Atrios has a post about a law that just passed the Michigan House alowing health care providers to "conscientiously object" to the provision of the health care services. Much of the commentary so far has focused on treatment of gays, but in reading the bill (the full text of which can be found here), I think another impetus if not the prime impetus is something else entirely, namely the "morning after pill" and also abortion in general. Specifically this law seems specifically designed to address this allow this sort of situation
The bill allows:
Sec. 5. (1) A health care provider may object as a matter of conscience to providing or participating in a health care service on ethical, moral, or religious grounds.
This bill defines Health care service as
"Health care service" means the provision or withdrawal of, or research or experimentation involving, a medical diagnosis, treatment, procedure, diagnostic test, device, medication, drug, or other substance intended to affect the physical or mental condition of an individual. Health care service does not include the provision of a contraceptive medication.(emphasis added)
Contraceptive medication is defined as "medication approved for the prevention of pregnancy that is taken or used in advance of sexual intercourse." (emphasis added)
The definitions about contraception were not in the original bill, which would apparently cover the dispensing of birth control.
Quite frankly when I was reading the bill, because it focuses on the provision of services, it seems to allow the objection to certain procedures, not to the objection to the treatment of certain people. But then it inserts this language:
(c) A health care provider shall not assert an objection to providing or participating in a health care service based on the classification of a patient or group of patients protected under the Elliot-Larsen civil rights act, 1976 PA 453, MCL 37.2101 to 37.2804, or based on a disease or other medical condition.
So by inserting this protection it implies in some ways that you can morally object ot other people. Lets go beyond gays, how about fornicators, those living together in sin (hmm marital status is protected sometimes in the act, is that enough?), those with criminal records, democrats, republicans, communists, those that have had abortions in the past.
Also passed by the house was a similar bill for ORGANIZATIONS with moral ethical religious objections. This bill has no differentiation about birth control pre sexual intercourse versus post sexual intercourse. Therefore presumably an organization can refuse to provide any form of birth control.
"would allow a health insurer, notwithstanding any other provision of law, to refuse to offer or provide a health care benefit on professional, ethical, moral, or religious grounds as reflected in its articles of incorporation or bylaws or an adopted mission statement. This would not apply to a health care benefit if the benefit was specifically covered under the certificate, contract, or policy. Further, the refusal to offer or provide a health care benefit could not be a basis for one or more of the following: civil, criminal, or administrative liability; or, with one stated exception, eligibility discrimination against the health care corporation in providing a certificate."
This bill does not define health care benefit at all. So no coverage potentially for birth control, abortion, RU486 and gays.