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June 9, 2010

Pew examines conscience vs. civil rights: Are health care workers obligated to treat gays and lesbians?

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life examines a question around which there's been increasing controversy:

Should doctors, pharmacists and other health care workers have the right to refuse to provide services that conflict with their religious beliefs? Until recently, the debate over "conscience protections" for health care workers centered largely on abortion and birth control. But in the past few years, new cases have emerged that have raised questions about the tensions between individuals' rights of conscience and the need to protect certain groups against discrimination, notably gays and lesbians. These new cases involve health care workers -- in one case doctors at a California fertility clinic, in another case a graduate student in Michigan studying to become a counselor -- who refused to treat gay and lesbian patients because they felt that doing so would compromise their core religious beliefs. While religious organizations and institutions are exempt from certain nondiscrimination laws, there is debate over whether private individuals and businesses should have similar rights. 

To explore this issue, Pew features an interview with professors Ira "Chip" Lupu and Robert W. Tuttle, both of George Washington University Law School.

-SS

June 9, 2010 | Permalink

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