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ACLU of Ohio files lawsuit challenging state's 'conscience clause'

doctor health care

The ACLU of Ohio has filed a lawsuit challenging the so-called "medical conscience clause" as unconstitutional. Governor Mike DeWine signed the provision into law last June.

The provision allows medical providers, hospitals and health insurance companies to refuse to provide or pay for a medical service if they believe it would violate their religious, ethical or moral beliefs or principles.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of Equitas Health. The civil rights organization said the law could lead to a "severe impact on LGBTQ+ people and individuals living with HIV/AIDS."

The ACLU said the measure was snuck into the state's biennial budget where it did not receive careful scrutiny or public debate.

Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein filed a similar lawsuit challenging the law earlier this month.

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.