Phoenix, AZ—This week Arizona’s House of Representatives became the first legislative body to introduce the Patient’s Right to Know Act.
Dr. Randall Friese, a trauma surgeon and professor of surgery at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, sponsored House Bill 2664. Dr. Friese represents District 9 and is the ranking Democrat on the Health Committee. Tory Anderson, the lobbyist for the Secular Coalition for Arizona, advocated for getting the legislation introduced.
The Patient’s Right to Know Act is sunshine legislation that would provide patients with information about all medical treatments that are legally available to them even if a health care provider chooses not to provide certain treatments because of the provider’s religious beliefs.
Under HB 2664, health care providers who do not provide treatment options such as abortions, vasectomies, tubal ligation, sterility-causing cancer treatments, drugs to end ectopic pregnancies, contraceptives, or in vitro fertilization because of their religious directives or philosophical beliefs would be required to inform patients that the treatments are an option. The legislation does not require any health care provider to provide treatments they object to.
The legislation was authored by American Atheists’ National Legal & Public Policy Director Amanda Knief.
“More than 20 percent of the U.S. health system is run by religiously affiliated providers who use their religious directives to deny legally available and medically sound health care options to patients,” said Knief. “The Patient’s Right to Know Act would be the first law that to ensure that patients will learn about all medical options available even when their health care provider refuse to provide some of those options. How can patients give informed consent or choose the best course of treatment if they don’t know all their options?”
American Atheists has a map with more than 700 religiously affiliated hospitals that use religious beliefs or religious directives to determine patient care.