect everyone’s right to adhere to their beliefs in their personal and professional lives.”
Under the bill, those who purchase or sell health insurance plans would not be forced to cover an objectionable service; health facilities that object to a certain service may refrain from providing that service; and employees of a health care provider may request reassignment to other duties if asked to perform or assist with a service that violates their religious convictions.
“The need for this bill is most clearly demonstrated by the federal government’s forcing employers and religious institutions to pay for insurance benefits that violate their core beliefs. It is a clear example of federal government overstepping its bounds under Obamacare,” Green said.
The bill is similar to efforts by some members of Congress to protect religious and conscientious objections to intrusive federal laws or bureaucratic rules, such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulation mandating contraceptive services. Under the Affordable Care Act or “Obamacare,” HHS has the authority to determine what is considered a mandatory “preventative service” and could later mandate abortion as a required service.