The Missouri House has advanced legislation allowing health care workers to refuse to participate in procedures that violate their religious, moral or ethical principles.
The measure would bar discrimination against doctors, nurses, researchers and other medical personnel for opting out of certain procedures or research. It would apply to abortion, sterilization that is not medically necessary, embryonic stem cell research, assisted reproduction and contraception.
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Workers seeking to invoke the so-called conscience protection would have to provide reasonable notice.
Institutions such as hospitals, clinics and medical or nursing schools also could refuse to perform procedures that violate the institution’s conscience.
The House gave the measure first-round approval Monday on a 118-42 vote. It needs another vote before moving to the Senate.
House members approved similar legislation last year.