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New Florida "Religious Freedom" Bill Would Allow Hospitals To Turn Away Gay People

HB 101 would protect doctors from malpractice suits and professional discipline if they refused a patient on religious grounds.

The Florida Legislature is considering a measure that would welcome discrimination against women and LGBT people on a level we've scarcely seen before.

House Bill 101 guarantees businesses the right to turn away gay couples if doing so “would be contrary to [their] religious or moral convictions.”

That includes private adoption agencies who may not want to place a needy child with a same-sex couple.

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But the bill also states that hospitals, nursing homes and other health-care facilities can refuse to treat a patient—or administer a medication—if it goes against its “religious or moral convictions or policies.”

So not only are corporations citizens, they have religious rights.

Such a recklessly broad law would have staggering implications: EMTs could refuse to treat a homosexual—unless, it “place[d] the patient in imminent danger of loss of life or serious bodily injury.”

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A pharmacist could refuse to provide birth control or emergency contraception to a woman. Or if the pharmacist was a Jehovah's Witness or Christian Scientist, they could refuse to fill a an organ transplantee's prescription for anti-rejection drugs.

The list goes on and on.

And as Slate reports, the measure wouldn't just protect doctors from malpractice suits, it would shield them from disciplinary actions by their hospital or the AMA.

Astonishingly, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Julio Gonzalez (R-Venice), is a physician himself.

Then again, as Ben Carson has shown, being a doctor doesn't mean you have a heart or brain.