"Conscience clause" bills advance in Michigan, vetoed in Wisconsin

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 10, 2004

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On the same day the governor of Wisconsin vetoed his state's "conscience clause" bill, similar bills were approved 69-35 in the Michigan House of Representatives.

The Wisconsin bill would have maintained the state's health care professionals' right to opt out of participating in abortions and sterilization procedures, and extended the right to refuse into embryonic stem cell research and end-of-life care.

The bill was opposed by the Wisconsin Medical Society because it would have allowed health care workers to ignore advance directives without referring the patient to a physician who would honor requests for limited end-of-life treatment.

Michigan's "Conscientious Objector Policy Act" is a four-bill package that would protect health care workers from being fired or not being hired if they object to providing or participating in a health care service on ethical, moral or religious grounds.

David Fox, the Michigan State Medical Society's director of public relations and federation planning, said the society is "strongly opposed" to the bill.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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