Ohio: Doctors can deny healthcare to LGBTQ+ patients, new law says

In Ohio, doctors are allowed to deny healthcare to LGBTQ+ patients on “moral grounds,” according to a new law. 

Ohio’s Republican governor Mike DeWine signed a bill according to which healthcare providers have the right to reject people on moral, ethical, or religious grounds, as per Unilad. The main points highlighted in the $74 billion budget include infrastructure, tax cuts, school funding, and access to broadband.

According to ABC News, the governor stated:

“This budget speaks to what pulls us together and it reminds us that we have so much more in common than the things that pull us apart.”

Following DeWine’s decision, Gwen Stembridge, who works with Equality Ohio – an organization that advocates fair treatment and equal opportunity, commented:

“It makes it clear that there are people who do not want the LGBTQ community to access healthcare and that is not ok.”

Stembridge is concerned that the new law will have huge implications for the local LGBTQ+ community. 

The statewide civic engagement director stressed:

“The fear of going to the doctor and of knowing are they going to treat me equally? Am I going to get the care that I need? That is already the question and this just exacerbates that. 

We know that the LGBTQ community, for one we still lack the basic non-discrimination protections, so employment, housing, public accommodations, we still don’t have those protections in Ohio and this just adds insult to injury and says that, even in medical care spaces, we can be denied these basic protections.”

Credits: PA

Although the governor vetoed several of the amendments to the budget, he did not disagree with the medical refusal provision. DeWine explained:

“I think we have to respect people’s rights and people’s ability to make those decisions.”

Insisting that the new bill will not lead to any discrimination, he added:

“People are not going to be discriminated against in regards to medical care. This is not a problem, has not been a problem, in the state of Ohio and I do not expect it to be a problem.”

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