Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law on Friday legislation allowing doctors to decline to perform non-emergency medical procedures that violate their moral or religious beliefs. The law will take effect by August 2021.
“I support this right of conscience so long as emergency care is exempted and conscience objection cannot be used to deny general health service to any class of people. Most importantly, the federal laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender, and national origin continue to apply to the delivery of health care services,” said Hutchinson in a statement on Friday.
The Human Rights Campaign – the largest LGBT rights organization in the United States – and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had run ads urging Hutchinson not to sign the bill, arguing that it would allow doctors to discriminate against LGBT patients.