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Kentucky “Denial of Care” Bill Puts Kentuckians’ Lives in Jeopardy

Frankfort, KY—Today, the national religious equality watchdog organization American Atheists expressed grave concern about SB 90, a controversial bill that authorizes the denial of medical care based on the religious beliefs of insurance companies, providers, and institutions. 

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced this denial of medical care bill.

“SB 90 is the worst denial of care bill we’ve ever seen. Doctors, nurses, hospitals, and even insurance companies could refuse patients essential health care services and then justify this based on religious belief,” said Alison Gill, Vice President for Legal and Policy at American Atheists, who submitted testimony opposing the bill.

“Patients’ health care must always come first, particularly when lives are at stake,” said Johnny Pike, American Atheists’ Kentucky State Director. “Denying patients care in the name of someone else’s religious beliefs attacks patients’ own religious freedom.”

“Kentucky’s Denial of Medical Care bill encourages abuse,” added Gill. “The potential ramifications of this poorly thought-out legislation are troubling.”

Under Kentucky’s Denial of Medical Care bill, a receptionist could refuse to check in a single woman receiving pregnancy care, doctors could opt-out of providing any medical care without warning and without referral to a different provider, nursing homes could deny elderly people HIV treatments, pharmacists could refuse to provide contraception or medication, and insurance companies would have a ready excuse to deny any claim under the pretext of religious beliefs.

The American Medical Association has condemned denial of medical care in the name of religion, citing “concern for vulnerable patient populations and asserting that conscience rights for physicians are not unlimited.”

“Kentucky’s Denial of Care bill is not about religious liberty. It’s about Kentuckians’ lives,” said Nick Fish, president of American Atheists. “This dangerous bill is unconscionable, unethical, and un-American. If it becomes law, people will die.”

Kentucky residents, act now to oppose this healthcare refusal bill.

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