by: ASRM Office of Public Affairs
Published in ASRM BULLETIN Volume 14, Number 6
A bill that could jeopardize access to in vitro fertilization, birth control and emergency contraception is the subject of hearings this week by a South Carolina health care panel.
The Freedom of Conscience Act (H 3408) would prohibit employers in South Carolina from firing, suspending or disciplining health care workers who object to work involving certain procedures, such as those related to “embryonic tissues or a developing child in an artificial or natural womb.”
The bill passed the South Carolina House last year and is expected to be approved by the Senate Medical Affairs Committee this week.
ASRM and SART sent a joint letter of opposition to members of the Senate panel. The letter establishes that while an activity may be contrary to a person's conscience, permitting unrestrictive conscientious refusal to participate in tasks in the context of an ART practice poses significant problems for infertility patients and the families they seek to create. The letter argues that clinics should not be required to hire or retain in a particular position individuals who are unwilling to either perform critical job duties in a setting in which timing is critical to the success of the procedures or unwilling to provide all relevant information about treatment options available to patients.
ASRM is working with a coalition to try to stall further consideration of this bill.
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