Tens of thousands of doctors, nurses, other medical professionals, and health care entities across the country still remain at risk.”

For Immediate Release
(Washington, D.C.) March 30, 2021

The signing into Arkansas law of the Medical Ethics and Diversity Act will bring relief to medical professionals and medical students in Arkansas who are experiencing hostility and coercion because of the very ethical, moral, and religious beliefs that compelled them to choose a profession of caring for the sick and suffering. 

“Even with this positive development in Arkansas, tens of thousands of doctors, nurses, other medical professionals, and health care entities across the country are still at risk. The Christ Medicus Foundation believes other states should consider similar medical conscience legislation recognizing that medical conscience is a civil right worthy of legal protection, that this right is necessary to a diverse health care workforce, and that this right is vital to providing medical care for the poor and vulnerable,” said Louis Brown, J.D., Executive Director of the Christ Medicus Foundation, a Catholic non-profit defending conscience and religious freedom in health care.

“We applaud Governor Asa Hutchinson for signing the bill into law on March 26th. Patients receive the highest quality of medical care only where doctors and nurses are free to use their best judgment, including their ethical, religious, and moral convictions. We are grateful to the Arkansas State Legislature for their important stand for conscience, civil rights, health care access, and human freedom. We appreciate the strong support for medical conscience from medical professionals, patients and policy makers,” said Brown.

On March 18th, the Arkansas State Senate overwhelmingly passed the Medical Ethics and Diversity Act, legislation which protects the civil right of medical conscience for doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals and helps ensure medical access for patients and consumers. 

More and more health care workers have been coming forward with stories of fear, isolation, and discrimination because of their ethical, moral, and religious convictions. Failure to respect medical conscience will drive out medical professionals from the health care workforce, undermine the ability of patients to receive care consistent with their beliefs, and greatly damage health care access. Opponents of medical conscience are falsely asserting that the right of conscience is discriminatory. To the contrary, medical conscience protects the health and dignity of vulnerable patients, empowers diversity amongst medical professionals, and complements existing civil rights laws that prohibit unjust discrimination based on race, sex, disability, and national origin. Our country must defend the civil right of medical conscience because that right is foundational to the dignity and rights of medical professionals and patients,” Brown concluded.

PRESS CONTACT: Becky Escher, Marketing and Communications Manager, Christ Medicus Foundation, [email protected]