Arkansas Gov Signs “Religious Freedom” Bill Allowing Doctors To Refuse To Treat LGBT Patients Because Jesus

Little Rock’s NBC News affiliate reports:

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed new legislation that would allow doctors and other health care workers in Arkansas to refuse to perform certain services if they have “conscience-based objections.”

Senate Bill 289, also known as The Medical Ethics and Diversity Act, is a new version of a measure that was first presented in the 2017 legislative session.

There have been objections that the law would give medical providers broad powers to turn away LGBTQ patients and others. The new law will take effect until late this summer.

The ACLU of Arkansas reacts:

“There is no sugarcoating this: this bill is another brazen attempt to make it easier to discriminate against people and deny Arkansans the health care services they need,” said Holly Dickson, ACLU of Arkansas executive director.

“Religious liberty is a fundamental right, but it is not an excuse to discriminate against people or deny them health care. As Governor Hutchinson himself recognized when he opposed nearly identical legislation in 2017, discrimination is not an Arkansas value – no matter how politicians try to disguise it.

“Discrimination on the basis of sex – including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity – is a violation of federal law, and so we’ll be watching and working to ensure no Arkansan is denied life-saving health services because of who they are.”