NC House bill extends ‘conscience’ protections

  • Posted: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 9:11 a.m.

RALEIGH (AP) — A bill broadening protections for medical professionals who refuse to participate in an abortion is up for debate in a North Carolina House committee.

A House judiciary committee will take up a bill Wednesday that extends so-called protections of conscience to pharmacists and all other medical professionals. Current state law protects only doctors and nurses from participating in procedures that result in abortions on moral or religious grounds.

The bill also exempts businesses from providing contraception coverage to employees, which bill sponsor Rep. Jacqueline Schaffer of Charlotte has acknowledged violates federal law. She argues protections of First Amendment rights are at stake.

Opponents argue the duty of medical professionals trump those rights. They also say the provisions exempting businesses from providing contraception discourages family planning.

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