Mississippi doctors can refuse to treat LGBT patients

2 minute read

Doctors in Mississippi will now be able to opt-out of counselling and treatment of LGBTI patients


Doctors in Mississippi will now be able to opt-out of counselling, treating or offering fertility treatments to patients if it conflicts with their religious views, according to legislation passed early April

Human and civil rights groups are outraged at what they consider to be the most far-reaching “religious liberty” bill that would enable discrimination towards LGBT people by healthcare professionals.

This law protects clinicians who refuse treatments that contradict their belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, that sex should be exclusive to marriage, or that the one’s biological sex is immutable.

Doctors will be able to refuse to provide treatment related to sex reassignment and transitioning, as well as psychological or counselling services to transgender patients or those who have same-sex relationships.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant said the bill did not authorise discrimination, but instead prevented “government from interfering with people of faith who are exercising their religious beliefs.”

“This bill does not create one action against any class or group of people,” said Mr Bryant.

Dr Jesse Ehrenfeld, the first openly gay member of the AMA’s board of trustees, disagreed.

“A physician’s freedom to act according to conscience is not unlimited. We have a professional obligation, and when we have a specific ethical policy that prohibits discrimination, we expect physicians will adhere to that,” he said.

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