“We are grateful to the Arkansas State Legislature for their important stand for conscience, civil rights, health care access, and human freedom”

For Immediate Release
(Washington, D.C.) March 19, 2021

“Medical professionals and medical students are experiencing increasing 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. And so, we applaud the Arkansas State Legislature for passing the Medical Ethics and Diversity Act that protects the civil rights of doctors, nurses, other medical professionals, and health care entities,” said Louis Brown, J.D., Executive Director of the Christ Medicus Foundation.

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. Having passed the State House of Arkansas earlier this week, this legislation will now move to Governor Asa Hutchinson’s desk. The passage of this medical conscience legislation reflects that medical professionals, patients, and policy makers see the urgent need to safeguard the civil right of conscience in health care.

“Over the last year, we have seen more and more health care workers come forward with stories of fear, isolation, and even discrimination because of their moral and religious convictions. Failure to respect the consciences of doctors and nurses will drive medical professionals out of the health care workforce, undermine the ability of patients to receive care consistent with their beliefs, and will do serious damage to health care access for the most poor and vulnerable,” Brown said.

“Our country must defend the civil right of medical conscience, because that right of conscience is a pillar, upon which all of our country’s civil rights depend,” Brown continued. “In passing the Medical Ethics and Diversity Act, the Arkansas State Legislature has recognized that medical conscience is a civil right worthy of legal protection, that this right is necessary to keep a diverse health care workforce, and that medical conscience is necessary to maximize health care access for persons who are materially impoverished and most vulnerable. The best medical care for patients is possible only when doctors and nurses are free to use their best judgement, including their ethical, religious, and moral convictions, to provide great care for their patients. We are grateful to the Arkansas State Legislature for their important stand for conscience, civil rights, health care access, and human freedom,” Brown concluded.

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